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Season 13/14 Stagsnet Match Report
The FA Cup with Budweiser - Round One
St Albans City  
1 - 8
 Mansfield Town
Locke 8.
 Stevenson 44, Howell 45, Daniel 70, Clucas 75, 81, 86, 90, Palmer 77.
Attendance: 3251 (approx 450 from Mansfield)
Date: 9 November 2013


Martin Shaw at Clarence Park

Mansfield Town cruised into Round 2 of the FA Cup with a magnificent performance at Southern Premier League side St Albans City to win 8-1. It was the second time the Stags have won 8-1 in 2013 after the win over Barrow in February. The Stags were just one goal short of a record win in any competition. The Stags record win in this competition remains at 8-0 over Scarborough in 1952 followed by 9-2 over Hounslow in 1962.

Sam Clucas, with 4 of the Stags goals, became the first Stags player to score 4 goals in a game in the FA Cup proper (ie. excluding qualifying round games). Clucas was also the first Stags player to score 4 in a league or cup game since Iyseden Christie against Colchester at Field Mill in Nov 2002. And the first player to score 4 in a league or cup game away from home since April 1926 (Taylor, away to Castleford).

St Albans had gone ahead after just 8 minutes and when the Stags still trailed 1-0 after 44 minutes, Mansfield had failed to score in 472 minutes, that’s 8 minutes shy of 8 hours. But the Stags then proceeded to score 8 goals in the next 46 minutes as confidence in front of goal visibly flowed through the players. Indeed there were two goals in the last couple of minutes of that first half as Lee Stevenson scored with a great finish after his super first touch, and then Anthony Howell tapped in at the far post to give the Stags a half time lead. It remained 2-1 until 70 minutes and then the Stags cracked in an incredible 6 goals in a breath-taking 20 minutes, Sam Clucas with 4 of them and Daniel and Palmer with one each. Clucas was simply outstanding but there were also excellent performances from a number of others including Palmer, who also hit the underside of the bar and had a header turned over, and Stevenson whose goal it was that turned the game around.

Boss Paul Cox made five changes to the side that lost at Southend. Jennings returned at left back, as Pilkington moved from left back to right back. Howell and Stevenson came into the side fresh from their goals for the reserves in the week. Clucas and Palmer also came back in. Out went Beevers (suspended), Blake, Hutchinson (injured), Andrew and Alabi (suspended). It was a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Clucas on the right and Daniel on the left of midfield, and Stevenson just behind Palmer. St Albans had Paul Bastock in goal who’s played against the Stags before for Boston and he was the oldest player left in the competition today. Paul Fairclough, the England C manager, was sitting right behind me, probably watching St Albans’ hot property striker John Frendo.

St. Albans were the first to mount an attack as Marriott easily gathered a low cross from the left.

At the other end, the Stags had their first chance of the game on 5 minutes as Howell’s header was chested off the line from a Jennings corner.

St Albans were ahead on 8 minutes with their first chance. A cross from Keenleyside on the right found Darren Locke at the far post unmarked and he sent a free header past Marriott. From the video, Locke simply wasn’t picked up by anybody, with McCombe and Pilkington both nearby.

On 10 minutes, a low shot from Frendo was straight at Marriott. The Stags defence was momentarily all over the play and Cox was rightly not happy.

A minute later, Stevenson got into the box on the left but instead of shooting, he squared the ball and it was cleared for a corner. From the resulting corner, a Stags header was deflected through to the keeper.

On 13 minutes, Palmer set up Daniel for a chance in the box but his shot from the left was so wide that it didn’t even go for a goal kick. On 15 minutes, a good move from St. Albans as Keenleyside again crossed from the right and McCombe did well to put it behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, McCombe again put in a good challenge.

On 19 minutes, the Stags were very nearly level. A free kick into the St Albans box eventually fell to Clucas who fired right footed into the side netting. Pilkington was having a poor start to the game and it was summed up moments later with a poor cross over everybody.

On 22 minutes, Palmer was desperately unlucky not to equalise. Stevenson played a great ball forward and Palmer beautifully lobbed over keeper Bastock but, as the ball dropped from a great height, it hit the underside of the bar and come out.

On 28 minutes, a good challenge from McCombe as Nwokeji broke into the box. A minute later, from a St. Albans free kick, Locke again got above the Stags defence and this time headed over.

On 31 minutes, a ball from Clucas from the right just evaded Stevenson.

There was brilliant play from Clucas on 35 minutes, tracking back and putting in a superb tackle, one of the tackles of the season. On 37 minutes, a Jennings’ free kick came back to Clucas and his left footed shot was fumbled wide by Bastock.

A minute later at the other end, Nwokeji seemed to be through in a one on one with Marriott but somehow Daniel got back and slid in to force Nwokeji to slice wide. Great play from Daniel who was really getting stuck in.

The Stags were deservedly level on 44 minutes with a goal for the player who scored the Stags previous goal against Bristol Rovers 472 minutes earlier. McGuire side footed the ball perfectly into the path of Stevenson who took a great first touch and an even better finish just inside the left post.

And like London buses, another one was along minute later. A great run by Stevenson down the right, he played in Palmer and Palmer’s cross, across the edge of the six-yard box was tapped in by Howell at the far post. It was unclear whether Palmer’s effort was a shot but it wasn’t going in.

So the Stags went in at the break 2-1 ahead. Some of the defending had been all over the place with Pilkington looking out of position at right back. But on the plus side, it was great seeing Daniel getting stuck in and Ollie Palmer had a particularly good half. A good performance from St Albans in the first half.

Half time 1-2

On 48 minutes, Marriott saved low down from a shot from the left from Chappell. On 50 minutes, Stevenson’s shot from 30 yards was easily saved by Bastock. On 53 minutes, good strength from Palmer to win the ball on the right. He headed towards goal and his shot was deflected for a corner. A good interception by Daniel on 56 minutes and he made a good run then played the ball in to Palmer whose shot was deflected for a corner.

From the resulting corner, Palmer’s header was tipped over by Bastock.

St Albans hadn’t been seeing much of the ball, but on 58 minutes, a free kick came out to Frendo who shanked his shot wide. Sutton was booked a minute later for hauling back Frendo near the half way line.

Frendo was in the action again on 60 minutes with a great volley into the net but the ball had already gone out of play as Nwokeji acrobatically hooked the ball back to him.

At the other end, Stevenson was nearly through on goal, but lost control in the box. On 64 minutes, the home crowd appealed for a penalty but none of the players did and nothing was given.

Straight to the other end and Clucas cut inside from the right and shot well wide. Moments later, Palmer did well on the left to play the ball back to Stevenson who turned and shot just past the right post. On 67 minutes, Howell found Clucas who cut back on to his left foot on the right hand side who sent in a great effort deflected just wide.

It was 3-1 on 70 minutes as the Stags deservedly opened up a two goal cushion. Great play by Clucas on the right again but rather than taking a pot shot this time, he floated a lovely cross to the far post where Daniel volleyed into the net from a tight angle.

On 73 minutes, a chance for St Albans following a free kick, as Locke rose above the defence yet again and headed wide.

It was 4-1 on 75 minutes. A great ball from the left by Jennings to Clucas, Clucas’ first touch was excellent, he cut inside and fired left footed just inside the left post.

Pilkington was booked for a late challenge on 76 minutes.

On 77 minutes, it was 5-1. A great run from Palmer and he somehow got past 3 defenders with a little bit of luck along the way and planted a low shot just inside the post. Terrific goal.

Confidence was oozing from every pore of the Mansfield forward line and midfield and you could see more goals coming.

Meikle replaced Stevenson on 78 minutes.

The excellent Frendo sent in a good left footed effort on 80 minutes that was deflected just wide.

It was 6-1 on 81 minutes. Palmer got the ball to Meikle and he played a great ball inside to Clucas who had all the time in the world to fire home from 7 yards.

It was 7-1 on 86 minutes. More great play from Meikle and he threaded the ball through to Clucas who scored with lovely dink over keeper Bastock, for his hat-trick.

Meikle had only been on the pitch for a few minutes and had already had two assists but he should have had a goal for himself on 87 minutes when he broke through with only the keeper to beat. Bastock seemed already to have committed himself but somehow made a good save from Meikle’s effort. It was a bad miss.

On 88 minutes, Jennings limped off and was replaced by Paul Black, finally making his Stags debut.

The Stags made it 8-1 on 90 minutes. Howell played a ball forward, Palmer was well offside but sensibly left the ball, Clucas ran on to it and delightfully chipped over Bastock from 25 yards. Four goals in 15 minutes for Clucas.

A minute into stoppage time, Palmer limped off with cramp to a fabulous reception, and was replaced by Poku.

A truly sensational second half from the Stags. St Albans were blown away, but had competed well earlier in the game.

Man of the match: Sam Clucas

Report by: Martin Shaw at Clarence Park

Line Up:
Marriott 7 No chance with the goal. One or two saves to make, and some good catching.
Pilkington 5 Looked out of position at right back.
Sutton 6 Did ok.
McCombe 7 Some great challenges.
Jennings 7 Some good set pieces. Nice assist for the fourth goal. Decent game at left back.
Clucas 9 Sensational second half with 4 goals in 15 minutes. And set up Daniel’s goal with a lovely cross. Gave the left back a torrid afternoon cutting in from the right. Became the first Stags player to score 4 goals in a game in the FA Cup proper (ie. excluding qualifying round games).
McGuire 7 Battled hard.
Howell 7.5 Scored and had a header chested off the line. Assists for a couple of the goals.
Daniel 7.5 Good goal from a tight angle, though missed a great chance in first half. Great defending to force Nwokeji to slice wide. Got stuck in.
Stevenson 7.5 A great first touch and an even better finish just inside the left post to break the goal drought. Good play in the build-up to the second goal.
Palmer 8.5 Great goal. Unlucky to also hit the bar, and have a header tipped over. His cross-shot set up Howell for the second goal.
Sub Line Up:
Meikle (for Stevenson, 78) 8 Only on for the last 12 minutes, but had time to set up 2 of the goals.
Black (for Jennings, 88) - His Stags debut.
Poku (for Palmer, 90+1) -
Subs not used: Deakin, Murtagh, Rhead, Andrew.
Opposition Line Up:
Bastock; Hall, Locke, Kaloczi, Chappell; Keenleyside (Watters 82), Marwa, Comley, Graham (Henry 51); Frendo, Nwokeji (Bailey 78). Subs not used: Taylor, Green, Georgiou, Coulton.
Mark Heywood 7 No crucial mistakes. Some poor minor decisions such as penalising Daniel for a good tackle.

Season 13/14 Reports