STAGS BOW OUT OF THE FA CUP TO FOREST GREEN
FA Cup Round 1 replay
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Forest Green Rovers
Perry 71. Platt 40, 90+2
Attendance: 2496 (41 from Forest Green)
Date: 17 November 2009
report From The Times
Conal Platt supplies late glory for Forest Green
Mansfield Town 1 Forest Green Rovers 2
Forest Green Rovers won through to a second-round derby with Bath City last night after Mansfield Town were knocked out in the most agonising fashion.
In stoppage time, Sean Rigg crossed low from the left wing for Paul Heckingbottom, the Mansfield defender, to slide in and deflect the ball, but Conal Platt's final touch took it past the goalkeeper.
David Hockaday's team deserved their victory, having controlled the middle part of the game when Platt gave them the lead, although Mansfield battled back gamely.
Platt, displaying class honed as a schoolboy with Liverpool, scored with a brilliant free kick five minutes before the interval to put Forest Green in front.
Mansfield could have taken the lead inside 15 seconds but Jake Speight, having sprinted clear, dragged his shot wide of the far post. Reprieved, Forest Green played their way back into the contest, with Platt impressing on the right hand side of midfield.
The 23-year-old had already cut back inside to curl one exquisite shot just over the crossbar, when he swerved in a cross that Jonathan Smith headed against the woodwork. When Scott Garner felled David Brown, Platt bent home a free kick from 25 yards.
With his team being outplayed, David Holdsworth, the Mansfield manager, reverted to 4-4-2 and, crucially, brought on Louis Briscoe on the right wing. As the pressure increased, Forest Green's defensive mettle was tested to the full. With 20 minutes remaining, Gary Silk sent over a diagonal cross that Kyle Perry headed in, but the celebrations were not to last.
Mansfield Town (4-4-1-1): A Marriott — G Silk, S Garner, L Jones, P Heckingbottom — J Speight (sub: L Briscoe, 53min), M Brough, G Mills, R Williams — B Sturrock (sub: R Duffy, 50) — K Perry. Substitutes not used: E Eley, S Gardner, C Armstrong, S Istead, O Hotchkiss. Booked: Silk.
Forest Green Rovers (4-2-3-1): T Burton — J Hodgkiss, M Preece, J O'Cearuill, C McDonald — P Stonehouse, D Brown — C Platt, J Smith, D Powell — S Rigg. Substitutes not used: B Pugh, J Else, D King, S Davies, M Palmer, T Pass, T Ameobi. Booked: McDonald, Brown, O'Cearuill.
Referee: R West.
Mansfield Town 1-2 Forest Green Rovers (FA Cup Rnd 1 replay), Tuesday 17th November
CONAL Platt wrecked Mansfield Town's hopes of a money-spinning FA Cup run with a cruel goal in stoppage time to win this first round replay thriller at Field Mill.
Platt touched the ball in from almost on the line as it looked set to go in off the sliding challenge of home defender Paul Heckingbottom.
Platt had curled home a superb first half free kick as the lowly visitors belied their league position to rip a lacklustre and possibly complacent Stags apart with some fine football at times and deservedly lead at the break.
But Stags hit back in the second half and the introduction of Louis Briscoe and Kyle Perry's 10th goal of the season sparked a strong fightback for the last 20 minutes.
Mansfield had made one enforced change, the suspended Matt Somner replaced by skipper Gary Mills.
Blair Sturrock partnered Kyle Perry up front while Louis Briscoe returned to the squad on the bench after falling downstairs at home last month.
Speight should have put Stags ahead inside the opening 13 seconds as Brough's through ball sent the striker goalside of the last defender only to place his finish just wide of the far post with keeper Burton at his mercy.
Mills then saw an 18 yard free kick easily blocked as Stags continued on the front foot.
In Rovers' first attack on seven minutes Powell warmed Marriott's hands from the same distance after showing neat footwork to jink past two opponents.
Although clear favourites, Stags could not afford to lose concentration and Brown when slipped a pass to Stonehouse just outside the box, he was afforded enough time to pull a low shot wide.
Williams cut in from the left and curled a tempting low ball into the box where O'Ceraruill did just enough to prevent the in-rushing Mills and Speight getting the vital touch in front of goal.
Sturrock and Perry set up an opening for Mills who was unceremoniously hacked down by McDonald to earn a 15th minute booking, Heckingbottom too high with the free kick from almost the position he had scored from last weekend.
Speight almost burst into a goalscoring position but Preece timed his tackle well to concede a corner before Speight could test Burton.
Jones then failed to get enough on his header from the corner to direct it on target.
But Rovers almost grabbed a 21st minute lead out of the blue as Platt, to the right of the home box, looked up and curled a superb effort just over the far angle with Marriott beaten.
Perry was given the responsibility of the next 20 yard free kick and he blasted into the wall so hard that Powell was left gasping for breath.
Rigg might have done better on 28 minutes as, with Marriott advancing, he lifted a lob onto the roof of the net from the edge of the box.
Jones was furious when he took control of a scramble in front of Marriott and seemed to be fouled three times as he tried to dribble the ball to safety with nothing given.
Rovers again caused a huge scare from their first corner on 31 minutes as Rigg's header came back off the crossbar.
Three minutes later Speight crashed a superb finish into the Rovers net from just inside the box but was denied by an offside flag.
Incredibly a minute later Forest Green also had a goal ruled out for offside after Rigg's cutting pass had put Powell in on goal.
The thrills continued on 37 minutes as Perry rose to meet Heckingbottom's free kick with a firm header that dropped just wide of the far post with Burton rooted.
Rigg was well over on the turn on Rovers' next attack from over 25 yards out.
And the visitors' positive attitude and neat passing football was rewarded with a goal on 40 minutes.
Brown was brought down by Garner on the edge of the box after receiving a return pass in a neat, patient build up.
And Platt was deadly from 18 yards in a central position as he curled in into the top right hand corner past a helpless Marriott,
Silk should have halted Smith's run to the by-line but he easily beat the full back to run into the box and create a scramble which Stags survived,
It was all Rovers now as half time approached with home fans getting angry at how easily Rovers were cutting the home side apart.
Bright was lucky not to be booked for hacking down Brown in frustration.
And it was only a fine save from Marriott that kept the home side in the game in stoppage time as he tipped over a great shot from Rigg, who got away a dipping effort from Stonehouse's pass.
With no immediate improvement on the restart, boss Holdsworth sent on Duffy in place of Sturrock on 50 minutes and Briscoe followed him on for Speight three minutes later, soon getting in two low crosses to the near post which Burton gathered.
But it was still the visitors who had the first goal attempt of the half as Smith fired in low directly at Marriott from 30 yards. Soon after it was Brown from 20 yards who also shot straight at the home keeper.
Boos rang out from the home fans as Rigg pulled Jones out of position before again testing Marriott with a low shot.
But Duffy almost levelled matters on the hour as he beat one defender in the box and fired hard and low across the face of goal, Perry unable to get he crucial touch.
A determined Briscoe then burst down the right and crossed to the far post where Preece, at full stretch, just headed away before Duffy could pounce and drew the foul.
Duffy was then screaming for a penalty as the ball hit a Rovers hand as he tried to control a long Williams ball, but it looked more like ball to hand.
But, with just 20 minutes to go Stags rescued the situation with Perry's 10th goal of the season.
Silk cut in from the right to curl an inviting hanging cross to the far post where Perry steamed in to bury his header from six yards.
O'Cearuill was booked for dissent after a free kick was awarded to Mansfield on 72 minutes and from that, Garner saw his header turned aside for the first of two corners by Burton.
Perry had a header saved from four yards from the first of three more corners as the home fans responded warmly to their side's sudden dominance.
A break down the left saw Smith's shot deflect into the home sidenetting for a corner.
Then Burton was back in action after Briscoe's promising run into the box ended with a low shot and he also had to turn away Brough's right wing cross as it threatened to creep under the near angle.
Silk was booked for a foul on 86 minutes before picking out Duffy with a long cross that he powerfully headed over.
But as we headed for extra-time, Stags suffered a hammer blow in stoppage time as Heckingbottom slid in to cut out a ball right in front of goal and the ball came back off the keeper onto the sliding full back and into the net with Platt following it in to make sure as it crossed the line and claim the heartbreaking goal.
STAGS: Marriott; Silk, Jones, Garner, Heckingbottom; Speight, Mills, Brough, Williams; Sturrock, Perry. Subs: Eley, Gardner, Briscoe, Duffy, Armstrong, Istead, Hotchkiss.
FOREST GREEN: Burton; Hodgkiss, Preece, O'Cearuill, McDonald; Platt, Smith, Powell, Stonehouse; Brown; Rigg. Subs: Else, Pugh, Pass, Davies, Palmer, Henry, Ameobi.
REFEREE: Richard West of Beverley.
ATTENDANCE: 2,496 (41).
Stags 1 Forest Green 2
Evening Post report,Tuesday, November 17, 2009
THE FA Cup has always had amazing propensity to surprise – and always will do.
But while this result was unexpected given the teams' respective positions in the Blue Square Premier, it was certainly no fluke.
Mansfield were understandably confident going into the first round replay after snatching a late draw in the first encounter at the New Lawn; after all they had previously lost just once at home in this calendar year.
But Forest Green Rovers manager Dave Hockaday said coming into this clash that his side had deserved some fortune to go with their decent performances – and they finally got it in this rip-roaring cup tie.
After outplaying the hosts for most of the game, Rovers were rocked by a 70th minute equaliser by Kyle Perry – and could have gone under but for some fine saves by Terry Burton.
Instead, they grabbed a stoppage time winner through Conal Platt – but with the aid of a healthy slice of luck.
In trying to clear a left-wing cross, the sliding Paul Heckingbottom struck keeper Alan Marriott and the ball rebounded off the defender towards goal, before the Forest Green scorer made sure.
It was heart-wrenching for Mansfield who were dreaming of a third round tie against one of the big boys.
The result brought to an end a run of seven games unbeaten for Mansfield, who struggled for two thirds of the game to recapture the form they had shown at Crawley on Saturday.
Now they must pick themselves up quickly for another important home game in the league this weekend against Eastbourne Borough.
Had Mansfield taken the lead inside the first 15 seconds, when Jake Speight flashed wide of the left-hand post from Michael Brough's through ball, the first 45 minutes might have panned out differently.
As it was, the visitors took control of midfield and with it, bossed possession and created the better chances.
Danny Powell shot straight at Marriott from the edge of the box before Paul Stonehouse blazed wide from a pinpoint David Brown pass.
And after the Stags' Luke Jones had headed wide from a Ryan Williams corner, Platt curled inches wide of the left-hand upright.
Next to go close for the visitors was striker Sean Rigg, who beat a stranded Marriott with a lob only for the ball to drop onto the top of the net.
Forest Green were getting ever closer and Rigg was unlucky to see his header rebound off the face of the bar from a right-wing corner.
Both sides had the ball in the back of the net in quick succession, only to see the efforts ruled out for offside flags.
Speight thought he had put Mansfield in front in the 34th minute as he powered past Terry Burton but had his celebrations cut short.
And the same was true of Powell moments later after he had rounded Marriott.
The Stags looked most threatening in the first 45 minutes from set pieces and Perry was not too far off target with a looping header from Heckingbottom's deep free-kick.
But the goal Forest Green had been threatening arrived five minutes from half-time – and what an excellent strike it was too.
Rovers were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the Mansfield box and Platt stepped up to curl a precise strike over the wall, beyond Marriott and into the right-hand corner.
It could have been 2-0 in first half stoppage time but for the reactions of the Stags keeper who tipped over a strike from Rigg bound for the top corner.
You sensed manager David Holdsworth was not going to be a happy man in the dressing room at half-time and would want to have strong words with his players after a below-par first half showing.
The fans were not happy either, as one or two voiced their displeasure with boos.
It was no surprise five minutes after the break when top scorer Rob Duffy was introduced to try to change things – at the expense of Sturrock.
It did not have an immediate effect as Rovers continued to boss the game and Marriott was three times called into action to field attempts from the edge of the box.
However, a frustrated crowd were finally stirred when Duffy slipped past his marker and drilled inches wide of the far post – and inches in front of the outstretched boot of Perry.
And with the returning Louis Briscoe – on for Speight – adding fresh impetus down the right, Mansfield suddenly looked more of a threat.
More crosses began streaming into the Forest Green box and it was from one, delivered by the left boot of Gary Silk as he cut back in from the right, that brought the home fans to their feet as Perry headed in from close range.
Suddenly, the Stags were in charge and only a fine stop by Burton prevented Scott Garner heading them in front.
Perry's header was then blocked by the alert Burton as the terraces came alive.
But Rovers were not done and Jonathan Smith's effort had to be beaten away by the alert Marriott following a quick break.
Briscoe then weaved his way into the box and was thwarted by Burton, who also kept out a deflected Brough centre that was sneaking in.
However, with Mansfield seemingly in the ascendancy, Rovers broke quickly to snatch a dramatic, late victory.
It means it's East London and Ebbsfleet rather than the West Country and Bath City for Mansfield a week on Saturday.
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