STAGS FIGHT BACK TO WIN THROUGH TO Q-FINALS
FA Trophy Round 3 replay
Alfreton Town 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Matt Wilson 16. Connor 60, Parker 77.
Attendance: 2,131 (869 from Mansfield)
Date: 8 February 2011
Martin Shaw at the Impact Arena
Mansfield got past Alfreton at the second attempt to reach the last eight of the FA Trophy, and earn a quarter-final tie at Evostik Premier League side Chasetown. The Stags were awful in the first half and were deservedly behind to a goal from Matt Wilson following shocking defending from a corner. But the Stags came roaring back in the second half with goals from Paul Connor and a deflected Keigan Parker effort to win the game, as Alfreton faded. The celebrations of the management duo and players showed just how much the thought of a possible trip to Wembley means to the club. With the chances of competing in the end of season play-offs seemingly very slim given the number of points behind fifth place and the improbability of having a ten year lease on Field Mill by 1st March, the FA Trophy is now a vital competition for the season, and this was therefore a massive win.
Evening Post Match report: Alfreton Town 1 Mansfield Town 2
NOT since 1987 have Mansfield Town had even the slightest scent of Wembley in their nostrils, but they surely must do now.
Having secured a place in the FA Trophy quarter-finals after overcoming obdurate derby rivals Alfreton Town in an Impact Arena replay last night, players and supporters alike know they will never get a better chance.
By disposing of one of what many see as one the best sides remaining in the competition, the Stags are only one of eight teams left in the draw, with the likes of AFC Wimbledon, Crawley and Wrexham already out.
Only Luton Town of the so-called big boys remain – and even they are obviously not unbeatable on any given day.
But perhaps even more inviting for Mansfield is that they know their next opponents to be Chasetown of the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
Of course, winning that game will be no gimme. Their scare in Derbyshire last night should prove that beyond all doubt.
But you would certainly take a draw against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition – even if they have already accounted for Grimsby and Kettering.
The first and second half displays from the visitors could not have been more different. It was like chalk and cheese.
In the first 45 minutes, Mansfield were awful, failing to get out of the blocks at all as they deservedly went in a goal down.
But they could not have been more different after the restart and merited their victory come full-time with goals from Paul Connor – his 15th of the season – and substitute Keigan Parker.
Whatever manager Duncan Russell said in his half-time team-talk certainly had the desired effect.
Mansfield's preparations for the game were far from ideal in that they were forced to change three of their back four.
Dan Spence came in at left-back with Paul Stonehouse (thigh) unable to take his place.
The two central defenders were also switched with Kevin Sandwith (suspended) and Steve Foster (illness) replaced by Tom Naylor and Rhys Day.
Alfreton had much the better of the opening exchanges but the visitors defended stoutly.
Mansfield got in the first shot on goal when Louis Briscoe teed up Louis Moult, but his drive was well off target.
But the Reds drew first blood as the Stags' set piece Achilles' heel was once again in evidence.
Laurie Wilson's flighted delivery to the near post was not cleared by the visiting rearguard and central defender Matt Wilson took his time before drilling into the roof of the net from ten yards.
The Stags front two of Moult and Connor were being starved of possession, which meant the ball was quickly coming back on the visitors.
However, an excellent throw from goalkeeper Neil Collett put Cain away down the right, although his low centre was again poor and cut out by Connor Franklin.
Just before the half hour mark, Paul Clayton cut inside after picking the ball up in the left-hand channel and fired in a 20-yard drive that was not too far wide of the right-hand upright.
The Stags fans finally had something to lift their spirits as half-time approached as Briscoe's volley flew just wide with the aid of a deflection.
In first-half stoppage time, Collett had to race off his line to put the ball into touch when Liam Hearn threatened to break clear.
Mansfield came out with the bit between their teeth in the second period as they kicked towards their own fans at the Tin End.
Connor twice might have scored but first he headed into the arms of Turner at the far post from Moult's right-wing cross when unmarked.
The striker then found himself with a clear shot 15 yards out, only for his shot to be blocked by the legs of Turner while Briscoe was crowded out from the follow-up.
But Mansfield were eventually rewarded for some intense pressure as Connor found the net at the third time of asking.
Franklin was unable to clear under pressure from Moult, allowing Murray to slip the ball square for Connor, who tucked the ball into the left corner from 12 yards.
Alfreton hit back with a shot from Anthony Howell that flew over the angle as Gary Silk levered him off the ball.
Then, suddenly, the Stags were in front but it owed a great deal to good fortune.
Murray stole the ball off Laurie Wilson and set Connor away through the middle.
His shot was parried by Turner, but only as far as Briscoe, who coolly picked out substitute Parker.
The Scot took aim but was thankful that his ten-yard drive took a wicked deflection off Jake Moult to loop into the goal.
Only a superb clearance off the line by Franklin in the dying seconds, after Briscoe had bundled his way past Turner, denied Mansfield a third in the final moments.
But that would have been harsh on brave Alfreton who more than played their part in an engrossing tie.
For Mansfield, though, it's now on to Chasetown.
February 26 cannot come quickly enough
Alfreton see their Wembley dream dashed as Mansfield fight back for replay victory
thisisderbyshire.co.uk match report
ALFRETON Town are left to focus on their Blue Square Bet North title charge after Mansfield Town knocked them out of the FA Trophy at the Impact Arena last night.
The Reds had led the third round replay through defender Matt Wilson's 16th-minute strike but second-half goals from Paul Connor and substitute Keigan Parker sealed victory for the Stags, to earn them a quarter-final trip to Chasetown.
The sides had drawn 1-1 at Field Mill on Saturday and Alfreton were looking to repeat their feat of the previous round, when they saw off another Conference Premier side, Cambridge United, over two matches.
And they looked well on the way to doing that after dominating the first half, before Mansfield upped their game after the interval to end the Derbyshire club's dream of reaching Wembley this year.
Reds boss Nicky Law made only one change to his side, recalling Anthony Howell to face his former club following a three-match ban. Ian Ross dropped to the bench.
Skipper Darren Stride was available to play despite his red card at the weekend, although Mansfield's Kevin Sandwith – also sent off in that match – was suspended due to different rules between the Conference Premier and Conference North.
Alfreton enjoyed much of the early pressure but the visitors had the first attempt on goal, although Louis Moult sliced his effort well wide.
Moments later, though, striker Paul Clayton won a corner on the left, which was delivered into the box by full-back Laurie Wilson.
The ball was headed clear only as far as Matt Wilson, who had time to control before smashing a left-foot shot high into the net, through a crowd of players, from 10 yards.
The Reds were doing well to restrict the Stags and, on the half-hour, went close when Clayton sent a rasping drive past the joint of post and crossbar.
It took until the 42nd minute for Mansfield to trouble the Alfreton goal. Former Derby County midfielder Adam Murray's free kick was laid off by Rhys Day to Louis Briscoe, whose 20-yard volley was deflected narrowly wide.
And when Ashley Cain drilled a dangerous low cross in from the right just before the break, Matt Wilson was there to provide the crucial clearance.
Mansfield started the second half on the front foot, with Day heading wide from a corner and Connor nodding straight at keeper Ross Turner following Moult's cross to the back post.
The visitors went even closer in the 51st minute, when the ball was threaded through to Connor in the box but his low shot was blocked by the legs of Turner and Briscoe stumbled as he went for the follow-up.
The pressure was building and, with an hour on the clock, Alfreton failed to clear a long ball into the area and Murray found Connor, who fired a low shot into the net from 12 yards.
The goal sparked the home side into life and Clayton was denied by keeper Neil Collett, allowing Gary Silk to clear off the line.
Then, Howell blazed over after being set up by Clayton's pass.
Alfreton had to make a change when Stride was forced off with a hamstring strain – and they fell behind with 13 minutes remaining.
Murray released Connor on the break and although his shot was blocked by Turner, Briscoe found Parker, whose drive was unluckily deflected off substitute Jake Moult and over the keeper.
The Reds had a chance to force extra-time in the 88th minute but Clayton's header went wide.
Briscoe almost added a third for Mansfield in added time but Alfreton defender Connor Franklin made a fine goal-line clearance.
ALFRETON TOWN: Turner, L Wilson, M Wilson, Franklin, Brown, Stride (J Moult, 72), J Hall, Howell, Arnold (Dillon, 83), Hearn (Ross, 86), Clayton. Other subs: Keane, Law.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Collett, Silk, Day, Naylor, Spence, Cain, Thompson, Murray, Briscoe, L Moult (Parker, 68), Connor. Other subs: Grof, Preece, Nix, Mitchley.
REFEREE: S Ross (Lincs). ATTENDANCE: 2,131 (869 away fans).
Alfreton 1-2 Stags
Mark Stevenson reports from the Impact Arena for mansfieldtown.net
Mansfield Town toppled near-neighbours Alfreton to make it to the last eight of the FA Trophy, but were made to fight all the way for their 2-1 victory
Stags showed great character to knock out their Blue Square North counterparts and set up a Fourth Round tie at Chasetown later this month.
The transformation in Mansfield's second half performance was quite remarkable. Alfreton's home goalkeeper Ross Turner was a mere spectactor in the opening 45 minutes, as Stags were stuck in the traps during a dismal first half.
But an inspirational half-time team talk from manager Duncan Russell spurred them into life and goals from frontmen Paul Connor and Keigan Parker ensured Stags' place in the next round.
The Mansfield boss was forced into making three defensive changes from the reverse tie three days ago.
Stags' line up saw a fresh pair at the heart of the defence, with Tom Naylor alongside Rhys Day.
20-year-old Dan Spence made his Mansfield debut at left back, filling in for the injured Paul Stonehouse who was out with a thigh problem. Fellow defenders Kevin Sandwith (suspended) and Steve Foster (ill) also missed out.
The first half was one of few chances for both sides, but tt was Alfreton who grew into the match with greater ease, registering two corners in the opening ten minutes.
Stags, however, were first to test the goal when Louis Briscoe set up Louis Moult who saw his shot sail well wide from 20 yards.
But less than a minute later, it was Alfreton who drew first blood. Mansfield failed to defend properly from a Laurie Wilson corner, as Matt Wilson was left unmarked to slam home from close range.
On 20 minutes, Stags tried to use the flanks to create an opening, but low crosses from Louis Briscoe and moments later, Ashley Cain, came to nothing.
Alfreton swung in their third corner of the night but within the blink of an eye, Mansfield were on the charge. Neil Collett, the Stags goalkeeper, came to collect in mid-air and immediately bowled out to the onrushing Ashley Cain, who, after a surging run, was unable to find Louis Moult in the area with a right wing cross.
Alfreton striker Paul Clayton then saw his shot from 22 yards flash wide as the hosts looked for a second goal.
Towards the end of a bitterly disappointing first half for Mansfield, Louis Briscoe smashed a 20 yard shot at goal which went behind with the aid of a deflection.
Briscoe then started a rare first-half Stags attack on 45 minutes. The winger sent a superb diaganol pass to Louis Moult, whose pass found Cain on the right flank. But his low cross into the box was met only by Red shirts.
Stags, who lacked tempo and gusto in the first half, needed a huge injection of energy to re-ignite their failing performance.
At half-time, boss Duncan Russell did just that by reading them the riot act and his players reacted magnificently.
Mansfield showed their intent to pull a goal back immediately after the restart by winning two corners in as many second half minutes.
And Stags, who began to show far greater urgency when heading goalwards, began to heap pressure on the Alfreton goal with wave after wave of attack during the opening stages of the second period.
Mansfield started to press with real purpose, and it wasn't long before the front pair began to link up.
Moult crossed from the right to find Paul Connor inside the area, but his header was aimed straight at Ross Turner, and the same man was again denied in another Mansfield charge, but somehow Alfreton managed to get it clear.
It only seemed a matter of time before Stags would find a leveller and their persistance paid off on the stroke of the hour. Deadly hitman Paul Connor, who Stags have relied on so heavily this season, again came to the rescue.
Adam Murray battled well to win the ball and after slipping it to Connor inside the area, the ex-Lincoln frontman kept his cool to finish low past Turner and level the tie.
On 65 minutes, ex-Mansfield man Anthony Howell fired a shot over the bar from outside the area, but was driven wide of goal by the dogged Gary Silk as he tried to line up the shot.
With 22 minutes remaining, Keigan Parker replaced Louis Moult in attack and the change paid dividends five minutes later when he put Stags in front.
The move started with Adam Murray winning the ball superbly in his own half, before feeding Connor who looked on with only the goalkeeper to beat. After Turner beat his shot away, Briscoe collected and played it wide to Parker who steered the ball home with the aid of a deflection.
Then followed euphoric scenes, with 869 Stags fans in pandemonium along with the Mansfield bench, who could not hide their delight by galloping onto pitch.
Stags continued to dominate the second period and may have had a third through Louis Briscoe - Mansfield's man of the match. The powerful wingman went on a surging run during injury time and was so close to putting his name on the scoresheet. His darting run forward saw him beat the goalkeeper, but not Alfreton's Connor Franklin, who cleared the ball off the line.
But Franklin's clearance mattered little, as Stags' remarkable second half fightback put an end to Alfreton's Wembley dream.
A delighted, yet hoarse, Duncan Russell said afterwards: "There was a lot said at half time. I wouldn't have wanted any cameras in their with what I said to them [his players], but I needed a response. We weren't right [in the first half]. We looked second to everything and had no urgency about us. I wasn't going to accept it. No way was I going to go out this competition without a fight. I told a few home truths and got the response I wanted. They came out and got at it straight away.
"All fairness to Alfreton, they pinned us back and we had to defend resolutely at times."
ALFRETON: Turner, Hall, Franklin, M. Wilson, Stride (J. Moult 72), L. Wilson, Howell, Brown, Clayton, Hearn (Ross 86), Arnold (Dillon 82)
UNUSED SUBS: Keane, Law
STAGS: Collett, Silk, Day, Naylor, Spence, Cain, Briscoe, Thompson, Murray, Moult (Parker 68), Connor
UNUSED SUBS: Grof, Preece, Nix, Mitchley
ATTENDANCE: 2131 - 869 (Stags fans)
Alfreton's Wembley dreams are ended
FA Carlsberg Trophy Third round replay
Alfreton Town 1 Mansfield Town 2
Alfreton Town's FA Trophy Wembley dream is over for another season after Mansfield Town edged through by the odd goal in three.
However, the Reds can reflect proudly on a memorable run that produced that magnificent 6-3 win at Cambridge United in the previous round and a very commendable performance in earning this replay.
The tie was played in almost ideal conditions in front of probably the biggest crowd ever to witness a midweek game at the Impact Arena, and certainly the largest gate since drawing with Macclesfield in a Saturday FA Cup tie in 2004, but the heavy conditions experienced at Field Mill on Saturday took their toll on the Reds.
Alfreton led though Matt Wilson's goal after 16 minutes and the Stags were actually booed off at half-time by their own fans, but attacking the Alma Street end after the break Mansfield turned the tie around with a Paul Connor equaliser on the hour and a very fortunate Keigan Parker winner with just 13 minutes remaining.
The first attack of note came from the hosts with Anthony Howell forcing a corner after being played through by Liam Hearn in the tenth minute, and it was a further five minutes before Mansfield's first foray forward with Louis Moult firing wide when teed up by Louis Briscoe.
Alfreton took a 16th minute lead after Paul Clayton had won a corner, which was taken by Laurie Wilson and flicked on at the near post by Clayton, allowing Matt Wilson to virtually pick his spot with a low drive from 12 yards to a delirious response from the Reds' contingent.
Briscoe delivered a dangerous cross into the target area in the 19th minute but it was too sharp for his supporting colleagues, although Ashley Cain managed to retrieve the ball at the by-line only to see his pull-back intercepted by Matt Wilson.
Clayton won another corner in the 28th minute, but as Stags' keeper Neil Collett clutched Laurie Wilson's inswinger under the bar he instantly threw the ball out to Cain on the right, and a speedy run down the flank ended with his cross being cut out by Connor Franklin.
Clayton fired inches wide from 22 yards after cutting inside on the half-hour mark, then with the visitor's first shot on goal in the 42nd minute Briscoe's effort was diverted behind for a corner.
Matt Wilson again cut out a Cain cross as the interval beckoned, then in first half added time Clayton played Liam Hearn through only for the keeper to arrive on the scene just in time to hoof the ball out of the ground.
Mansfield made a much more positive start to the second half with Tom Naylor heading over from the second of successive corners in the 48th minute, then moments later Connor headed straight at Ross Turner from Moult's cross.
There was a brilliant save by Turner from Connor in the 50th minute, which led to a hectic goalmouth scramble that the Reds survived, then five minutes after that Turner held an easier effort from Briscoe.
A terrific tackle back by Jordan Hall in the 57th minute denied Adam Murray a shooting opportunity, but three minutes later Mansfield were level from Connor's low drive from eight yards after Connor Franklin had been caught in possession by Murray.
A minute later in response Clayton forced the ball towards goal off Collett with Gary Silk clearing the danger, then on 65 minutes Howell needed too many touches before being crowded out from Hearn's cross.
The killer goal on 77 minutes stemmed from Murray beating Laurie Wilson to the ball and sending Connor on a powerful central run, but Turner stood his ground and blocked the shot only for Briscoe to pounce on the loose ball to feed Parker, whose shot took a very lucky deflection off Jake Moult to loop over the recovering keeper and drop just under the bar.
Mansfield were ahead for the first time in 167 minutes of this intriguing tie, but it was a huge blow to the Reds who could muster only one further notable attack with two minutes to go, when Moult's deep cross from the right saw Clayton glance his header wide.
There was still time for an amazing clearance by Franklin, who managed to scoop Briscoe's shot off the line while facing his own goal to prevent a bigger margin of defeat.
The reaction of Alfreton players at the final whistle was unanimously one of dejection, but the directors and fans can take pride and satisfaction in the evolution that has brought these two teams virtually on a par in less than a decade, since the Stags held the equivalent of League One status and the Reds were plying their trade in the Northern Counties East.
Alfreton Town: Ross Turner, Jordan Hall, Connor Franklin, Matt Wilson, Darren Stride (c) (Jake Moult 72), Laurie Wilson, Anthony Howell, Anton Brown, Paul Clayton, Liam Hearn (Ian Ross 86), Nathan Arnold (Dan Dillon 82).
Substitutes not used: Ian Ross, Kallum Keane, Josh Law.
Mansfield Town: Neil Collett, Gary Silk, Tom Naylor, Rhys Day, Daniel Spence, Adam Murray (c), Tyrone Thompson, Ashley Cain, Paul Connor, Louis Moult (Keigan Parker 68), Louis Briscoe.
Substitutes not used: David Grof (GK), Mark Preece, Kyle Nix, Dan Mitchley.
Referee: Mr Stephen Ross of Boston.
Attendance: 2,131 with 869 from Mansfield.
Goals: Alfreton Town - Matt Wilson (16). Mansfield Town - Paul Connor (60), Keigan Parker (77).
Cautions: Alfreton Town - Jake Moult (79). Mansfield Town - Ashley Cain (90+1, unsporting behaviour).
Reds man of the match: Matt Wilson.
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