STAGS ON THIS DAY: John Doolan snatched win for Mansfield Town in seven-goal thriller with Wigan Athletic

John Doolan.
John Doolan.

It is 21 years today since Andy King’s Mansfield Town had supporters on the edge of their seats with a rollercoaster 4-3 home win over Wigan Athletic, having allowed the Latics to level three times before grabbing a last minute winner.

Midfielder John Doolan, deputising for the injured Ian Baraclough at left back, curled home a last ditch free kick to steal the points and bring a huge wave of relief round the ground.

The victory pushed Stags into fifth and made it 29 goals in a run of eight thrilling matches.

However, boss King was unimpressed by his side’s ‘diabolical’ defending and told not to expect a day off that week.

Paul Holland had fired Mansfield ahead after only eight minutes and the Stags went on to dominate without being able to add to their tally.

But as the half wore on, they began to defend deeper and draw Wigan onto them.

The visitors were level two minutes after the break through Ian Kilford. But Mansfield regained the lead when Mark Peters headed home on the hour after keeper Ian Farnworth failed to deal with Kevin Noteman’s corner.

It lasted just two minutes as Neil Rimmer fired in a second equaliser.

Then, from a 72nd minute corner, Steve Wilkinson poached his 16th goal of the season and Stags fans must have thought their team were finally home and dry.

Three minutes later Rimmer was red-carded for a clash with Doolan and soon after, with their subs used, Kilford limped off and Wigan were down to nine men.

However, against all the odds, the Latics again restored parity five minutes from time when Darren Ward came out to block an Ian Benjamin effort and Andy Lyons lifted the ball over him into the empty net.

Scouser Doolan then provided the final twist for the 2,618 relieved fans.

The sides met again three games later when Stags were far more ruthless in a 4-0 away win.

It was a thrilling season overall with those impressive runs in both the FA Cup and League Cup, spoiled only by a play-off semi-finals defeat by Chesterfield at the end of it.

The Stags team that faced Wigan was: Ward, Boothroyd, Doolan, Holland, Howarth, Peters, Ireland (Aspinall 69), Lampkin, Wilkinson, Hadley, Noteman. Subs not used: Castledine, Trinder.