MANSFIELD Town manager Paul Cox will now mark his birthday on Sunday, 6th January with a home FA Cup clash with Liverpool that he hopes will go down as one of the best days of the club’s history.
Louis Briscoe’s winner saw Stags beat Lincoln City 2-1 in tonight’s second round replay to set up the dream clash with the seven-times winners and Cox said: “It is a great birthday present for me and now I hope the whole town enjoys Christmas and gets ready for one of the biggest games in the club’s history.
“We want to become a part of that history.
“We want to have a right good go at Liverpool and enjoy it at the same time.
“The players, chairman and supporters all deserve this and it is a great time to be at this football club.
“But we don’t want the season to end on 6th January. We have lots of league games to go and want the season to finish with a bang.
“This will be a massive game. The players deserve it as they have been excellent, the supporters deserve it as they have been excellent.”
He added: “I was a bit worried near the end when we had players going forward looking for a third instead of shutting up shop.
“We looked a bit nervous in the first half, but they are only human. The goal steadied us down a bit.
“Then we gave a sloppy goal away which gave Lincoln the impetus in the second half and for the first 20 minutes I thought they were excellent and put us on the back foot.
“I had to put the big man (Matt Rhead) on and I thought he changed the game.
“You should see our players celebrations at the end. It meant the world to them.”
Goal hero Briscoe said: “That was amazing – I can’t even put it into words.
“To do that for your team mates when we’ve all stuck together and to get to the third round – just amazing.
“It was definitely the highlight of my career. I scored a big goal to take us to the Trophy final, but to get to play against Liverpool is something else.”
Skipper John Dempster scored the first goal with a looping header that took an eternity to find the net.
But he smiled: “There is no doubt in my mind that I meant it.
“We work on it in training. It was a great ball from Chris Clements to the back stick and fortunately I managed to get my nugget on it and it went in the right direction.
“I felt we dominated the first half. But Lincoln the put us under some serious pressure which we managed to weather. All credit to them.
“I am a Liverpool fan, though I’ve not taken as much interest since I turned professional.”
He added: “I lost a good friend a couple of weeks ago and he was the first person I thought of when I scored the goal.”
Imps boss David Holdsworth ended his return to his former club on the losing side and said: “I don’t think anyone could argue we deserved a lot more from the game than we’ve got.
“I thought we played extremely well and certainly deserved to take one or two more of our chances. It is a bitter pill for my lads but I am proud of them tonight.
“Mansfield won more first and second balls in the first half-hour. After that there was only one team in it. We were a bit sad that half-time came too soon.
“There was only one team in it in the second half and my boys have acquitted themselves fantastically well in this cup run.
“The supporters were fantastic tonight too. We are down but not too disappointed with how we played.”