LIAM 'ECSTATIC' OVER HAT-TRICK GLORY
LIAM Lawrence bagged his first hat-trick to book Stags an FA Cup third round date with First Division Burnley next month.
His injury time penalty winner sealed a 3-2 replay win against Second Division Wycombe Wanderers last night and he said: "I was ecstatic to score in the last minute.
"It reminded me of the Chesterfield game last season - the goal was so important.
"The gaffer and John Gannon told us to show heart and that's something this squad has in abundance.
"Now we are looking forward to playing Burnley. They are a good side, but we'll do our homework and do our best on the day. Then who knows how far we can progress?"
Stags led 1-0 at half-time before being pegged back by two goals in three minutes by Jermaine McSporran. But two spot kicks from Lawrence ultimately saw Stags through.
Manager Keith Curle added: "That game typified the ups and downs of FA Cup football.
"It was always going to be difficult against higher division opposition. It was a perfect chance for them to come here without the pressure of being bottom and trying to shine with nothing to lose.
"I was delighted for Liam to score a hat-trick. He typified Mansfield Town as we will keep going until the final whistle or until the fat lady sings and all my players have a never-say-die attitude.
"Both the goals we conceded were sloppy ones and we will work on that in training.
"I thought our fans were magnificent. They could have got on the players' backs when we'd gone 2-1 behind but stuck with us and really inspired us."
CURLE HAS ONLY PRAISE FOR LAWRENCE AND CO
Mansfield Town 3 v 2 Wycombe Wanderers
Stags boss Keith Curle said hat-trick hero Liam Lawrence typified his side's battling qualities.
A delighted Curle said: "We keep going until the final whistle and my players have a never-say-die attitude. It was always going to be difficult against a side from a higher division.
It was a night for Wycombe to come here without the pressure of being bottom and with the chance to shine, with nothing to lose.
"The game typified the ups and downs of FA Cup football and I must thank our supporters for their magnificent backing.
"It would have been easy for them to get on the players' backs when we went 2-1 behind but, instead, they stuck with us, made a lot of noise and really inspired us."
Mansfield led through Lawrence's first-half strike, but two goals in four minutes by Wycombe's Jermaine McSporran turned the game round before Lawrence came up with two penalties, his hat-trick goal coming in the last minute. The Stags are now at home to Burnley.
NOW 'BRING ON BURNLEY'
Hat-trick hero Liam Lawrence said he was ecstatic to score the winning goal in the dying seconds, then roared: "Bring on Burnley."
The Stags midfielder said the wait to take the final penalty was nerve-wracking, but he was confident he would put it away for his first senior hat-trick.
He said: "I chose to go the same side as the first penalty and it went in. I'm absolutely chuffed to bits.
"I thought there was a few minutes left but by the time I'd finished celebrating it was all over. We played really well and I thought we deserved the result."
Mansfield now meet the Division One side in the third round of the competition at Field Mill on Saturday, January 3. And Lawrence is confident Stags can win it.
He said: "Bring on Burnley. We have showed we have got heart and spirit in abundance and we will give it a good go.
"We know they are a good team but we will do our homework and if we play as well as we can, you never know."
SPOT KING LAWRENCE WINS IT FOR STAGS
SPOT king Liam Lawrence was Mansfield's FA Cup hero with a match-winning hat-trick as they beat Second Divison strugglers Wycombe Wanderers in a dramatic second round replay at Field Mill last night.
It took Lawrence's second penalty success of the night - his eighth of the season - withthe final kick of the match to clinch victory and a home third round tie with First Division Burnley in the New Year.
Mansfield were excellent value for their half time lead before two goals in three minutes early in the second half from Jermaine McSporran put Wycombe in charge.
But Lawrence levelled on 72 minutes from the spot, and his 14th goal of the campaign sealed a marvellous night for the youngster.
The Mansfield side showed two changes from the one beaten 2-1 at home by Lincoln on , striker Christie dropped to the bench with Disley coming in to play just behind Mendes. And Vaughan's experience and fitness saw him return after a one-game ban in place of Eaton.
The Wycombe side also showed several changes from the first meeting when the sides drew 1-1 at the Causeway Stadium a week last Friday with Williams in goal ahead of Talia, while Wanderers' goalscorer from that first clash, Holligan, and danger man Currie were also on the bench.
Wycombe survived an almighty third minute scramble as Mansfield quickly set out their attacking stall with keeper Williams in all kinds of trouble as the ball bounced around the danger zone.
Stags won their first corner on seven minutes which was cleared back to taker Lawrence. And, as he crossed again, Disley touched the ball well wide of the near post.
Wycombe also saw their first corner successfully defended.
The visitors could only clear a long Hassell throw to the feet of Williamson who controlled the bounce before bundling a half volley well over.
But the breakthrough for the home side came in the 14th minute through another slice of Lawrence magic.
Hassell and Curtis worked the ball to Lawrence in the box. A defender got in the way of his first shot but he looked up and sent a delightful lob over the keeper from just 10 yards out.
Corden soon had a 20 yard shot deflected just wide for another corner as Mansfield took an iron grip in the freezing conditions.
All Wanderers had in reply in the first half hour were a couple of breaks which Stags halted and a couple of crosses which Pilkington gathered.
Disley fed Corden on 34 minutes and his 20-yard shot warmed the hands of Williams who needed two attempts to grab the ball.
Corden came even closer two minutes later. Pilkington punched Wycombe's second corner clear to initiate a break. Two players had shots charged down before Corden's curling effort over Williams saw the keeper just claw the ball into the post. It ran loose to Disley who saw his close range follow-up smothered by the keeper.
Curtis had a shot deflect just over and then blazed another half chance well over as Mansfield continued to dominate.
But Wycombe were almost gifted an equaliser in the one minute of first half stoppage time.
Hassell watched the ball bounce after initially beating Dixon to a clearance, which was all the Wycombe man needed to steal the ball and bear down on goal.
But full marks to Hassell as he chased back and slid in to win the ball as clean as a whistle, as Dixon was about to pull the trigger with any error on timing sure to concede a penalty.
It was Dixon's last contribution as he was replaced by Ryan for the start of the second half.
And Wycombe produced their first shot on goal of the night on 49 minutes as Johnson drilled a firm, low shot at Pilkington from just outside the box.
The visitors had clearly stepped up a gear and Roberts evaded three defenders two minutes later before crashing a rising shot just over Pilkington's fingertips and the bar.
Wycombe's enterprise was rewarded on 56 minutes with an equaliser from McSporran.
Faulconbridge knocked the ball onto him in the box and McSporran turned sharply to drill a low finish just between the keeper's fingers and the near post.
Within three minutes McSporran had turned the game on its head with a second goal.
Simpemba's ball offered him a run on the right of the box and he outpaced Artell before drilling a superb low finish across the keeper and just inside the far post.
Immediately Christie joined the action in place of Disley.
But Stags were on level terms on 72 minutes with Lawrence's second penalty success in four days and seventh spot success of the season.
Christie was quick to pounce on the loose ball as keeper Williams dropped a cross and was then brought down by the hapless keeper.
There was a lengthy delay to the kick being taken while the referee sorted out some wrestling involving Christie and two defenders on the edge of the box. But Lawrence eventually drilled the ball low inside Williams' left hand post.
The action swung from end to end as Christie forced a save from Williams from a low Lawrence cross and then Wanderers broke with McSporran trying to chip Pilkington but not able to get the ball high enough.
Simpemba saw the first yellow card on 77 minutes for bringing down Williamson.
Back came Stags and Christie rolled a defender before shooting into the side netting while Lawrence snatched at another chance and shot well wide as extra-time beckoned.
But there was late drama as Stags snatched victory with the last kick of the match in the third minute of stoppage time.
Williamson was in acres of space in the box, only to be brought down by Johnson. Up stepped ice-cool Lawrence to complete a memorable hat-trick with his eighth penalty success of the season into the same corner, with Williams helpless to reach it and Wanderers helpless to come back as the final whistle immediately blew.
STAGS: Pilkington, Mendes, Artell, Corden, Vaughan (Dimech 89), Hassell, Williamson, Disley (Christie 60), Lawrence, Curtis, Day. Subs: J. White, Larkin, MacKenzie.
WYCOMBE: Williams, Rogers, Vinnicombe, Thomson, Johnson, Roberts, McSporran, Simpson, Simpemba, Faulconbridge, Dixon (Ryan h/t). Sub: Talia, Bulman, Currie, Holligan.
REFEREE: Paul Taylor of Cheshunt.
SCORERS: Mansfield - Lawrence 14, 72 pen, 90 pen. Wycombe - McSporran 56, 59.
CAUTIONS: Wycombe - Simpemba 77 (foul on Williamson); Johnson 90 (foul on Williamson).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Liam Lawrence.
LIAM IS SPOT ON FOR STAGS
Mansfield Town 3 v 2 Wycombe Wanderers
In true FA Cup fashion, it could not have been scripted better. The hero, the villain, the suspense and a finale fit for a Hollywood movie.
Luckily for Mansfield, it was Liam Lawrence who played the hero as he completed his first senior hat-trick from the penalty spot with the last kick of the game to cap a remarkable comeback.
Showing nerves of steel, and with the scores level, he made no mistake in the third and final minute of injury time and no sooner had the ball touched the back of the net, referee Paul Taylor blew the final whistle.
It capped an outstanding display by the 21-year-old and also a terrific team performance that was almost thrown away in a few second-half minutes when Jermaine McSporran scored two to put Wycombe ahead.
But after a delightful chip by Lawrence opened the scoring in the first half, he continued to do what he has done best all season - score goals from the penalty spot.
He has now taken and scored eight this season, single-handedly putting them through to the next round of the cup against First Division Burnley.
It was a remarkable end to a fantastic cup tie which saw Mansfield dominate the first half only to be caught napping early in the second period.
Mansfield had all the early pressure as Tony Adams' side looked out of sorts and on 14 minutes came the breakthrough.
Tom Curtis played the ball to Lawrence on the right and after some fancy footwork he cut inside the box only to see his first shot blocked. But he picked up the rebound and produced a delightful chip from 12 yards to beat the advancing Steve Williams.
It put the Stags on the front foot and they continued to play some precise passing football and defended tightly.
With ten minutes remaining Wayne Corden hit two cracking drives, the second of which Williams tipped onto the post and Disley's follow-up was blocked.
But Wycombe got a chance on the stroke of half time when last man Bobby Hassell made a bad mistake to allow Johnny Dixon to nip in and race clear. But as he was about to shoot, Hassell got back to make a great challenge.
At half-time Wycombe had not had a shot on goal but that all changed a few minutes after the restart when Stuart Roberts had an effort saved before Rhys Day was caught out, only to see Roberts' 18-yard strike go just over the bar.
It was a wake-up call for Keith Curle's men but they did not respond.
And they were made to pay when the ball was put in behind the Stags defence on 56 minutes for Craig Faulconbridge to knock inside to McSporran, who drilled it past Pilkington from ten yards out.
And three minutes later McSporran got in behind Dave Artell as he raced onto a pass down from Ian Simpemba. His pace took him clear and he finished superbly from the edge of the box.
It was an unbelievable turnaround from the previous 45 minutes and suddenly Mansfield were chasing the game. But with 20 minutes remaining, Lawrence floated in a long free-kick from the right and it appeared Christie had fouled the goalkeeper.
But the referee waved play on and Williams brought down Christie at his second attempt for a penalty.
Lawrence stepped up and slotted it into Williams' bottom left-hand corner for his seventh penalty of the season.
It appeared to be going to extra-time but as the third minute of injury time came to an end, Mansfield broke down the wing through substitute Luke Dimech. He played in Lee Williamson who raced into the box before being chopped down by Roger Johnson and a penalty was awarded. Lawrence stepped up and tucked it away in the corner.
And finally Keith Curle had got one over his friend Adams, who had twice beat him as a player in FA Cup semi-finals.
Latest | December 2003