Rhys Oates fired Mansfield Town into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup as Stags sensationally beat Sunderland 1-0 at The Stadium of Light.
3The forward netted in the fifth minute after intercepting Lee Burge’s attempted pass.
Mansfield remained resolute at the back to see out the victory as defender John-Joe O’Toole made his first start in amber and blue.
In a masterful performance, Stags resilience and industry paid dividends as Nigel Clough’s side advanced into round two.
The manager made two changes to the side that beat Tranmere Rovers 2-0 at One Call Stadium in league action a week ago.
Having made his debut for the Stags as a substitute in the last game, new boy O’Toole made his first Mansfield start at The Stadium of Light, replacing centre back Farrend Rawson.
Mansfield’s second change to the line-up saw George Lapslie start in place of striker Danny Johnson. Lapslie scored the winning goal for the Stags in a 1-0 FA Cup first round victory away at the same opposition a last year.
Mansfield began in lively fashion as Rhys Oates put Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge under pressure inside two minutes. The stopper was able to edge the ball to his defender as Oates quickly closed down the space in front.
And the front man’s persistence paid off in the sixth minute.
Oates hunted down Burge again and this time intercepted the ‘keeper’s kick out. The forward settled himself before emphatically firing the ball into the back of the net, via the inside of the left post.
Elliott Embleton tested Mansfield ‘keeper Nathan Bishop for the first time on 12 minutes, curling an edge-of-the-box shot into his arms.
Mansfield absorbed Sunderland’s play and aimed to hit on the break for the following 15 minutes.
Returning midfielder Lapslie found space to drive through midfield and play Harry Charsley through on 27 minutes. Charsley’s driven shot from the right side narrowly evaded the bottom left corner for a goal kick.
At the other end, Leon Dajaku turned McLaughlin on 42 minutes before his cross was headed towards goal by Nathan Broadhead inside the box.
Stags’ number one Bishop reacted well to make an excellent reaction save.
A minute later, Lapslie’s shot inside the box was deflected over the crossbar. Quinn’s subsequent corner-kick was then nodded onto the upright by Oli Hawkins.
Sunderland manager Lee Johnson made four changes for the Black Cats at half-time.
Rhys Oates, continuing from where he left in the first half, found space to drive beyond the Sunderland defence after half-time. That was before the goal scorer was taken to the ground by Bailey Wright who stunted the attack and received a yellow card.
Despite Sunderland’s superior possession, Mansfield continued to thwart and attack. Charsley found space on the right inside 59 minutes to tee up Stephen Quinn, whose first-time strike went over the bar by inches.
Oates was replaced by fellow striker Jordan Bowery in the 63rd minute.
As the hosts searched for a leveller, the ball sat up nicely inside the box for Sunderland captain Corey Evans who struck the ball first time. But Stags’ defender Elliott Hewitt recovered well to make a goal-saving block and deny the hosts in the 80th minute.
Sunderland’s Dan Neil found himself with the ball inside the box on 92 minutes. The forward’s half-volley rocked the Mansfield crossbar before escaping the box to safety.
Despite piling on the pressure late on, Sunderland were unable to find a way through Mansfield’s resilient defence as the Stags booked a place in the FA Cup second round following an excellent performance.
STAGS XI: Bishop, Hewitt, O’Toole, Hawkins, McLaughlin, Charsley (Forrester 90+4’), O. Clarke, Maris, Quinn, Lapslie (Sinclair 85’), Oates (Bowery 63’).
UNUSED SUBS: Shelvey, Johnson, Burke, Ward, J. Clarke, Law.
SUNDERLAND XI: Burge, Flanagan (Doyle 46’), Evans, Alves (Winchester 46’), Dajaku (Pritchard 46’), Embleton, Broadhead, O’Brien (Gooch 46’), Cirkin (O’Nien 71’), Neil, Wright.
UNUSED SUBS: Hoffman, Taylor, Younger, Harris.