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15th January 2021 15:28

The Emirates FA Cup - Round Three
Cheltenham Town 2 - 1 AET Mansfield Town
May 73, Boyle 110. McLaughlin 3
Attendance: behind closed doors

Date: 10 January 2021

Martin Shaw at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, Whaddon Road

Mansfield Town were knocked out of the FA Cup in Round 3 this afternoon, losing 2-1 to Cheltenham Town after extra-time. The Stags had not reached Round 4 for 13 years since a tie against Middlesbrough in 2007/08, while Cheltenham had not reached Round 4 for 15 years. So there was a big carrot for both sides.

Over the 120 minutes, Cheltenham were worthy winners, having put the Stags under considerable pressure, mainly from set pieces especially long throws and corners for long spells, and the Stags only stayed in the game thanks to resolute defending and a bit of luck.

The Stags took the lead as early as the 3rd minute. Stephen McLaughlin, in as a replacement for the injured Ollie Clarke, fed Jordan Bowery in the area on the left, Bowery cut back on to his right foot and played the ball back to McLaughlin to tee him up for a shot from 22 yards. McLaughlin struck his shot crisply and low, and it should have been an easy save for Cheltenham keeper Josh Griffiths, but the keeper made a mess of it allowing it to go through his left hand.

The rest of the first half saw Cheltenham have several near misses from set pieces. Harry Charsley cleared off the line from George Lloyd after a Ben Tozer long throw-in, moments later Alfie May’s shot was blocked on the line by Marek Stech, Lloyd turned a free kick against the bar, and May fired just over the bar from 9 yards. The Stags were pinned back and created almost nothing going forward.

The second half continued in similar fashion, as McLaughlin cleared off the line from Charlie Raglan following a scramble from a corner, Stech saved from May, then May fired wide from the right.

Cheltenham finally equalised after 73 minutes. It came after a mistake by Charsley as he trod on the ball in the centre circle and slipped over. Within 10 seconds it was on the back of the net, as Ellis Chapman fed Alfie May on the left on the edge of the area. May cut inside along the edge of the area and fired a great shot into the right of the net. A great goal from May, but a costly error from Charsley who lay face down on the edge of the area in disappointment as May wheeled away.

The Stags had the ball in the net after 83 minutes as Farrend Rawson teed the ball up for Ryan Sweeney in the area and Sweeney hammered it into the roof of the net but the ball had just gone out of play on the byline.

And so to extra-time, and finally the Stags started to create problems for the home side with their best passage of play of the game, as Jamie Reid brought a good save from Josh Griffiths with a good left footed shot across the keeper from the left after a good pass from Jordan Bowery, then Reid fired over the bar from 18 yards, and finally George Lapslie was so close as his deflected shot from 22 yards looped over the keeper and agonisingly wide of the left post.

But it was Cheltenham who found a winner with 10 minutes remaining in the second period of extra-time and it was fitting that it came from a long throw-in from Ben Tozer, his 10th of the game, which was headed into the net by Will Boyle from 5 yards. It’s hard to tell from the video who should have been picking up Boyle, but it looks like it was substitute Aaron O’Driscoll.

The Stags were unable to create any chances to equalise and Cheltenham could have had a third on the break in the last minute of extra-time as Stech made a great save with his feet from Alex Addai who was clean through on goal.

Cheltenham were deserved winners then. I thought the Stags generally defended well against a barrage of set pieces including long throw after long throw, but didn't do anywhere near enough going forward for 87 minutes during normal time after taking that early lead, and I thought that was a little disappointing. Whether that was because Cheltenham were fresher (see details below), I don’t know. If the Stags had played in normal time as they did in extra time, they might have had more chance to go through. Then again, without the slip from Charsley, the Stags could have held on for victory in normal time against the run of play.

The Stags badly missed Ollie Clarke in midfield to drive the side forward. He’s become a key player this season. Clarke has a knee injury as a result of a challenge against Salford. The good news is that he’s had a scan on the knee and it’s fine, so he may be ok for the Oldham game on Wednesday (50:50 according to Nigel Clough).

The Stags are out of the FA Cup then, but the run has been enjoyable and the club has made £113,500 on the way (broadcast money: Rd1 £18,000; Rd2 £12,500; Rd 3 £20,000; prize money: Rd1 £16,972; Rd2 £25,500; Rd 3 £20,500).

Back to the league, and Mansfield will look to extend the good run and continue pushing up the table, with a visit to Oldham Athletic on Wednesday night (kick off 7.45pm). Oldham have got the best away record in League Two but have struggled at home with just two wins, one draw and eight defeats in the league at home. Join us on iFollow Stags from 7.35pm.

The Stags were without Ollie Clarke and James Perch. Clarke has a knee injury (details above). Perch was feeling unwell this morning (details unknown). In came Stephen McLaughlin into midfield, and Corey O’Keeffe at right back. It was the now familiar formation with Charsley on the right and Bowery on the left, with Reid in the middle. As Mansfield were also without Gordon and Maynard (both hamstring, both possibly available for the Oldham game on Wednesday), and Sinclair (tested positive for Covid-19), and with Josh Scott and Jason Law cup tied and therefore unavailable for the bench, the Stags could only name 5 substitutes, when 9 are now allowed in the FA Cup.

Cheltenham included former Stag Matty Blair at right wing-back, recovered from injury, while another former Stag, Chris Clements was on the bench and came on in extra-time.

The Stags came in to the game on the back of three straight league wins. Cheltenham, flying high in 5th place in League Two, however were five league games without a win, all the way back to December 5th. Cheltenham had not played for 12 days, while the Stags played twice on the heavy pitch at the One Call Stadium in the last week which inevitably gave Cheltenham an advantage of freshness.

The pitch was in perfect condition despite some poor weather in recent weeks. But there had been no game on it since Boxing Day. It is one of the best in League Two these days, a far cry from the pitch which I described in 2017 as “not up to Football League standard and alongside the pitch at Newport last season in being the worst the Stags have played on in the last 30 years in my opinion”.



Cheltenham Town 2 Mansfield Town 1 AET
May (73'minutes), Boyle (110'minutes)
McLaughlin (3'minutes)
Chapman (73'minutes), Tozer (110'minutes)
Bowery (3'minutes)

Cheltenham Town 2-1 Mansfield Town (aet): Robins get deserved FA Cup win


Will Boyle's extra-time goal saw Cheltenham Town overcome Mansfield Town in the third round of the FA Cup.

Stephen McLaughlin put Mansfield ahead when his low shot from the edge of the box was fumbled by Josh Griffiths.

George Lloyd hit the bar soon after as Cheltenham dominated the opening 90 minutes, but only had Alfie May's curling effort to show for it.

Boyle's near-post header from Ben Tozer's long throw sealed victory and a first fourth-round game in 15 years.

Mansfield's goal was their only effort of note until the fourth minute of extra time as Cheltenham went on to dominate the tie.

The Robins had three good opportunities to draw level in the first 10 minutes, Lloyd and May both having efforts cleared off the line, while Chris Hussey could not convert a good chance from a corner.

Lloyd hit the bar with a looping effort from a 16th-minute free-kick, while Boyle blazed over with the follow-up from close range as Cheltenham continued to look dangerous.

The hosts had a decent claim for a penalty turned down 12 minutes later when May's shot hit the arm of George Maris, before May put the follow-up just over.

The second half followed a similar pattern with the hosts dominant, as May had further efforts before finally getting the goal his side's endeavour deserved.

Jamie Reid forced a good save from Griffiths early in extra time and put an effort over soon after, while George Lapslie had a shot deflected over as Mansfield finally showed some attacking intent.

But Cheltenham never stopped pressing and fully deserved their place in Monday's draw as Alex Addai saw an effort saved by Marek Stech in the final minute when he broke through.

Match stats:
Possession Home 60% Away 40%
Shots Home 23 Away 7
Shots on Target Home 6 Away 2
Corners Home 7 Away 4


Mansfield Town exit FA Cup after extra-time defeat at Cheltenham Town
chad.co.uk, Sunday 10th January 2021

Mansfield’s 13-year wait to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup went on after a painful 2-1 extra-time defeat at Cheltenham Town.

Stephen McLaughlin gave the visitors something to defend with his third-minute opener.

But former Doncaster striker Alfie May levelled in the 73rd minute to send the game to extra time.

And it looked destined to be decided on penalties before Will Boyle’s 110th-minute winner sent the Stags crashing to an agonising exit at Whaddon Road.


Clough named two changes from the side which beat Salford City last time out.

James Perch fell ill on the morning of the game and was replaced by Corey O’Keeffe, with McLaughlin coming in for injured skipper Ollie Clarke.

And McLaughlin got the Stags off to the perfect start as he opened the scoring in the third minute.

The midfielder ended a three-month goal drought as his first-time finish from the edge of the box was helped in by hosts’ keeper Josh Griffiths.

Harry Charsley did well to clear George Lloyd’s header off the line after Ben Tozer’s long throw caused the defence problems.

And Michael Duffy’s side came even closer to an equaliser when Lloyd rattled the woodwork.

Potent May fired straight at Stags’ stopper Marek Stech as the hosts continued to threaten.

And the Robins squandered another great chance when May blasted over the bar.

The Stags were under the pump after the restart as the Robins upped the ante.

Ryan Sweeney did well to dispossess marksman May before he had the chance to level from mid range.

Stech got down well to deny the ever-present May from 25 yards before he missed the target from inside the box.

But the striker made up for countless missed chances as he levelled 17 minutes from with a fine curling finish after cutting inside from the left.

Sweeney fired home a great strike only to be denied by the linesman’s flag as the game went to extra-time.

The Stags had the best chances of the first half as Jamie Reid forced a good Griffiths save before George Lapslie’s deflected effort went close.

The gutted Stags were beaten 10 minutes from penalties as a Tozer long throw was diverted in by Boyle.

Stech superbly kept out substitute Alex Addai in the closing stages, with the Stags unable to find a late leveller.

Cheltenham: Griffiths, Tozer, Raglan (Addai, 71), Boyle, Hussey (Freestone, 46), Thomas, Blair, Chapman (Clements, 105), May, Williams, Lloyd (Azaz, 56).

Unused subs: Harris, Long, Campbell, Bowry.

Stags: Stech, O'Keeffe, Benning (J. Clarke, 116), Sweeney, Rawson, Charsley, Maris (O'Driscoll, 108), McLaughlin (Cook, 79), Lapslie, Bowery, Reid.

Unused subs: Stone, Menayese.

Referee: Tom Nield (Yorkshire)