Mansfield Town advanced into the third round of the Carabao Cup as Nigel Clough’s side knocked out Sheffield Wednesday on penalties at Hillsborough.
Stags produced a heroic second-half display to send the game into spot-kicks as Rhys Oates scored a fantastic leveller five minutes from the end of the contest to send the game into spot-kicks.
Wednesday had led in the first-half but Mansfield produced one of the shocks of the round by turning up the heat on their Championship opponents in the final 45.
And it was goalkeeper Christy Pym, who had made a string of top saves in normal time, who was the ultimate hero as he pushed away Liam Palmer’s spot kick as the shootout headed to sudden death.
Stags’ boss Nigel Clough made three changes from Saturday’s starting line-up as Mansfield beat Stockport 3-2 in a pulsating League Two encounter at One Call Stadium.
Lewis Brunt – the 22-year-old centre-half on loan from Leicester – was handed his full debut. Club captain Ollie Clarke and forward Will Swan also started.
Stags’ captain Aden Flint almost allowed his former club an opening in the fifth minute when he was unable to clear his lines. But Ashley Fletcher couldn’t make the most of the opportunity and blasted his shot over the bar from the left of the box.
There was an even better chance for Wednesday less than a minute later, although Tyreeq Bakinson headed straight at Stags’ goalkeeper Christy Pym following a cross from the right.
Wednesday continued to probe and Josh Windass’ saw his long-range effort directed down the throat of Pym while Pol Valenton skied over on the right of the box.
On 18 minutes, Calum Macdonald and Aden Flint flung themselves in front of two successive shots as Wednesday pushed for an opener.
Fletcher again tried his luck from 20 yards but Pym was well behind it. Then on 23 minutes, Owls’ skipper Barry Bannan lashed a left-footed shot well over from the same distance.
At the other end, Clarke won the ball superbly midway inside the home half to release Macdonald. And after his cross was cleared inside the box, Swan was unable to find a red Stags’ shirt with a floated delivery from 20 yards.
Stags were finally undone after 28 minutes.
The hosts sent a hanging cross from the right flank and Callum Paterson headed across the goal area to Anthony Musaba, who did the rest by nodding home from five yards.
Stags almost replied immediately following a deep free-kick and as Flint headed to Akins inside the box, the forward directed his header into the palms of Cameron Dawson
Mansfield enjoyed a mini spell of pressure, and on 32 minutes, Davis Keillor-Dunn curled over the angle from 20 yards.
Reed was next to have a crack from a similar distance, but dragged his low shot wide of goal.
And it was Reed who gave the ball away which almost led to Wednesday’s second goal in first-half stoppage time.
Pol Valentin advanced to find Josh Windass through the middle who aimed a bullet-like shot against the bar from 25 yards.
Pym kept out Wednesday with a terrific stop on his goal line. From a drifted corner, a stooping Michael Ihiekwe headed goalwards, denied only by the fingertips of Pym .
A minute later, Pym again kept the hosts at bay as he pushed away Windass’ rasping effort from 20 yards.
Stags upped the ante, with a clear intent on attacking, and Flint almost restored parity following a corner.
Keillor-Dunn delivered short for Bowery, whose cross was only cleared to Flint. And the ex-Wednesday man chested the ball before seeing his shot deflected behind for another flag-kick.
Stags maintained impressive pressure on the home goal and Bowery came close when he evaded Bannan’s challenge to rifle narrowly over from 20 yards.
Nigel Clough made his first change of the night on 62 minutes when Lucas Akins was replaced by Rhys Oates.
Oates spurned a great opportunity when he was fed by Keillor-Dunn through the middle. And after peeling away from the last man to break into the box, the forward curled a low effort round the post. The miss, though, ultimately mattered little as the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.
With13 minutes remaining, Reed clipped in for Swan to head into the gloves of Dawson and at the other end, Pym made a superb point-blank save to deny Delgado who ghosted in at the back post to head goalwards.
Stags finally got their reward following heavy pressure with five minutes to spare.
In a move which started from defence, into midfield, and then to the left touchline, Oates picked it up on the left flank before cutting infield to evade one challenge and skip by another before bursting forward to brilliantly rifle low into the bottom right hand corner from 20 yards.
In stoppage time, Vaulks skewed a 25-yard effort off target in Wednesday’s penultimate chance to restore an advantage.
Seconds before the final whistle, Wednesday saw a headed effort fly wide from a left channel free kick.
As the drama inside Hillsborough mounted, Bowery lashed the first spot kick right-footed into the top left hand corner.
Michael Smith then stepped up to send Pym the wrong way for Wednesday.
Maris beat Dawson with a right-footed effort into the left corner.
Windass made it 2-2 as he stroked it down the middle for the hosts.
Keillor-Dunn then cracked a wonderful penalty into the top corner.
Barry Bannan delivered low into the inside right post to make it 3-3.
Swan then saw his shot saved as Dawson pushed away at mid-height to his left.
But Pym was equal to Vaulks’ penalty as he expertly denied Wednesday.
Oates then buried his take into the bottom left corner to pile the pressure on Lee Gregory.
But the ex-Mansfield man made no mistake with a rasping finish into the roof of the net.
Into sudden death, Flint sent Dawson the other way with a cool finish.
And Pym was the hero when he guessed the right way to deny Palmer, sprawling to his left to send Stags through.
WEDNESDAY: Dawson, Valentin (Vaulks 81), Iorfa, Ihiekwe, Famewo, Paterson (Delgado 65), Bannan, Bakinson (Palmer 81), Musaba (Smith 71), Windass, Fletcher (Gregory 71)
UNUSED SUBS: Vasquez, James, Bernard, Gassama
STAGS: Pym, Bowery, Brunt, Flint, Macdonald, Reed, Maris, Clarke, Keillor-Dunn, Swan, Akins (Oates 62)
UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Turner, Cooper, Williams, Wauchope, Carter, Kruszynski, Abdullah
REFEREE: Sunny Singh Gill
ATTENDANCE: 10,724 (Stags’ away following TBC)