REPORTS FROM THE NATIONALS
Lawrence leads Mansfield home
By Peter Keeling
Mansfield Town (1) 3 Wycombe (0) 2
A dramatic injury-time penalty winner gave Liam Lawrence a hat-trick for Mansfield Town and thwarted a great fightback by Wycombe Wanderers in last night's FA Cup replay at Field Mill. The result also left Wycombe's manager, Tony Adams, still without a victory after seven games in charge of the Second Division's bottom side.
Lawrence's winner came after Wycombe defender Roger Johnson brought down midfielder Lee Williamson, referee Paul Taylor having no hesitation in pointing to the spot for Mansfield's second penalty of the match. Now the Third Division promotion challengers meet First Division Burnley in the third round.
Lawrence, Mansfield's attacking midfielder who was 22 last Sunday, had put Wycombe on the back foot as early as the 14th minute with a top-quality chipped goal.
Deploying a 4-5-1 set-up that quickly changed to 4-3-3 when going forward, Mansfield pressed from the start. A shrewd Tom Curtis through-ball right into the heart of the penalty area opened up the Wycombe defence for Lawrence to make room for a jink before caressing a delightful shot over goalkeeper Steve Williams and into the far corner.
Wycombe, with Andy Thomson and Johnson holding their positions well at the heart of defence, then had some serious defending to do, and in the 36th minute another chip, this time from Wayne Corden outside the penalty area, would have made it 2-0 had Williams not somehow diverted the ball on to a post.
Adams clearly pulled no punches at half-time and Wycombe came out for the second half as though a fuse had been lit underneath them. They poured forward and the home side found themselves 2-1 behind after only 14 minutes of the half.
Both goals came from Jermaine McSporran, who was left on the sidelines last season by a cruciate ligament injury. First in the 56th minute he turned brilliantly from a Craig Faulconbridge pass to equalise with a low drive beyond Kevin Pilkington's right hand. And three minutes later he lost the Mansfield defence with a diagonal run into the penalty area on to an Ian Simpemba pass and gave Pilkington no chance, putting Wycombe ahead.
Yet a gritty Mansfield side rallied magnificently, and brought themselves level with a 71st-minute penalty from Lawrence after Williams had fouled Lyseden Christie.
Lawrence secured a third-round tie for Mansfield at home to Burnley when he converted his second penalty of the evening in the last minute. He gave Mansfield the lead in the 14th minute with a right-foot lob over the Wycombe goalkeeper, Steve Williams. However, the visitors levelled with the first of a Jermaine McSporran double 11 minutes into the second half. The 26-year-old netted his second three minutes later to give his side the lead for the first time.
But Mansfield drew level again in the 72nd minute after a foul by Williams on Iyseden Christie in the Wycombe box and the midfielder completed his hat-trick in stoppage time.
Latest | December 2003