FA Cup, Second Round | The One Call Stadium – Sunday 29th November 2020
“Did that actually happen?” – That’s the question I kept asking myself after two minutes of pure BAFTA worthy drama unfolded at the One Call Stadium, as deep into extra time – Mansfield Town edged past Dagenham & Redbridge, to book a place in the third round of the FA Cup.
Nicky Maynard’s goal was dramatic enough, but the build-up too it made it a moment of pure magic.
With the game heading to a penalty shootout, not Mansfield’s favoured method of winning having not won one since 2012/13 – Nigel Clough opted to swap keepers, as Aidan Stone was seen warming up in the stands. For a few minutes we all thought it was mind games, but no, as the ball went out for a throw – Stech raced off to be replaced by the young shot stopper.
Fair enough, Nigel Clough did admit that Stone was the better penalty specialist during practise – Stone though, had other ideas.
He got his first touch as Benning restarted play with a throw in to the shot stopper – a long ball forward was flicked on by Bowery, but headed away. Ollie Clarke won the second ball, fed Reid who in turn played in a lovely reverse to the advancing Bowery – his shot deflected away and somehow, Maynard tucked it home! Absolute scenes in my living room – mainly laughter!
Away from the madness though, credit must go to Dagenham for defending sternly to take the game to extra time, but also to how Mansfield have changed their resolve – we didn’t crumble, we didn’t give up, we played some good stuff and when it mattered, found the goal.
We all know that we need some more fire power in the January window, it’s been obvious for a while – but taking the positive out of it, again we played some very good football and created some good opportunities, on another day, Dagenham get spanked there.
Playing 120 minutes will have been far from ideal, especially as we head to third placed Cambridge on Wednesday, reverted to a 7.45pm kick-off with the return of home fans – but let’s use the win as momentum, the togetherness as momentum and see if we can repeat what actually, has been a pretty good month.
Round three awaits, but first we focus on the league – safe in the knowledge that if we’re drawing in the 90th minute, we can bring on Aidan Stone!
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Marek Stech (Aidan Stone 120+1) | Kellan Gordon, Farrend Rawson, Ryan Sweeney, Mal Benning | Harry Charsley (Nicky Maynard 115), George Lapslie, Ollie Clarke ©, Stephen McLaughlin (George Maris 57) | Andy Cook (Jamie Reid 76), Jordan Bowery
Unused Subs: Tyrese Sinclair, Aaron O’Driscoll, Corey O’Keeffe
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