FA Cup Second round, Saturday 4th December 2021
Watching Stephen Quinn dancing and leading the celebrations in front of 3,292 proud Stags fans is a moment that will stay with me for a very long time, as Nigel Clough’s men overcame a 1-0 score line to reach the third round of the FA Cup, slaying yet another League One side in struggling Doncaster Rovers.
Clough was dealt a bitter blow in the build up to the game, losing Farrend Rawson and Oli Hawkins, both through illness, meaning that the excellent back three had to be moved to a back four hours before kick-off.
The Stags started well but after the Rovers’ seventh minute goal against the run of play, struggled to get going and after seeing George Lapslie’s goal chalked off for offside, went into the dressing room 1-0 down and with two key players struggling with injury.
Rhys Oates managed to stay on but Stephen McLaughlin had to be withdrawn, Clough gambled – switched back to a back three but needed someone to play at left wing back, you’d think Ryan Burke would be the obvious choice – but Clough seemingly had a premonition and threw on Jordan Bowery – the rest, as they say, is history!
George Lapslie will get the plaudits for the brace, but Jordan Bowery deserves a huge amount of credit for a phenomenal display, being heavily involved with the goals and our general build up play which Doncaster simply couldn’t cope with.
To the hosts credit, they’d made it to be an entertaining fixture with the goal late on and showing some dangerous moves when they decided to play long, rather try to play out from the back where, with a mixture of our forceful press and their lack of confidence, saw the back four playing in the stands.
Mansfield have to be tighter, but again a month or so ago we’d have crumbled after the first goal, we’re growing closer week by week and that’s driven by O’Toole at the back, Quinn in midfield and Oates up front who is electric!
Fingers crossed for a nice money spinner in round three at home, or a stadium we’ve not been too before to create some memories!
For now though, it’s time to refocus and go again to be ready to face Carlisle in league two on Tuesday!
STAGS: Bishop, Hewitt, O’Toole, Forrester, McLaughlin (Bowery 46), Lapslie, O’Clarke © (Charsley 90+1), Maris, Stirk, Quinn, Oates (Sinclair 79) UNUSED SUBS: Shelvey [GK], Mason [GK], Burke, Ward, Law
Attendance: 7,020 (3,292)
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