We have a lot to thank our opponents Mansfield for, their defence was so bad last season that they were the only side in the four divisions to concede more goals than the Clarets. If you thought our 89 league goals conceded was bad they beat it with 97.
It was a torrid time for them last season after winning promotion in 2002 and signing Neil Moore from Telford to play centre- half for them was never the best of decisions as we know to our cost from the late 90s.
They kept only five clean sheets all season and were relegated along with three other ‘Towns’ Cheltenham, Huddersfield and Northampton. They won only 44 points all season.
The poor run of form also cost manager Stuart Watkiss his job just before last Christmas after less than twelve months in control and he was replaced by Keith Curle who arrived from Sheffield United.
He brought in four new players but it was to no avail and they never looked as though they would recover from the bad start and went back down after just a year at the higher level.
Curle made just two summer signings with Tony Vaughan and David Artell arriving from Motherwell and Rotherham respectively whilst Neil Moore, having spent some time on loan at Southport, was allowed to move on a free transfer to Nuneaton Borough.
They have certainly reduced the goals against column and have conceded just 29 in 24 league games but it is at the other end of the pitch where all the action has been with a total of 50 goals scored at more than two per game.
Twelve different players have scored goals and Liam Lawrence is leading the way with eleven league goals although six of these have come from the penalty spot. Iyseden Christie and Junior Mendes with seven each have scored the most goals from open play.
They are currently fourth in the table just one point behind Hull City who occupy the last automatic promotion spot and have suffered just two home defeats this season to Yeovil and Lincoln.
They have reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup with wins over Bishop’s Stortford and Tony Adams’ Wycombe Wanderers with both wins coming at Field Mill.
Bishop’s went down 6-0 in the 1st round with Neil McKenzie grabbing a hat-trick but it was somewhat tougher in the 2nd round against TAWW. After a 1-1 draw at the Causeway Stadium they trailed 2-1 in the replay before two somewhat fortunate penalty decisions fell their way to turn the game round.
Both converted by Liam Lawrence the second of them came with the last kick of the game to see them through to this tie against the Clarets. Lawrence had scored the first goal to give Mansfield the lead and so became the second of their players to get an FA Cup hat-trick this season.
The Mansfield team for that replay was: Kevin Pilkington, Bobby Hassell, David Artell, Tony Vaughan (Luke Dimech 90), Rhys Day, Wayne Corden, Lee Williamson, Liam Lawrence, Craig Disley (Iyesden Christie 60), Tom Curtis, Junior Mendes. Subs not used: Jason White, Colin Larkin, Neil McKenzie.
This will be only our second ever FA Cup tie against Mansfield, the last one as long ago as 1935 when we won 4-2 at home with goals from Edward Hancock (2), George Brown and Cecil Smith.
We have though had two encounters with them in the League Cup, both ending in victories in 1995/96 and 1996/97 seasons.
Click HERE to see all Mansfield’s results this season.
Past Results in the last 20 years
Conroy(pen) Davis Pender
Cooke Nogan Eyres
Click HERE to see all Burnley's results against Mansfield going back to the 1935 FA Cup tie.