Swan pen 5, Akins pen 90+3. Mansfield won 3-1 on penalties
Clarke-Harris 30, 46
Attendance: 4,372 (682 from Peterborough)
Date: 26 September 2023
STAGS THROUGH TO ROUND 4 OF LEAGUE CUP FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1975
By Martin Shaw
Mansfield Town beat Peterborough United on penalties to advance to the fourth round of the League Cup for the first time since 1975 and only the second time in the club’s history.
Mansfield took the lead after just 5 minutes when Will Swan was brought down in the box and converted the resulting penalty himself, for his first goal of the season, a huge confidence boost for him.
But for the next hour, League One Peterborough were hugely impressive, equalised after 30 minutes through Jonson Clarke-Harris, and deservedly in front after 46 minutes when Clarke-Harris scored again. The Stags stayed in the game though, crucially keeping the deficit to one goal, and the introduction of subs, notably Ollie Clarke after 61 minutes saw the tide turn as the Stags started to press Peterborough and get a foot in. The Stags should have equalised after 69 minutes when James Gale somehow headed over the bar from a deflected cross that looped up and was going in. Then on 71 minutes, a great cross from Gale was tapped into the net by sub Lucas Akins but he was adjudged fractionally offside. Chances kept on coming in an incredible turnaround from the opening 60 minutes and finally the Stags equalised after 90+3 minutes. Calum Macdonald was brought down by Clarke-Harris in the area and Akins converted the resulting penalty.
And so to penalties. Mansfield scored their first two, while Christy Pym, against the club he left amidst some acrimony and given dogs’ abuse by the opposing fans all evening, pulled off two brilliant saves to make it 2-0 after two penalties each. Even though Mansfield missed the next two penalties, the fourth Posh penalty hit the post, leaving Davis Keillor-Dunn to convert Mansfield’s fifth penalty and seal the shootout win 3-1.
What a night for Christy Pym, the hero again as he was in Round Two.
Mansfield remain unbeaten in league and cup after 12 matches, and are still the only EFL club to be unbeaten this season in all competitions.
On a personal note, I couldn’t be at the game in person as my partner Debbie is in hospital. Thanks for all the kind messages of support. Just the third Stags game I have missed in 11 years, the previous two being the day my mum died and the day my dad died.
DETAILED REPORT :
Mansfield made five changes from the side that beat Barrow with George Williams, Baily Cargill, Hiram Boateng, George Maris and James Gale replacing Jordan Bowery, Calum Macdonald, Ollie Clarke, Davis Keillor-Dunn and Lucas Akins.
Peterborough, who sit eighth in League One, went into the game unchanged from the weekend.
Posh could have been ahead after 3 minutes. Ricky-Jade Jones got to the byline on the left and cut the ball back for striker Jonson Clarke-Harris. It looked a certain goal until his shot from six yards was headed off the line by Baily Cargill.
Mansfield took the lead after 5 minutes when Will Swan was brought down in the box and converted the resulting penalty himself, for his first goal of the season, a huge confidence boost for him. The penalty came after hesitation on the edge of the box between Josh Knight and Archie Collins which allowed Swan to nip in, and Collins pulled him back by his shirt. Swan side-footed the penalty straight down the middle. He admitted after the game that he had been forced to change from his preferred side for the penalty after the club showed a photo of him practicing penalties on twitter the day before!
On 7 minutes Cargill blocked from Poku on the edge of the box after Ricky-Jade Jones had got to the byline again. Then Harrison Burrows fired well wide from the edge of the box.
On 10 minutes, Maris poked wide from 10 yards after being slid into the area by Lewis.
Ephron Mason-Clark turned and fired high and wide from 20 yards after 13 minutes.
A brilliant save from Pym after 18 minutes. Mason-Clark got between Flint and Williams to fire towards the bottom corner of the net, only for Pym to make a brilliant save.
Great play on the right by Lewis after 21 minutes, he played back to Williams, a good cross, and Gale headed wide.
On 28 minutes, Poku crossed beyond the far post to Ricky-Jade Jones who sent in a cross-shot from a tight angle, well-saved by Pym at his near post.
Reed was booked for a trip after 29 minutes. The free kick was 27 yards out, and from it Peterborough, who had been impressive, deservedly equalised.
Jonson Clarke-Harris took the free kick and blasted it towards the centre of the goal. It bounced in front of Pym and somehow went past him into the net. I wondered if it had taken a deflection, but apparently not. Nigel Clough said after the game: “I think the movement on the ball just deceived Christy Pym and he was a bit disappointed with it at half-time.”
The Stags had reshuffled with Gale dropping back to a sort of left wing-back role, and Lewis on the right, to try to stop the Posh tide.
On 31 minutes, a Hector Kyprianou looping header towards the top corner was palmed away by Pym. Then a 25 yard shot from Kyprianou was straight at Pym after 35 minutes.
On 38 minutes, a great crossfield pass from Reed to Gale and his shot from the corner of the area was blocked. Then on 45 minutes a snapshot from Swan was blocked.
10 shots for Peterborough in the first half to Mansfield’s 5 reflected the Peterborough superiority and pressure. But Mansfield had worked hard to keep the Posh and bay.
Half time 1-1
Bowery replaced Reed at the start of the second half. Reed had been booked in the first half. Bowery went to the right, Lewis moved back inside.
Peterborough were deservedly in front after 46 minutes as Clarke-Harris scored again. Peter Kioso played the ball forward from inside his own half, Brunt tried to nick in front of Mason-Clark to win the ball, but couldn’t do so, allowing Kioso to run on to it and steam forward behind Cargill and Gale as well. Kioso fired a cross-shot across the face of goal which was well-blocked by George Williams, but straight into the path of Clarke-Harris who tapped into the empty net. Unlucky for Williams, not great from Brunt.
After 51 minutes, Kioso headed against the bar from six yards following a corner, with Pym getting a slight touch on it. A brilliant header away by Flint after 54 minutes. Then Cargill was caught in possession by Poku, Clarke-Harris cut in from the right and fired across Pym and just wide of the far post. On 58 minutes, Poku turned one way then the other and Blunt blocked his shot.
The Stags stayed in the game, crucially keeping the deficit to one goal, and the introduction of subs, notably Ollie Clarke after 61 minutes saw the tide turn as the Stags started to press Peterborough and get a foot in.
It was a triple change: Clarke replaced Maris, Macdonald replaced Cargill, and Akins replaced Swan.
On 63 minutes, good defending from Flint as Ricky-Jade Jones broke into the area. From the resulting corner, Clarke-Harris’s header hit Kioso and went wide.
After 65 minutes, Williams crossed into Lewis who got goalside of his man and went down but the referee wasn’t interested in a penalty. Then from a corner, the ball came out to Bowery, who sent in a side-footed from 22 yards and the keeper did well to get down and save. A free kick from Lewis reached Gale at the far post, he chested down and his shot was deflected into the side netting.
The Stags should have equalised after 69 minutes when Gale somehow headed over the bar from a deflected cross-shot from Boateng that looped up and was actually going in.
Then on 71 minutes, a great cross from Gale was tapped into the net by sub Lucas Akins but he was adjudged fractionally offside.
A great spell from the Stags.
Ricky-Jade Jones got to the byline on 73 minutes and his cross was blocked by Williams onto his hand. No question of a penalty.
A change after 74 minutes. Keillor-Dunn replaced Williams. Bowery went to right back. Williams had done well after a tricky opening against Ricky-Jade Jones.
Great defending by Bowery against Clarke-Harris a minute later getting his body between the striker and the ball. Then a great block by Flint as Mason-Clark broke into the box.
Macdonald attempted to score from 35 yards with the goalkeeper out of his goal, but it drifted wide, on 80 minutes. Three minutes later, from a Macdonald cross, Boateng volleyed high over the bar. Then Clarke sliced a shot wide from 24 yards.
Flint was booked for tapping Mason-Clark on his head. Mason-Clark was wearing a swimming cap. Bizarre.
Flint stayed up front now. A free kick from Keillor-Dunn to the far post, and Brunt headed over the bar on 88 minutes.
On 90+1, Keillor-Dunn got to the byline, and a Flint header was saved on the line. Then a Gale volley was deflected for a corner.
Chances had kept on coming in an incredible turnaround from the opening 60 minutes and finally the Stags equalised after 90+3 minutes. Calum Macdonald was brought down by Clarke-Harris in the area and Akins converted the resulting penalty into the bottom right corner.
On 90+5, Clarke had a shot on the turn deflected wide.
And so to penalties.
Captain Flint won the toss to go first. The referee’s toss decided that the penalties would be taken at the North Stand end in front of the Posh fans that had been bashing Pym all night with unpleasant abuse.
Akins went first, scoring under the keeper. 1-0
Clarke-Harris was first up for Posh and Pym made a brilliant save to his right, with his left hand. 1-0
Bowery stroked his penalty into the bottom left. 2-0
Ronnie Edwards up next, and Pym saved brilliantly to his right again. 2-0
Flint hit the left post with the keeper having gone the wrong way. 2-0
Mason-Clark stepped up for Posh, sending Pym the wrong way. 2-1
Ollie Clarke was next, but the keeper saved to his right. 2-1
A chance for Posh to level it. A crucial kick. Josh Knight stepped up and planted his effort against the left post with Pym having gone the wrong way. 2-1
The left Davis Keillor-Dunn to convert Mansfield’s fifth penalty, slotting into the bottom right corner, and seal the shootout win 3-1.
What a night for Christy Pym, the hero again as he was in Round Two.
Pym stood in front of the away end, arms aloft, as he was mobbed by his teammates. He took his deserved lap of honour along the front of the Stags fans, including the moment he miming an empty handshake with a long since vacant Peterborough dugout. Hilarious.
We learned after the game from goalkeeper coach Adam Collin that Posh keeper Bilokapic had thrown Pym’s research notes on which way to expect penalties to go into the Posh fans. Disgraceful behaviour really. Perhaps justice done.
Posh manager Darren Ferguson gave an extraordinary post match interview bemoaning the lack of bottle his team had shown in the face of adversity.
The Stags rode their luck for 60 minutes but stayed in the game and were dominant in the last 30 after the introduction of Ollie Clarke. A great turnaround, and the Stags move into the last 16.
Man of the match: Christy Pym
Here’s a running tally of various stats this season:
Goals (league and cup): Keillor-Dunn 7, Akins 4, Maris 3, Oates 3, Clarke 1, Lewis 1, Reed 1, Swan 1.
Assists (league and cup): Oates 4, Quinn 4, Keillor-Dunn 3, Swan 2, Bowery 1, Gale 1, Flint 1, Maris 1, Macdonald 1, Reed 1.
(notes on assists: in the case of a penalty, the player who earns the penalty gets an assist. In the case of a solo goal, such as Maris against Newport at home two seasons ago, nobody gets an assist. In the case of the scorer scoring from the rebound after a shot is saved or blocked, the player who had the shot saved gets an assist. In the case of an own goal, the player who caused the own goal gets an assist, for example McLaughlin against Newport away two seasons ago where his shot was deflected in for an own goal. In the case of a cross that is headed away before the goal is scored, such as Clarke’s goal at Doncaster last season, nobody gets an assist.)
Injuries: Kilgour (ruptured Achilles, return July), Hewitt (ACL, “we're hoping February/March time we might get him back"), Quinn (nicked a ligament in side of knee, “still probably another couple of months away" as at 26Sep), Oates (ruptured ankle ligaments, “still probably another couple of months away" as at 26Sep), McLaughlin (knee, "we're going to take our time with him, we're hopefully looking sometime in November"), O’Toole (ankle, injured in U21 game against Notts Co, out for a week), Johnson (felt his other hamstring after returning from a hamstring injury at Colchester, has a chance for Gillingham game).
Yellow cards (league only, alphabetical order): Boateng 1, Cargill 2, Clarke 1, Gale 1, Johnson 1, Keillor-Dunn 1, Kilgour 1, Lewis 2, Macdonald 2, Maris 1, Quinn 1, Reed 3, Swan 1.
Red cards (league and cup): Macdonald 1.
(note: red cards count across competitions apart from Papa John’s Trophy; yellow cards are competition specific)
(note: 5 yellow cards before the end of the 19th league game will result in a one match ban; 10 yellow cards before the end of the 37th league game will result in a two match ban; 15 yellow cards before the end of the 46th league game will result in a three match ban)
Report by: Martin Shaw
(4-4-2, diamond in midfield)
Pym 9 What a night for Christy Pym, the hero again as he was in Round Two. Pulled off two brilliant saves in the shootout. Two other brilliant saves in 90 minutes. Could have done better for the first goal, Nigel Clough saying afterwards “I think the movement on the ball just deceived Christy Pym and he was a bit disappointed with it at half-time.”
Williams 7 Did well after a tricky opening against Ricky-Jade Jones.
Flint 8 Very solid. Plenty of interceptions, clearances and headers.
Brunt 7 Partially at fault for the second goal. Otherwise played well.
Cargill 7.5 One good header off the line and one good block.
Reed 6.5 Replaced at half time after he had been booked in the first half.
Lewis 7 Good game.
Boateng 6.5 Nearly had his first goal of the season when Gale knocked his on-target deflected effort over the bar.
Maris 6.5 Did ok.
Gale 7 Somehow headed over the bar from a deflected cross-shot from Boateng that was actually going in. A great cross for the disallowed goal.
Swan 7 Brought down in the box and converted the resulting penalty himself, for his first goal of the season, a huge confidence boost for him.
Sub Line Up:
Bowery (for Reed, 46) 7 Some good defending. Converted is penalty
Akins (for Swan, 61) - Converted his penalty in stoppage time, and then the first penalty in the shootout.
Macdonald (for Cargill, 61) - Won the crucial stoppage time penalty.
Clarke (for Maris, 61) - His introduction saw the tide turn as the Stags started to press Peterborough and get a foot in. Had his penalty saved.
Keillor-Dunn (for Williams, 74) - Scored the winning penalty.
Subs not used: Flinders, Cooper, Finn Flanagan, McKeal Abdullah.
Opposition Line Up:
Nicholas Bilokapic, Harrison Burrows (sub Zak Sturge, 89 mins), Ronnie Edwards, Josh Knight, Peter Kioso, Hector Kyprianou, Archie Collins, Ricky-Jade Jones (sub David Ajiboye, 74 mins), Ephron Mason-Clark, Kwame Poku (sub Jadel Katongo, 89 mins), Jonson Clarke-Harris. Subs not used: Fynn Talley, Romoney Crichlow, Ryan De Havilland, Joel Randall, Emmanuel Fernandez, Kai Corbett.
Sebastian Stockbridge 7 Handled the game well.