Thomas and Thomson on score-sheet in H-K-L North Midlands League Cup win.
Goals by Luke Thomas and Rory Thomson inspired our development squad to a 2-0 victory over Southwell City in the H-K-L North Midlands League Cup quarter-finals.
The Stags dictated play for long periods but were made to wait until midway through the second half for the opening goal, which came when Thomas fired home from a tight angle following a great ball over the top by Levi Walker.
Southwell squandered a golden chance to equalise straight from the re-start, whilst debutant Tom Slade also went close, before Thomson’s curling effort from wide out on the left flank sealed the Stags’ progress into the last four.
Mansfield got proceedings underway on a bitterly cold night at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium in Clipstone, but despite dominating in key areas of the field, they struggled in their quest to find an opening goal.
Liam Groves and Thomson had already whistled shots high over the frame of the visiting ‘keepers goal, before the latter went agonisingly close to an opener when his venomous back-post volley from a long cross was somehow saved.
The Stags suffered a setback just after the midway point in the first half, when Groves, who had been instrumental in most things going forward, picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Slade.
The substitution resulted in a change of formation for the hosts, with the 16-year-old slotting in just behind the hosts’ attack.
Although Mansfield continued to dominate, they remained frustrated in their efforts for an opener – none more so than in injury-time at the end of the first 45 minutes, when Elliot Holmes got his head on the end of a teasing corner by Thomson, but the ‘keeper was equal to the effort.
Southwell came out of the traps the brighter in the early stages of the second half and they almost established a lead against the run of play on 48 minutes, when a scruffy shot from the edge of the area caught a wild deflection and a back-peddling Frazer Hampson had to watch the ball closely in order to make a crucial save.
The Stags replied with a chance of their own at the other end within a few minutes – Holmes again latching onto a set-piece delivery by Thomson, but this time his header lacked accuracy and didn’t trouble the ‘keeper.
As time passed, Mansfield began to step up the pressure and an opener looked likely when Thomas raced clean through following a clever midfield pass by Thomson, but the striker saw his powerful low effort ricochet back off the outside of the woodwork.
Nevertheless, Thomas took full opportunity of the next chance that he was presented with.
With just under a quarter of the match remaining, the 18-year-old latched onto a great ball down the channel by Thomas and worked his way goalwards, before finding the net, via the post, from an extremely tight angle.
Mansfield were extremely worthy of the advantage they had opened up, but within seconds of the re-start, all their hard work and endeavour was almost undone as they switched off and only an instinctive reaction stop by the commanding Hampson prevented the visitors from getting back on level terms.
Southwell’s big opportunity acted as a wake up call for the Stags, who once again began to start dominating matters like they had been for the majority of the match, as well as creating chances to score.
Slade squandered a great opportunity to cap off a very good debut when Thomas’ squared ball found him around eight yards out, but the midfielder took a touch and was only able to warm the gloves of the Southwell ‘keeper with his subsequent effort.
The miss wasn’t to matter too much though as just over a minute later, Thomson made the game safe when his corner was cleared back to him wide out on the left flank, where he took a touch and then let fly with a curling right foot effort which beat the ‘keeper at his near-post.
With Southwell tiring, the hosts remained in charge and Jack Hutchinson nearly added a third goal when he charged through and saw a powerful shot spilled by the ‘keeper, who somehow then managed to pluck the ball on his goal-line with Slade bearing down for what would have been a simple tap in.
Walker went close to scoring when he beat three players and accelerated towards the danger zone, but drifting away from goal, the full-back eventually tried his luck with a left-foot strike which didn’t test the ‘keeper.
Deep into stoppage-time, Thomson, who had orchestrated things from midfield for most of the night, saw a curling free-kick come back off the woodwork after Hutchinson had been tripped just a couple of feet outside the area.
The referee sounded his whistle just seconds later as the Stags ran out worthy winners and booked their place in the last four.