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LEAVING IT LATE: Middlesbrough edge past Mansfield

LEAVING IT LATE: Middlesbrough edge past Mansfield

PA Nick Potts

League Two Mansfield Town were pipped at the death after a brave fightback in a 3-2 home FA Cup third-round defeat by Middlesbrough.

The visitors were in command with two goals in the first 14 minutes.

But Stags dominated the second half and thought they had forced extra time when Rhys Oates levelled after 85 minutes only to be undone by a John-Joe O’Toole own goal in stoppage time.

Mansfield began on the front foot and Ryan Stirk fired wide of the near post after only two minutes.

But Uche Ikpeazu then gave Boro the perfect start with a brilliant solo goal after four minutes.

Shrugging off the challenges of Stephen McLaughlin and Oli Hawkins, he powered forward and then, coming inside, smashed an unstoppable finish into the top left corner.

Stephen Quinn almost had a quick reply for Stags but was too high from 20 yards.

Instead, Boro made it 2-0 after 14 minutes. A throw-in on the right saw Lee Peltier get to the by-line and pull back a pass for Caolan Boyd-Munce to drill home a low finish from 12 yards on his debut.

But Mansfield finally played themselves into the contest and Middlesbrough keeper Joe Lumley was called into action after 31 minutes as he threw himself full length to his left to keep out a curling 20-yard effort from George Maris.

Boro were still dangerous and a minute later Williams Kokolo’s low cross reached Ikpeazu, whose first time finish from 10 yards was superbly saved by Nathan Bishop in the home net.

Stags emerged for the second half in a determined mood and Peltier had to clear off the line as rhys Oates met a cross at the far post with 53 minutes gone.

Three minutes later Ollie Clarke somehow lifted a close-range finish over from Jordan Bowery’s low cross.

Mansfield twice came close within a minute as Oates missed the target with close-range headers from crosses by McLaughlin and Quinn.

But the goal they had threatened finally came after 67 minutes as Hawkins guided home a header from six yards from Quinn’s fine cross.

Substitute Danny Johnson thought he had levelled the game after 80 minutes when Lumley allowed a low Jason Law shot to evade his grasp and Johnson put away the loose ball only to see an offside flag raised.

But with 85 minutes gone another fine Law pass sent Oates clear and he rounded Lumley to tuck away an equaliser.

Substitute Anfernee Dijksteel should have won it after 87 minutes but, unmarked, lifted over from six yards.

But in the fifth added minute Boro snatched it as Isaiah Jones sped down the right and, sliding in to block, O’Toole could only turn the ball into his own net.


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