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5th November 2023 22:03

Carabao Cup (English Football League Cup) - Round 4
Mansfield Town 0 - 1 Port Vale
Devine 50.
Attendance: 7,432 (1644 from Port Vale)

Date: 31 October 2023

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 by Port Vale at the One Call Stadium last night to exit the Carabao Cup at the 4th round stage, and miss out on a place in the quarter-finals. It was only the second time the Stags had reached the 4th round of the League Cup in the club’s history, the first time being in 1975, when they beat Wolves and then lost to Manchester City in the quarter-finals at Maine Road.

The defeat also ended Mansfield’s unbeaten start in league and cup this season, which lasted 19 games, and they were until last night the only EFL or Premier League club to be unbeaten this season in all competitions. That was in itself a magnificent achievement to get to the 31st October unbeaten.

It also meant that Mansfield didn’t beat the club record league and cup games unbeaten in all competitions, which was 20, set in 1976, and which was equalled on Saturday against Walsall (including the last game of last season).

Nigel Clough was disappointed with that, as he was very keen to beat it, not just equal it.

The Stags will still have the chance to beat the club record unbeaten in the league over the coming weeks.

Port Vale were the better side and deserved to go through. The Stags were below par, and caused some of their own problems on the night. Vale played very well and confidently, belying their recent league form of 6 defeats and 2 draws in 8 games in League One. Alfie Devine and Ollie Arblaster, both 19 and on loan from the Premier League, were both excellent, as was Tom Sang, Funso Ojo, and Uche Ikpeazu.

The Stags midfield was below the standards it has set itself this season, while up front Mansfield missed Lucas Akins hugely. Akins was injured on Saturday against Walsall and Nigel Clough said that he will miss the Wrexham and Salford games, but hopefully no more than that. Akins is a big miss. The good news is that Oates is coming back from injury. He came on for the last half hour against Vale, and will probably come on against Wrexham in the FA Cup on Saturday. He is lined up to start next Tuesday in the EFL Trophy against Everton U21. McLaughlin also came on as a late sub and is also lined up to start next Tuesday in the EFL Trophy against Everton U21. Flint and Brunt were probably Mansfield’s best players on the night. Flint was the sponsors’ man of the match. He said in interview that it should have been Brunt.

Alfie Devine scored the only goal of the game, after 50 minutes. He ran from inside his own half and fired into the bottom right corner of the net from 28 yards. The shot went over Pym’s left hand and maybe the Stags keeper could have done better. Nigel Clough said he was a bit disappointed by the way it went in.

Vale had the best chances of the night. After 22 minutes, Sang crossed from the right and Ablaster volleyed against the left post.

Mansfield’s best chance of the first half came after 31 minutes when Reed crossed from the right, Keillor-Dunn acrobatically volleyed goalwards and keeper Ripley made a brilliant save to turn it over the bar.

In the second half, Pym turned a shot from James Plant wide at his near post on 61 minutes, after Ikpeazu’s cross had hit the top of the bar, and from the resulting corner Jesse Debrah headed straight at Pym.

The closest Mansfield came was when Oates ran at goal after 69 minutes but just overran it slightly giving keeper Ripley chance to come out and save Oates’s shot from close range.

The Stags threw Flint up front for the last 7 minutes plus stoppage time, but couldn’t create good chances to equalise with Gale wasting three good positions in stoppage time.

So Port Vale went through and deservedly so. Mansfield had wanted to get one over Vale, feeling that they owed them one for the defeat at Wembley in the play-off final. But it wasn’t to be, and Vale fans taunted the Stags fans after the game, including “Unbeaten run, you’re having a laugh”.

The officiating was diabolical (more in the detailed report to follow), but that can’t be and isn’t used as an excuse for the defeat.

On to the next game, at home to Wrexham in the FA Cup on Saturday night (7.45 pm). There is no live streaming of FA Cup games on iFollow, though we will have full match commentary as always. The game is live on S4C TV (Sky channel 134, Virgin media channel 164, also on BBC iPlayer, with a choice of Welsh or English commentary), and on overseas TV. The Stags receive an amount between £35k and £50k for the TV coverage (my estimate, this has not been announced).



Mansfield Town 0-1 Port Vale: Alfie Devine winner sends Valiants into first-ever Carabao Cup quarter-final
Devine (50'minutes)


Port Vale reached the Carabao Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history by beating Mansfield.

On-loan Tottenham striker Alfie Devine's fine solo goal ensured the League One side edged past their League Two hosts.

The defeat ended the Stags' 20-match unbeaten run, which dated back to the end of last season.

By contrast, Vale had taken two points from their last eight league games, scoring just four goals in that run.

Vale's only previous visit to round four led to a defeat away at Tottenham Hotspur in extra time in 2006, while Mansfield did make the last eight of the League Cup in 1975 but lost 4-2 at Manchester City.

The visitors' Ollie Arblaster had a long-range drive saved by Stags keeper Christy Pym early on before Davis Keillor-Dunn was thwarted by a timely block from Jesse Debrah as he bore down on Connor Ripley's goal at the other end.

The Valiants came close on 14 minutes when Arblaster found Tom Sang who whipped in a cross from the right, but Funso Ojo could not keep his header down at the far post.

Arblaster came even closer when he thudded the outside of the post from close range after another dangerous Sang cross from the flank.

Ripley superbly saved an instinctive Keillor-Dunn volley from Louis Reed's centre but Vale came close again when Uche Ikpeazu spun his man and crossed for Ben Garrity who was crowded out at the crucial moment.

The decisive moment arrived five minutes after the turnaround when 19-year-old Devine pounced on a loose ball in midfield and drove through before firing in a shot from well outside the box,which skidded off the surface and beat Pym into the bottom corner.

Pym produced a fine stop to deny James Plant a Vale second on the hour after some neat approach play from the visitors while Ripley saved well to deny Mansfield sub Rhys Oates a leveller late on.

Match Stats
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Port Vale
Possession Home 51% Away 49%
Shots Home 8 Away 17
Shots on Target Home 1 Away 7
Corners Home 5 Away 13
Fouls Home 12 Away 7


Port Vale halt Mansfield Town’s magnificent unbeaten run in the Halloween fog
CHAD.CO.UK, By John Lomas, Tues 31 Oct 2023

Mansfield Town's proud 19 game unbeaten start to the season finally came to a grinding Halloween halt as they were beaten 1-0 by League One visitors Port Vale in the Carabao Cup fourth round at a foggy One Call Stadium tonight.

Alfie Devine's strike early in the second half proved enough for Vale to make the last eight of the competition and deny Stags revenge for Vale's Wembley play-off final win of two seasons back.

Stags had already knocked out Championship and League One opposition in earlier rounds, but Vale, despite poor recent league form, were the better side and deserved winners with Mansfield rarely threatening the Vale goal.

Stags had only ever reached this stage once before in 1975 and knew a Premier League big gun was likely to be the prize. But it simply wasn't to be.


Vale dominated the first half and Oliver Arblaster came closest when he hit a post while Christy Pym saved well from Tom Sang.

But Stags almost stole the lead from a Davis Keillor-Dunn volley that keeper Connor Ripley was able to block.

Vale finally broke through five minutes into the second half through a powerful low Alfie Devine shot and protected their goal perfectly afterwards.

Mansfield now prepare for another huge tie when Wrexham visit on Saturday night in the FA Cup first round.

Sadly for Stags, striker Lucas Akins was not fit enough to play as he recovers from a bang to the head at the weekend. But his absence offered a start for Will Swan against a club where he had a loan spell.

That was the only change from the weekend.

Vale made four changes to the side that lost 2-1 at home to Cheltenham on Saturday, a result that extended their poor recent run to five defeats and a draw in their last six League One outings.

The sides emerged into gathering mist on a cool, damp evening.

From kick off Clarke won a header for Stags but landed heavily on his back and needed a moment to recover.

Stags tore upfield and Swan got to the right by-line but overhit his cross.

Vale responded with some pressure of their own and three early corners.

On 10 minutes Pym was comfortably behind a low 20 yard shot from Arblaster after a neat turn.

Two minutes later Maris won a tackle, beat two opponents to set up Keillor-Dunn on the break, but Debrah stepped in with a fine block.

That forced the first of two home corners as the fog became heavier by the minute.

But Vale were close again on 14 minutes as Sang crossed from the right and Ojo should have hit the target with his seven yard header but sent it over.

A poor touch by Ojo almost let in Keillor-Dunn, Ripley racing out his box to head clear.

On 19 minutes Macdonald gave the ball away on the edge of his own box, Pym getting him off the hook with a good parry on Sang's powerful near post attempt.

Vale were even closer on 22 minutes. Garrity found Sang to his right and his cross was turned first time against the left post by Sheffield United loanee Arblaster.

Devine had a curling shot headed away for another Vale corner as the visitors continued to edge the evening.

Garrity went on a menacing run after a loose header by Bowery, but his final shot was poor.

Stags finally tested Ripley on 31 minutes as Keillor-Dunn met Reed's cross from the right with a searing volley from six yards but it was too straight and Ripley was able to block.

Vale forced two more corners amid more pressure and powerhouse striker Ikpeazu fired over the near angle on 42 minutes as the home side struggled to gain or keep possession.

But the sides went in all square with all to play for and the menacing fog thankfully receding a little.

However, Vale were ahead within five minutes of the restart with a superb strike by Devine.

Picking up a loose Reed block midway in the Stags half he ran forwards and picked out the bottom right corner with a firm, low finish from 25 yards.

Desperate for a way back in, Stags made a triple change just before the hour mark as Clarke, Swan and Maris made way for Boateng, Oates - a welcome sight after his injury - and Gale.

On 61 minutes an Ikpeazu cross bounced off the the top of the bar, then Pym saved well from Plant for a corner from which Ikpeazu headed over.

Oates got in a shot on the turn from Flint's cross that struck Gale and bounced wide but with a bit more luck could have gone in.

Smith saw the night's first booking for his foul on Lewis on 66 minutes.

Gale put Oates away on 69 minutes but Ripley as able to block with his knees from close range.

A contentious offside decision provoked home anger and Flint was booked for dissent on 70 minutes.

Vale forced two more corners as they looked for the killer second goal and Arblaster produced another spectacular turn before seeing his shot cannon off a defender for a corner.

McLaughlin also returned from a long term injury to replace Macdonald for the last seven minutes.

Vale sub Thomas was booked for delaying the game when the ball ran out near him as he warmed up on 87 minutes.

Cargill replaced Reed and Flint was thrown up front as we reached eight added minutes.

STAGS: Pym, Bowery, Flint, Brunt, Macdonald (McLaughlin 83), Reed (Cargill 90), Lewis, Clarke (Boateng 58), Maris (Gale 58), Keillor-Dunn, Swan (Oates 58). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Williams, Johnson, Cooper.

PORT VALE: Ripley, Sang, Smith, Garrity, Devine, Ikpeazu (Loft 62), Ojo, Lowe, Arbaster, Plant, Debrah (90+1). SUBS NOT USED: Leutwiler, Massey, Conlon, Shorrock, Walters, Dipepa, Thomas.

REFEREE: Thomas Bramall.

ATTENDANCE: 7,432 (1,644 away).


Match Report - Mansfield Town 0-1 Port Vale
port-vale.co.uk, by Adam Swindells

The Valiants shatter Mansfield's unbeaten run as Alfie Devine sends us through to our first ever Carabao Cup Quarter Final.


The Valiants started the stronger, controlling possession of the ball in the early stages. Ollie Arblaster had the first chance of the game on ten minutes. He cut through the Stags defence and had an opening on the left just outside the area for a shot. However, his effort was easy for Christy Pym to claim.

We came close four minutes later through Funso Ojo. Tom Sang looked threatening on the right wing and produced a fine cross into the middle to find Ojo but his header was just too high.

Sang tried for the opener himself on 19 minutes as he drove in on goal from the right wing but his close range effort was well saved by Pym.

Vale were dominating the play and it was all coming from Tom Sang on the right. Another beautiful ball in was met by Arblaster but his volley crashed off the far post and fell behind for a Mansfield goal kick.

The hosts had their first chance just after the half hour mark when Davis Keillor-Dunn met a cross and hit the ball sweetly on the volley but Connor Ripley reacted quickly to the effort and parried it away from danger.

The Valiants, despite that opportunity for Mansfield, continued to control the game and had another chance, this time through Uche Ikpeazu. His strength was too much for the host’s defence to handle but as he shot our number 12 lost his balance and saw his strike go over the bar as the first half came to an end.

But just five minutes into the second half we took a much deserved lead through Alfie Devine who made it two goals in two games for himself. He picked the ball up and turned Louis Reed as he sprinted towards goal. A beautiful strike from outside the area was too much for Pym as it sneaked into the bottom corner.

On the hour mark the Valiants almost made it two with James Plant causing the Mansfield defence all sorts of problems. He turned his man on the left and tried to put the ball past Pym at his near post but the Stags keeper managed to get a hand to it to parry it away for a corner.

Nine minutes later, substitute Rhys Oates broke in on goal with only Nathan Smith to beat. But the striker’s touch took him too far wide enabling Ripley and Smith to deal with the threat.

There were eight minutes added on but the Valiants defended superbly limiting the Stags to no clear chances as we progressed into the Quarter Finals for the first time in our history.

Mansfield Town - Christy Pym, Ollie Clarke (59’ Rhys Oates), Jordan Bowery, George Maris (59’ James Gale), Calum Macdonald (83’ Stephen McLaughlin), Aden Flint, Aaron Lewis, Lewis Brunt, Louis Reed (90’ Baily Cargill), Will Swan (59’ Hiram Boateng), Davis Keillor-Dunn

Unused Subs - Scott Flinders, Callum Johnson, George Cooper, George Williams

Port Vale - Connor Ripley, Tom Sang, Nathan Smith, Ben Garrity, Alfie Devine, Uche Ikpeazu (63’ Ryan Loft), Funso Ojo, Jason Lowe, Ollie Arblaster, James Plant, Jesse Debrah (90+1’ Lewis Cass)

Unused Subs - Jayson Leutwiler, Gavin Massey, Tom Conlon, Jack Shorrock, Rhys Walters, Baylee Dipepa, Josh Thomas


Mansfield 0-1 Port Vale: Spurs loanee Alfie Devine nets second-half winner to send visitors into Carabao Cup quarter-finals for first time and end dream run of League Two high-flyers

Mansfield saw their remarkable unbeaten start to the season ended
Nigel Clough’s team had gone 19 matches undefeated in all competitions
Alfie Devine’s eye-catching solo goal fired Vale into Carabao Cup quarter-finals


Port Vale rewrote their club history as Alfie Devine’s eye-catching solo goal fired them into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

The last time the Valiants made the fourth round stage, they lost to Tottenham Hotspur in 2006-07. This time, it was a Spurs loanee in 19-year-old Devine who put them in the final eight.

The teenager’s goal came early in the second-half and was a reflection of the League One club’s dominance as Mansfield - from a division below - saw their remarkable unbeaten start to the season ended.

Nigel Clough’s team had gone 19 matches undefeated in all competitions - the sequence extending to 20 if you count the final game of last season - but this proved one too many.

Vale will now hope to draw one of the big boys in the quarter-finals as they successfully navigated a tricky assignment at foggy Field Mill.

Vale are 16th in the League One table and hardly setting the division alight but they still looked far superior to Mansfield for much of the contest.

It didn’t take long for the travelling Vale fans to bring up painful memories for the locals of the 2022 League Two play-off final, when they beat Mansfield 3-0. ‘We saw you crying at Wembley,’ was one early chant.

But of more immediate concern to everyone inside the stadium was the thick fog which came and went throughout the evening, at times making it tricky to see the opposite side of the pitch.

Vale piled on the pressure from the outset, with Tom Sang finding plenty of joy down the right wing. He was involved in the lead-up to Vale’s first decent chance, an Oliver Arblaster strike that had to be saved by Mansfield keeper Christy Pym.

A clearer chance followed for Funso Ojo, who met Sang’s inviting cross with a header that cleared the crossbar.

Pym was being kept on his toe and he parried a Sang shot away before Arblaster came even closer, hitting the outside of the post after another raid down the right side.

Mansfield tried to counter and they did fashion a very good opportunity just after the half-hour.

Louis Reed crossed from the right and Davis Keillor-Dunn couldn’t have met it any sweeter on the volley. Unfortunately, it was directly at Vale stopper Connor Ripley, who beat it out.

The physical strength of Vale’s Uche Ikpeazu was a problem for the home defence with one of his crosses scrambled away before he fired high and wide when offered a sight of goal.

But Vale’s superiority finally told five minutes into the second-half. Devine picked up the ball, turned past Louis Reed and found space to attack as Mansfield’s defenders backed off him.

Port Vale successfully navigated a tricky assignment at foggy Field Mill on Tuesday night

Devine looked up and sensed his opportunity from 25 yards, placing his shot into the bottom corner to spark delirium in the away end behind the goal.

Seeking something to spark Mansfield into life, Clough turned to his bench just shy of the hour mark with a triple change.

But Vale continued to pour forward with Ikpeazu again holding off his marker before clipping the crossbar. James Plant picked the ball up and drilled in a low near-post shot that Pym turned aside.

Mansfield need to go for broke and substitute Rhys Oates charged through only for Ripley to smother his shot as their Wembley dreams vanished in the mist.

Mansfield Town (4-3-1-2): Pym; Bowery, Flint (c), Brunt, MacDonald (McLaughlin 83); Lewis, Maris (Gale 59), Reed (Cargill 89); Clarke (Boateng 59); Keillor-Dunn, Swan (Oates 59)

Substitutes not used: Flinders (GK); Johnson, Cooper, Williams

Manager: Nigel Clough

Booked: Flint

Port Vale (3-4-2-1): Ripley; Lowe, Debrah (Cass 90+1), Smith (c); Sang, Ojo, Arblaster, Garrity; Devine, Plant; Ikpeazu (Loft 63)

Substitutes not used: Leutwiler (GK); Massey, Conlon, Shorrock, Walter, Dipepa, Thomas

Manager: Andy Crosby

Scorer: Devine 50

Booked: Smith, Thomas (off-field)

Referee: Thomas Bramall

Attendance: 7,432 (1,644 away)