Mansfield Town crashed out of the Capital One Cup tonight at the hands of League One Tranmere Rovers, conceding with the opening and final minute of the first half.
Cox’s men, who endured a nightmare finish at Scunthorpe on Saturday when Louis Briscoe missed a 90th minute penalty, sadly picked up where they left off as poor defending allowed Andy Robinson to nod home the opener following former Bury striker Ryan Lowe’s flick inside the opening minute.
Sam Clucas twice attempted to get Mansfield level in the opening ten minutes but failed to really test Owain Fon Williams in the Tranmere goal before the hosts came close to a second as Ash Taylor nodded wide at the front post from a Robinson corner on 12 minutes.
Tranmere held the reins and Alan Marriott kept Mansfield in the match on 26 minutes as he palmed away a powerful effort from Chris Atkinson, who was called into the Rovers line up late to replace the ill Max Power. Moments later Akpo Sodje was inches away from connecting with a low cross as the League One hosts stepped up the pace.
Four minutes before the break Taylor again came close for the hosts as he headed wide from a corner, Rovers then doubled their lead on the stroke of half time as Chris Atkinson held off the Stags defence to slot home with his left foot at the near post, after opening goal scorer Andy Robinson squeezed a pass through the back line.
Ritchie Sutton replaced John McCombe at the break and Cox’s men began the brighter of the two sides as the advancing James Jennings saw a cross-come-shot palmed away by Fon Williams. Louis Briscoe then earned a Stags corner on 58 minutes as his shot deflected behind, however Stephen Foster was untroubled in heading away Jennings’ clipped delivery.
Seconds later Mansfield had a real chance as Clucas romped down the left flank and took the ball around the advancing Fon Williams before squaring for Briscoe, who continued his poor start to the campaign by firing wide of the inviting empty net – Lindon Meikle also came close heading Beevers’ deep cross straight at Fon Williams as Cox’s men searched for a way back into the cup encounter.
The hosts threw on Jason Koumas on 64 minutes, the arrival of the big front man quietened down the Stags fire, Mansfield had a few half chances but nothing good enough to claw their way back into the tie – the full time whistle a welcome relief in the end for Cox’s men as they were dumped out of the Capital One Cup at the first round stage.
FULL TIME: Tranmere Rovers 2-0 Mansfield Town
STAGS: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers, John Dempster, John McCombe (Ritchie Sutton HT), James Jennings, Louis Briscoe (Jake Speight 74) Adam Murray ©, Anthony Howell, Lindon Meikle, Sam Clucas, Ollie Palmer (Matt Rhead 79)
UNUSED SUBS: Lee Stevenson, Ross Dyer, Chris Clements, Junior Daniel
Referee: David Webb
Attendance: 3,067 (173)
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