When Darren Locke headed St Albans City into an eighth minute lead yesterday, fans of Mansfield must have wondered if their goal-shy sides luck would ever change. Going into the match Stags were without a goal in 428 minutes so you can imagine the relief when Lee Stevenson slotted home to stop the clock, ending what was a 472 minute spell without a goal to level the FA Cup encounter.
What followed was an outburst of Stags attack as they dumped their part-time non-league opponents out of the cup by eight goals to one, midfielder Sam Clucas the star man bagging half of the Stags goals.
As mentioned, the Stags began skating on Banana Skins as Locke headed an eighth minute David Keenleyside cross beyond a bewildered Alan Marriott. The Stags were rocked by the saints opener and fought hard to respond and end the goal drought, Lee Stevenson the scorer after being restored to the line up after a man of the match performance for the reserves midweek.
Stevenson was teeded up by a low pass from captain Jamie McGuire a minute before the break and after levelling the match, were soon in front as a second goal followed just a minute later – goal scorer Stevenson turned provider for Anthony Howell who converted low to put the Stags ahead.
After the break the Stags showed no mercy on the hosts as they grabbed a third on 70 minutes thanks to Junior Daniel’s well struck tight angled volley, Sam Clucas got the fourth just four minutes later as he curled beyond Paul Bastock in the home goal.
Ollie Palmer added the fifth minutes later with a fine solo effort, twisting and turning from the half way line before driving a low effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
From then it was the Clucas show as he added goals six, seven and eight taking home the match ball in the process. Goal six came on 81 minutes as substitute Lindon Meikle sent Clucas clean through for a simple tap-in, the former Hereford man grabbed his hat-trick five minutes later, this time clipping the keeper from another Meikle pass before right at the death grabbing his fourth and Stags’ 8th of the tie racing through the middle onto a loose ball before cooly finishing.
FULL TIME: St Albans City 1-8 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 3,251 (450 Approx)
Referee: Mark Heywood
Stags: Alan Marriott, Ritchie Sutton, John McCombe, George Pilkington, James Jennings (Paul Black 88), Sam Clucas, Jamie McGuire (C), Anthony Howell, Junior Daniel, Lee Stevenson (Lindon Meikle 78), Ollie Palmer (Godfrey Poku 90+1)
UNUSED SUBS: Matt Rhead, Calvin Andrew, Keiran Murtagh, Ian Deakin.
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