It lacked the drama of Brunton Park on Saturday but Fulham fans celebrated the goalless draw at Field Mill just after wildly this evening – after the point at Mansfield clinched promotion from the Third Division.
The Cottagers’ first promotion in fifteen years was sealed on the final whistle at the end of a dour stalemate where Mansfield, playing for pride after their feint hopes of finishing in the play-off positions had faded, held Micky Adams’ men at bay. This was far from a classic display from the Whites as they had to dig in and battle against a home side who were determined to play party poopers. Fulham looked exhausted from the outset, as if the exertions of coming from behind at promotion rivals Carlisle at the weekend, were still in their legs after an exhausting season.
Fulham had their backs to the wall for much of a tense contest but twice thought they had gone ahead only for efforts from skipper Simon Morgan and Darren Freeman to both be correctly ruled out by offside flags. Christer Warren, Matt Lawrence and Mike Conroy went close to a winner but, after a long wait, the final whistle confirmed that Micky Adams, who took over from Ian Branfoot last spring with his side staring at the prospect of relegation out of the Football League, had masterminded the most magnificent of promotions.
The Fulham manager said afterwards: “I’m a bit emotional. We’ve got promotion. Give the boys credit because they’ve worked ever so hard this season. I’m proud of every one of them – it’s a squad game. And I’m proud of the fans.”
MANSFIELD TOWN: Bowling; Ford, Eustace, Hackett, Harper; Doolan, Clarke, Sedgemore, Watliss; Hadley, Creswell (Williams 84). Subs (not used): Williams, Walker.
FULHAM: Walton; Lawrence, Watson, Cullip, Angus; Cusack, Cockerill, Morgan, McAree (Thomas 79); Conroy (Scott 84), Warren (Brooker 86).