Goal hero Parker dreaming of a Wembley return

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KEIGAN Parker, who once scored a stunning goal for Blackpool in a Wembley play-off final, kept Stags on course for a trip to English football’s spiritual home with the winner in last night’s 2-1 FA Trophy replay at Alfreton Town.

That booked a quarter-final at Evo-Stick Premier club Chasetown and Parker said: “We have an opportunity to get to Wembley and this is as good a chance some of the boys are going to get.

“The manager said he has been before and I have been there with Blackpool and know what a special day out it is.

“We let ourselves down in the first half. You have to give Alfreton respect but we were giving them too much time on the ball.

“In the second half we started to concentrate on our own game and got the rewards.

“Hopefully we won’t meet Luton until the final then we will take our chances.

“You never know what is going to happen in your career and if we can get through the next few games it could be a very good end to the season for us.

“I know my goal took a deflection, but I don’t care if they go in off your backside – I’d take 20 of them a season.”

Stags’ other goalscorer was Paul Connor who said: “We knew it was going to be a tough game tonight and we never really got going in the first half.

“We got a rollicking at half-time but then came out and showed them what we can do. That’s how we should have started.

“The formation they played first half made it difficult for us as they were stopping the ball getting to the strikers’ feet and Darren Stride did well for them.

“I was pleased to score an important goal, but I should have had a couple more and it will probably be left footed finishing practice for me on Thursday!

“I don’t know much about Chasetown but they beat Grimsby down there in an earlier round. But if we play like we did in the second half tonight we can get something down there.

“I went to Wembley with Stoke but only sat on the bench and then went up for my medal at the end. I didn’t get on the pitch.”

Stags manager Duncan Russell said: “There was a lot said at half-time. We were not right in the first half and that wasn’t us at all. Before the game I said the only hurdle was Alfreton. By half-time I told them the only hurdle was us.

“I told them a few home truths and ended up almost losing my voice. I told them we were not going out of this competition without a fight and I wanted a response which I got.”

Tongue-in-cheek, Russell added: “Obviously it was a master stroke bringing on Keigan Parker who scored the winning goal!

“I thought we were the better side in the second half without a doubt.

“Now we can think about Chasetown, but it is still on a backburner as we need to prepare properly for Saturday’s game with Newport.”