MASSIAH McDonald was Matlock Town’s late, late hero as the Gladiators produced another shock win over 10-man Mansfield Town in tonight’s FA Trophy first round replay at Causeway Lane.
NLP minnows Matlock had won 5-2 at Mansfield in the FA Cup back in 1976 and the 1-1 draw at One Call Stadium on Saturday set them up for this latest famous win on a pitch that survived an afternoon inspection.
Stags completely dominated the first 35 minutes and were 1-0 up through Junior Daniel’s first goal for the club on 21 minutes, though McDonald missed two good chances to level late on.
Stags won 10 corners in that first half. But the contrast with their second half display was astonishing as the Gladiators lived up to their nickname with a second half super show in which they levelled through Lewis McMahon within six minutes.
Fading Mansfield’s task was made harder when recalled Gary Roberts was sent-off for a second yellow card on 77 minutes and the part-timers twice hit the Mansfield woodwork before McDonald delivered the knockout blow two minutes into stoppage time.
The night ended with angry scenes as stewards prevented furious Mansfield fans reaching besieged manager Paul Cox.
It had all began so differently with the Stags going ahead deservedly through Daniel on 21 minutes.
Roe brought down Roberts 25 yards from goal, just right of centre, and Daniel stepped up to arrow an unstoppable free kick low to the left of the rooted keeper.
Matlock had barely been in the contest but should have levelled on 38 minutes. Cotton caught the visitors napping with a low ball down the centre that sent McDonald scampering into the box. But he scooped a hurried finish well over the bar.
Jones headed Mansfield’s ninth corner at Kennedy and was also too high from a Roberts free kick.
Matlock defended Stags’ 10th corner in stoppage time and then broke well, Roberts halting it by felling McMahon to earn a booking.
When Stags failed to clear that free kick three minutes into time added on, the ball reached McDonald six yards in front of goal at the back post, but he somehow fired wide.
The Gladiators came back out full of fire and won an early corner.
And on 51 minutes they were level. McDonald won a tussle on the left by-line to get the ball into the path of McMahon’s run towards the near post where he helped the ball on and, with no one able to halt him, simply poked it inside the post from three yards.
It was an untidy and needless goal to give away and, from being so much on top for the first 35 minutes, Stags were faced with a repeat of the replay scenario at Slough two weeks earlier.
Daniel set up Rhead five minutes later, but he screwed a poor finish well wide.
With 25 minutes to go Green took over from Speight in the Stags’ attack. But it was McDonald who threatened again as, fro a split second, it seemed he may run clear onto a through ball. But Stags got back quickly and Thompson slid in to dispossess him in the box.
However, Roberts brought down McDonald on 77 minutes and the referee booked him for a second time and the midfielder was shown his second red of the campaign.
And the shock was complete when McDonald battled his way goalside of the defenders and managed to get into the box and poke a finish under the dive of Redmond two minutes into stoppage time.
Daniel was just over with a rocket shot in stoppage time as a Stags fan threatened manager Cox leaning over his dug out and had to be dragged away by stewards as Matlock began to celebrate another famous win over the Stags.
MATLOCK: Kennedy, Harcourt, Roe, Cotton, Yates, Lukic, Grayson (Foster 90+4), Ashmore, McDonald, McMahon, Davies. Subs: , Leesley, Dennis, Laight, Buxton.
MANSFIELD: Redmond; Thompson, Geohaghon, Jones, Sutton; Todd, Roberts, Howell, Daniel; Rhead, Speight (Green 65). Subs: Stevenson, Murray, Pilkington, Wright.
REFEREE: Mr C. Ward
SCORELINE: Matlock - McMahon (51 mins), McDonald (90+2mins). Stags - Daniel (21 mins)
ATTENDANCE - 758
Stags man of match: Luke Jones