In 2010 Matt Green scored a brilliant opener in the play-off final at Wembley between Oxford United and York City. I was there that day and his finish has stuck in my mind ever since. It was a wonderful goal from a player who clearly had so much talent yet Matt Green has spent most of his career in League Two. D3D4 profile a player who became a consistent and integral member of the Mansfield Town side over the last few years, where he has scored more than 75 times on his way to becoming a club legend!
Born in Bath, Matt joined the Bristol City youth academy but was released being deemed too small to play professional football. He subsequently joined Newport County after a spell with the Cirencester Academy, run by ex-Newport man Steve Lowndes. Playing at Newport he soon attracted the attention of a number of clubs due to his pace and ability. After making 56 appearances, scoring 8 times, for Newport he joined Cardiff City for £10,000. He made his debut as a sub in a 4-1 win against Preston but struggle for first team appearances.
He was sent out on load to Darlington and Oxford before breaking his collar bone. He returned to Conference side Oxford in January 2008 until the end of the season where he scored 9 times in 18 league appearances. That summer Matt was released by Cardiff City and everyone expected him to join Oxford United on a permanent deal but he instead joined Torquay United in a surprise move!
Unable to get regular games at Torquay he returned to Oxford on loan for a third time for the 2009-10 campaign and became an integral part of the side that managed a 3rd place finish in the Conference National. Matt scored in the play-off semi-final as Oxford beat Rushden & Diamonds 3-1 on aggregate to set up a show down with York City at Wembley. He scored a sublime opener at Wembley, taking the ball down on his chest before unleashing a half-volley into the top corner with his left foot. Oxford won the game 3-1 and were promoted back to the Football League after a 4 year absence.
Matt Green signed permanently for Oxford on a two year deal for their first season back in the league but failed to score in his 17 league appearances before joining Cheltenham on loan until the end of the season in January 2011. He failed to score in his time with The Robins and the following season it was announced that he was to join Conference side Mansfield Town on loan until December, part funded by the 12th Stag fans group!
They would not regret it as Matt soon became a key player for the club. He scored 14 times in his first season, 16 in his second and 25 in a campaign that saw Mansfield Town win the Conference Premier and secure promotion back to the Football League after a 95 point season, two points more than runners up Kidderminster Harriers! By this time Matt was attracting the attention of bigger clubs mainly due to his 54 goals in 87 Conference appearances for The Stags.
With his contract up Matt went on trial with Birmingham City and signed a two year deal with them in May 2013. His time at Birmingham was characterised by injuries including being knocked unconscious in a pre-season friendly and then in November he damaged his cruciate ligaments and would miss the rest of the season and most of the next too. He finally recovered at the end of the 2014-15 season but did not play again for the club. He was released at the end of the season and re-joined his former club Mansfield and picked up where he left off, netting an impressive 16 times in 44 League Two appearances. With 13 goals in all competitions during the 2016-17 season, Matt continued to be a prolific scorer but was unable to break Harry Johnson’s club record as the Mansfield striker scored an amazing 104 goals in just 163 appearances between 1932 and 1935. Despite being released at the end of the 2016-17 season I expect Matt will be content to be the club legend that he is! Following his release he joined Lincoln City, managed by the Cowley brother’s and newly promoted back to the Football League after a six year absence. It is clear the Cowley’s believe that his experience will help them as they look to push on after a record breaking season in the National League
words D3D4 Football
picture © Nottingham Post