Craig Priest writes...
Fixture: Slough Town V Mansfield Town
Competition: The FA Cup, Sponsored by Budweiser, First Round Replay
Venue: Holloways Park (Beaconsfield SYCOB FC)
Date & Time: Tuesday 13th November 2012 – 7.45pm
Match Referee: Andy D’Urso
First of all sorry for the late post, I’ve just about caught up on sleep and allowed the adrenaline to drain from my system after what can only be described as a mad Tuesday evening in Beaconsfield.
The important thing I guess is that we we’re through to round two against Lincoln with a huge chance of a big tie in round three, however that said to do it on penalty’s against a side ranked three divisions below is a little worrying.
Mansfield were excellent in the first half and should have been three, not one, up by half time at least – Slough keeper Warrington has pulled off two outstanding saves and we’ve racked up shots quicker than the bird from corrie is racking up Bush Tucker Trials in ‘I’m a celb’! Again they’ve not fallen for us and we’ve ended up conceding an unstoppable goal, the free kick from Swift was exquisite and the second ball could have, and ultimately did, go anywhere!
Reflecting on the match and the way things turned out was it a case of Mansfield being wasteful or Slough showing excellent desire and resolve in wanting to keep a dream alive? Personally I think it’s a mixture of the two and forever will credit and praise Slough in their defensive efforts in both matches and their desire and work rate, not once did I see the hosts time waste or complain of cramp or exhaustion in extra time – every player kept going running on adrenaline, fighting for the cause, rebelling against league stature and rank, working hard to grind out a result, for me that’s what football is all about, I’m proud of Slough and I’m not even a Slough supporter – true and genuine Rebels fans should remember and cherish there cup run of 2012 and be proud of it. The biggest crowd in many a year at Holloways Park will have boosted the coffers along with the money already accumulated from there excellent run, I hope it’s invested well and they continue to rise up the division, I for one will be following Slough’s story.
A side note to thank the helpful staff and volunteers at Holloways Park for all there help on Tuesday, another shining example of what football’s all about: Community!
Onto Stags now, I know there’s been up roar about the admittance of practising penalty’s – I believe practising them was the correct and professional thing to do, had we not it would have suggested arrogance on our part – being prepared is being professional and it’s paid off, end of!
John Dempster will be absent now for three games after his straight red card in extra time, it will be debated for a long time but there’s nothing we can do about it, you very rarely win appeals and I’d rather lose him for three matches which take place in the space of six days rather than four matches. Naturally it means disrupting a back four which has been the solidest it’s been all season, but there are plenty of players knocking of the door – personally for me it’s Thompson in at right back and Sutton to partner Big Ex at the heart of the defence with Thompson taking the armband.
Whatever way you look at it, Mansfield are through to round two and stretch their run to just two defeats in twelve outings, form is improved in gradual stages we’ve stopped losing, unbeaten in four, now time to turn draws into wins!
Paul Cox named an unchanged side to face Slough, Stags fresh from a 1-0 win over Southport whilst Slough had put six past Ashford Town (Middx) at the weekend.
Line Up: Shane Redmond, Ritchie Sutton, John Dempster (C), Exodus Geohaghon, Lee Beevers, Louis Briscoe, Chris Clements, Anthony Howell, Lindon Meikle, Ben Hutchinson, Nick Wright
Substitutes: John Thompson, Jake Speight, Matt Rhead, Adam Murray, Lee Stevenson, Junior Daniel, Ryan Hopkins.
The Stags began well with Lindon Meikle causing early pressure three minutes in with a dangerous cross which just escaped the head of Nick Wright, moments later it was Ben Hutchinson’s turn to worry the visitors as a dominant header away for Geohaghon bounced midway between the half way line and the edge of the box, Hutchinson hitting an ambitious half volley which wasn’t far over the top of James Warrington’s bar.
With the game ten minutes old the Stags had two chances inside a minute as they kept and moved the ball well and in flowing fashion. Chris Clements sparked the initial move which saw Louis Briscoe fire through the crowd and Slough scramble clear, seconds later it was almost a carbon copy, Briscoe this time hitting left footed after a Meikle cross but being denied by the excellent Warrington after two deflections inside the area.
Three minutes later the hosts registered a rare first half chance as Dominic Rhone screwed horribly wide from 30 yards following strong work by Slough skipper Dave Woozley in the centre of the park, Mansfield though continued to pressure themselves registering efforts from Briscoe and Wright was followed by two successive Clements corners.
The Stags then saw claims for a penalty turned down by former Premier-League official Andy D’Urso after Alex Brown looked to have taken Wright’s legs from underneath him, the initial view looked like it was a spot kick however a closer look on the DVD at half time suggested the referee did make the correct call as Wright was already going to ground with twenty-two played.
Three minutes later Briscoe again came close with a thunderous drive however Warrington again pulled off a tremendous save under pressure to keep the Stags at bay, the Slough stopper could do nothing moments later though as weaving work from Meikle set up Howell for an ambitious effort, a shame then that the former Alfreton man failed to keep his effort on target as he fired over from 20 yards.
With nine minutes to go prior to the break Shane Redmond was called upon in quick succession as Slough won a number of set-plays, the Irish Gloves-Man demonstrated assured commanding skills as he rose high to claim the set-plays from Woozley and Swift respectively.
Chris Clements then sprayed an excellent pass to Lindon Meikle three minutes later, the former Eastwood man tearing down the right hand side to create a crossing opportunity. The England C star pulled the ball back for Clements who flicked the ball up to set himself for a volley, the final shot powerful but off target as he blazed over.
There was then brief delight for the hosts with two minutes of the first half remaining, John Dempster headed away an initial free kick before the second ball being pumped back down Mansfield’s throats before Danny Burnell flicked beyond Redmond, the offside flag cut short the celebrations, the correct call too.
Two minutes later on the stroke of half time, there was cause for celebration only it fell the Stags way as Chris Clements swung in a corner. The second ball saw, after extensive watching of the DVD because of the poor view, Lee Beevers clip back into the middle for Geohaghon who, putting pressure on Dave Woozley, forced the Slough captain to divert the ball up and beyond his own keeper.
Slough 0-1 Stags
There was little time for a reply, Slough disappointed to go in behind but the Stags left wondering why the margin wasn’t a greater one.
HALF TIME: Slough 0-1 Stags
After the break Slough fought bravely and were the much better side, the Stags wasteful, largely through Briscoe, in many phases of play. The Stags however did make a good start with Hutchinson seeing a shot blocked on 51 minutes, two minutes later however it was Slough the ones applying the pressure. Ritchie Sutton headed out Ollie Burgess’ initial right sided cross after an excellent run beyond Beevers, substitute Adam Logie launched in a long throw which saw Stuart Swift connect wonderfully on the volley but fire into infinity and beyond.
Jake Speight then replaced Nick Wright in attack on 56 minutes being involved straight away as he fired wide from Briscoe’s right sided cut back, the miss spurred the hosts on and on the hour mark again saw Swift blaze over from another Logie throw.
Five minutes later Slough were finally rewarded as Exodus Geohaghon upended Ed Smith on the edge of the box, Stuart Swift stepped up and thundered the resulting free kick against the bar leaving Mansfield in a tizz as to where the ball would land, eventually it landed on the head of Nathan Bowden-Haase, the tall centre half nodding over the line to send the home support into pandemonium.
Slough 1-1 Stags
Minutes later Slough should have been ahead as once more Mansfield were on the back foot and forced to put the ball out of play for a corner. Swift’s expert delivery flashed across the six yard box and out for a goal kick, however the boot of leading scorer Burnell was a whisker away from connecting unmarked at the far post.
Matt Rhead then replaced Ben Hutchinson in attack for Stags with ten minutes remaining, Mansfield escaping numerous Slough scares before coming agonisingly close to a late winner themselves in the final three minutes, Slough surviving four Chris Clements corners the last of which Speight headed into the side netting at the near post with seconds to go, moments after Clements clip over the top saw the leading hit man fire wide from distance.
FULL TIME: Slough 1-1 Stags
And so into extra time it went, thirty minutes of football neither side really wanted but thirty minutes which still were action packed. The Stags enjoyed the best two opening chances of the first period of extra time, on 92 minutes Clements’ corner found Rhead at the front post who was again denied by Warrington, the keeper involved three minutes later as he raced out and did enough to put Jake Speight off. The leading Stags marksman trickling a shot wide after Howell’s pass forward.
In the dying embers of the first half of extra time it was the hosts turn to threaten, Burgess heading wide from close range after Swift’s left sided cross before John Dempster dominantly headed away Adam Logie’s late corer.
EXTRA TIME: HALF TIME: Slough 1-1 Stags
Junior Daniel replaced Lindon Meikle as the action got underway, the action hotting up as Bowden-Hasse and Exodus Geohaghon both picked up a yellow card on 109 minutes, Geohaghon now one game from suspension as he picked up two yellows during his short lived spell as captain at Kidderminster.
Two minutes later Ed Smith appeared to half elbowed John Dempster in the face during a tussle, something unseen by the referee Andy D’Urso. The Ex Premier-League official did however spot Dempster’s response and flashed a straight red card for violent conduct, the Stags down to ten men as a footballing lottery loomed.
Junior Daniel made some vital interceptions for the Stags and his fresh legs helped create Mansfield’s golden chance on 114 minutes. Linking up with Meikle it was he who crossed expertly into the mix, Anthony Howell crept in unmarked at the far post but again failed to keep his effort, this time a left footed volley, on target.
Matt Rhead and Jake Speight both saw efforts saved before the Stags defended excellently in the final second to prevent Slough from making the most of a corner, the full time whistle signalling a penalty shootout to decide who would progress to face Lincoln City in round two,
EXTRA TIME: FULL TIME: Slough 1-1 Stags
Exodus Geohaghon won Mansfield the toss in the absence of John Dempster, he elected for Stags to go first and at the far away, away from the packed terracing full of Slough supporters, this Stags first shootout since November 2008 when York City were victorious in the setanta shield.
Chris Clements was first up for Stags, his right footed effort into the keeper’s bottom right hand corner was calm and drilled to put Mansfield ahead 1-0
The impressive Ed Smith was first for the hosts, he made no mistake from 12 yards to send Shane Redmond the wrong way 1-1
Mansfield needed someone with penalty pedigree and soon got it as Louis Briscoe made his way forward. It was his 129th minute penalty at Luton in extra time in 2011 which sent Stags through to Wembley in the FA Trophy. He’d had numerous penalties after that one with mixed results, this one at Holloway’s Park was on target, again sending Warrington the wrong way to put the pressure back on Slough 2-1
Ollie Burgess had been impressive for Slough in both games, he was next for Slough but soon proved the thorn in his side’s side. Shane Redmond had played mind games prior to the kick being struck, the clearly worked too as the Irish keeper became a hero, diving to his right to beat away the well hit Burgess spot kick to maintain Mansfield’s lead 2-1
Substitute Matt Rhead was next, both Mansfield’s previous penalty’s had been to the keepers right, Rhead gambled and fired to Warrington’s left, the correct choice as again the keeper guessed incorrectly, Mansfield with a clear advantage after the third penalty 3-1
Sean Sonner made the long walk for Slough knowing if he scored the hosts still had a chance however if he missed, all Mansfield would need to do is score. Redmond, buoyed by his heroic save, again guessed correctly diving to his left, not that he needed too as Sonner scooped the ball over the bar and out of the ground 3-1
The task for Mansfield now was now a simple one, scoring would make it game set and match. Jake Speight, with eight goals too his name this term stepped forwards. His brace at Workington had set up the tie with Slough, fitting then as he kept his cool and belted home, sending Mansfield into Round Two, their first penalty shootout victory since 2005 when the knocked Stoke City out of the Carling Cup. Speight’s penalty sealing a 4-1 Stags penalty win at Slough.
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