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Match-winner proud of Stags in cup win

5 November 2022

Defender Oli Hawkins declared his pride in Stags’ performance as Mansfield battled hard to beat Barrow 1-0 in the Emirates FA Cup first round.

The ex-Ipswich man’s first-half strike was enough to book Mansfield’s passage into the next round of the competition.

And like in previous visits to Holker Street, Stags had to pull out the stops to emerge victorious.

In a rain-soaked Cumbria, Hawkins dealt the decisive blow when his stabbed effort flew beyond a crowd of bodies and into the net after 39 minutes.

And speaking to iFollow Stags following the game, a beaming Hawkins said:  “Everyone dug in deep to grind out a great result.

“We knew we had to battle hard and win first and second balls, get up the pitch as quick as we can. We know we’re capable of nicking a goal.

“It was never going to be a passing game, especially with the conditions. 

“We knew we had to bide our time. 

“We were able to get a goal from a set piece and battled hard to not let them score.

“We held on well and defended well for 90% of the game.

“We knew once we went 1-0 up that they would put a load of players in the box, kick it forward, get crosses in. We knew we had to stay strong, win first and second balls, and we did that.”

Stags beat Barrow on their own patch for the third time this calendar year. 

And - like the previous two encounters - Hawkins knew it would be a real tug of war this afternoon.

“It’s my type of game; balls in the box, try and head it as much as you can, winning tackles, defending and keeping a clean sheet. Today I loved it.

“It was tough conditions. It was a tough place to come in the FA Cup. We’ve come here before so we know what to expect.”

On his crucial goal before half-time from George Maria’ free-kick, Hawkins said: “I jumped up with a couple of their players. 

“Neither of us got our head on it. I read that it was going to bounce and reacted quickest and was able to kick the ball towards goal as I was falling to the ground, shut my eyes and hoped to hear the net rustle. Luckily it did.”

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