LOMAS ON STAGS: Cup draw anti-climax, but exciting times lie ahead

Mansfield Town v Guiseley in The Emirates FA Cup Round Two - Sunday December 3rd 2017. Mansfield player Jimmy Spencer scores his third goal of the game . Picture: Chris Etchells
Mansfield Town v Guiseley in The Emirates FA Cup Round Two - Sunday December 3rd 2017. Mansfield player Jimmy Spencer scores his third goal of the game . Picture: Chris Etchells

With so many amazing possibilities in the FA Cup third round hat, drawing Cardiff City away was something of an anti-climax.

It will be nice for Stags fans to see their side in action at the impressive Cardiff Stadium for the first time.

But, that aside, it’s not a tie that will generate the same excitement as a trip to Old Trafford, Anfield or Wembley Stadium.

Everyone wanted a big Premier League side home or away, but it wasn’t to be this time around.

Under Neil Warnock, Cardiff have surprised many by battling their way up the second place in the Championship.

But no one should really be surprised with the wily Warnock already chalking up eight promotions and loving being the underdog.

I saw Cardiff first hand two weeks ago at Forest and they were big, physical, superbly well organised and, on the day, happy to spoil the game and win ugly.

However, at home against League Two opposition, their fans will expect more of a show, and if Stags could even get a replay it will have been earned the hard way against a very good side who have not lost any of their 10 home Championship games so far.

A win at League One Blackpool in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight would be more realistic and offer a better chance of a decent cup run.

But the magic of the FA Cup is its unpredictability.

Paul Cox and Adam Murray must have been thinking that when they returned to Mansfield on Sunday with their struggling Guiseley outfit.

But Stags made short work of them, the visitors’ overly-physical approach costing them dearly with two red cards.

I, like many, was delighted for Jimmy Spencer to grab a hat-trick and show what he is capable of. You don’t play 28 times for a Plymouth side that went up last year without being a very good player.

I still don’t understand why some football fans always have to have a scapegoat they want to bait at every opportunity at their club - and Spencer had been the victim of that since he arrived in the summer.

But he is big and powerful and holds the ball up well to bring others into play.

He can only get match sharp by playing on a regular basis and competition is tough for the strikers’ shirts.

Stags are now 11 games unbeaten, sat in the play-off places and possible tweaks in the January window just 27 days away - anyone starting to feel excited yet?