Nottinghamshire clubs secure play-off football

Nottingham Forest, Mansfield Town and Notts County have all secured play-off football in the same season for the first time

Forest manager Steve Cooper celebrates
Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper celebrates after the Sky Bet Championship match at the City Ground, Nottingham. Picture date: Monday April 18, 2022. Taken by Zac Goodwin

For the first time in history, all three of Nottinghamshire’s professional football clubs have secured a place in their respective league’s play-off places.

Nottingham Forest, Mansfield Town and Notts County each face several high-stakes fixtures in order to achieve promotion in season 2021/22.

Steve Cooper’s Reds have surged up the Sky Bet Championship table since the Welshman’s arrival on 21 September 2021. The 42-year-old took charge of a club who had taken just one point from their opening seven league fixtures, now under Cooper, Forest have secured a play-off place having narrowly missed out on the final automatic promotion spot to Bournemouth. 

A weakened Reds side, consisting of numerous young players, drew 1-1 away to Hull City on Saturday after Brennan Johnson’s injury time opener was cancelled out by Keane Lewis-Potter in the 94th minute. 


A point saw the Nottinghamshire side slip to fourth in the league table, setting up a play-off semi-final clash with Sheffield United. Paul Heckingbottom’s side enjoyed a rampant 4-0 victory over league champions Fulham on the same day.

The sides will first meet at Bramall Lane in a 3pm kick-off on Saturday 14 May. The second leg at the City Ground will take place at 7.45pm on Tuesday 17 May.

Fellow Nottinghamshire side Mansfield Town have equally enjoyed a second-half season revival under former Forest hero Nigel Clough. 

The Stags sat in 23rd place, level on points with bottom place Scunthorpe United, in the Sky Bet League Two table after their 2-1 defeat to Exeter City on Saturday 23 October. 

Since then, Clough’s side went on an incredible club-record-breaking run of 11 consecutive home league victories at One Call Stadium. 

Clough’s side have recovered miraculously from their lacklustre start to become an established side in the top seven of League Two. 

After a valiant 2-2 draw with league champions Forest Green Rovers, the yellows wrapped up a seventh place finish to set up a play-off semi-final with Northampton Town. Jon Brady’s side beat Barrow 3-1 on Saturday but they incredibly missed out on automatic promotion as Bristol Rovers ran riot in Scunthorpe to defeat the already-downed Iron by seven goals. 

The Stags and the Cobblers last met in April when Mansfield secured a record-breaking 1-0 win at One Call Stadium.

The first leg will take place in Mansfield at 7.45pm straight after Forest’s clash with Sheffield United on Sky Sports. The return leg at Sixfields is set for 7.45pm on Wednesday 18 March. 

Finally, Nottingham’s Notts County have also achieved a play-off place in The Vanorama National League.

The Magpies’ 3-0 home win over Altrincham on Saturday ensured they need just a point from their final day away clash with 16th placed Maidenhead to secure a top five finish.

Ian Burchnall’s men will likely face the team that finishes 6th in the play-off quarter-finals, which will likely be Grimsby Town or Chesterfield; although Dagenham and Redbridge can still mathematically finish 6th.

Notts last faced Grimsby at Meadow Lane in February when Luke Waterfall’s 92nd minute winner secured a 2-1 victory for the Mariners.

The Magpies will be out for revenge if the two sides meet in the first leg fixture on Wednesday 25 May, in hopes of prolonging a successful season for the counties’ football clubs.