Mansfield Town retro: Sydney Harbour Bridge, Adolf Hitler and a new Stags record, 27th December 1932


AROUND the world, 1932 will be remembered as the year that the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge opened, the start of Adolf Hitler’s dark rise to power in Germany and the economic depression which still loomed large over the world.

But for all those who love Mansfield Town the year will be fondly remembered as the season that their beloved club set a brand new record which still stands to this day.

On 27th December Mansfield Town faced Rotherham United in Division Three North and showed their South Yorkshire visitors very little Christmas cheer as they went on to hammer home nine goals - and in the process create records for the club’s joint biggest ever win and the most goals Mansfield Town has ever scored in a single game.

Rotherham had beaten Stags 3-0 in the reverse fixture just one day earlier, but were blown away by the rampant Mansfield Town side .

A bumper crowd of more than 7,000 expectant fans, which featured a sizeable away following, saw Mansfield take a firm grip on the match with the passing, speed and movement off-the-ball causing all sorts of trouble for the Rotherham rearguard.

The Chronicle Advertiser match report at the time was full of praise for magnificent Mansfield and read: “The passing and combination was exceedingly pleasant to watch. Nearly always the Mansfield player to whom a pass was made pounced on the ball and made off with it.

“Their thwarting and tackling frustrated the visitors continually and prevented any attacks from developing. Their turn of speed often left the visitors behind and caused the backs to play a desperately defensive game.

“Mansfield’s head play was really clever and had a decided effect on the game. The most sparkling all round play that has yet been seen at Field Mill was witnessed as one goal followed another.”

From the outset Mansfield came close when William Broome narrowly fired over the bar. Moments later Manchester-born Broome, who joined from Accrington Stanley, was at the heart of the danger when he played in Joseph Readman, who was stopped in his tracks by a Birkhead interception.

But the deadlock was finally broken on 10 minutes when good work by Broome and winger John Prior found Walter Hoyland, who in turn found Readman in the goalmouth with a header. Readman needed no second invitation as he cooly fired Mansfield in front to start the avalanche of goals.

The on-song home side nearly added to their lead on a number of occassions as they gave their fans the perfect Christmas present.

Turner was forced to volley off his own line to deny Readman, before Broome smacked two efforts against the post in quick succession.

The Shirebrook born George Bowater, who went on to score 18 goals in 38 appearances during the season, then went inches wide with Birkhead beaten in the Rotherham goal.

Mansfield, who were finally elected in to the Football League in June 1931, some 34 years after the club’s birth as amateur side Mansfield Wesleyans, were playing with great skill and determination and they inevitably stretched their lead when Bowater scored two goals in quick succession, after good work between the forwards.

Hoyland then sealed the game beyond any doubt when he nodded home a Bowater corner on 41 minutes.

The superb home side picked up where they had left off in the second half and nearly hit number five when Prior beat two men before playing in the ever-dangerous Readman, who saw his shot well saved by Birkhead.

But the home fans didn’t have to wait much longer as Bowater capped a fine individual display by bundling home Hoyland’s saved shot.

Rotherham hit a consolation goal to bring the deficit back to four goals when their left winger broke through on his own to easily beat Wilson in Mansfield’s goal.

Moments later though normal service was resumed when Hoyland hit an unstoppable shot after good work down the Stags left side.

Rotherham hit another one as the goals continued to flow thick and fast after a mix-up by goalkeeper Wilson.

But it was never going to be a costly error as Mansfield continued to pour forward in number, with the pin-point crosses of right winger Prior causing real bother.

Hoyland sealed his hat-trick with the team’s seventh, before Readman, who has the honour of being the first Stag to score a league goal during the inaugral match at Field Mill on 29th August 1931, hit his second and Mansfield’s eighth after he latched on to one of Prior’s many centres to nod home from a corner.

And the scoring was concluded when a Prior cross saw Birkhead fall over as he attempted to clear, leaving Readman with the simplest of tasks to complete his well-deserved hat-trick and seal a Mansfield Town record for the most goals scored in a single game, which still stands today.

The match was only the third time that three hat-tricks had been scored by one team since the Football League was founded in 1888, with Nottingham Forest first achieving the honour back in 1909.

MANSFIELD TOWN: Wilson, Anthoney, England, Davies, Robinson (S), Slack, Prior, Broome, Readman, Hoyland, Bowater.

MATCH: Mansfield Town v Rotherham. Division Three North.

VENUE: Field Mill, 27th December 1932.