Mansfield Town’s 13-year wait to reach the third round of the EFL Cup went on after a battling 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion tonight.
Veteran Neal Bishop’s bullet strike cancelled out Jon Leko’s first Baggies’ goal before Kyle Edwards sealed victory in the first game between the two clubs in 25 years.
Manager David Flitcroft made two changes to the side which were held to their fourth successive league draw on Saturday.
Youngster Lewis Gibbens and Alex MacDonald were named on the bench, with Will Atkinson and Calum Butcher coming in to the side at the Hawthorns.
Defender Hayden White missed out once again with a tight hamstring.
The spirited Stags were forced to bide their time as their Championship hosts dominated the ball.
Shot stopper Bobby Olejnik pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the valiant visitors in the game.
Flitcroft’s men had early chances to make their mark on the cup tie, with CJ Hamilton teeing up Craig Davies and Otis Khan - who both put efforts wide.
Down the other end Ollie Burke, who joined the Baggies for £15 million last summer, fired wide from an acute angle.
But Baggies’ Burke did wonderfully to leave Leko an easy tap in after 26 minutes.
Minutes later Bobby Olejnik kept it at just the one with a superb one-on-one stop to deny Burke.
After the break striker Kyle Edwards, who was booked for diving in the first half, timed his run to perfection before being thwarted by Olejnik.
Just before the hour Olejnik was alert to race off his line and keep Leko’s chipped effort out as he dived at his feet.
A minute after coming on Danny Rose almost changed the game by thundering a strike against the post after cutting inside to give himself space.
Bishop made no mistake as he sweetly struck the first Stags’ goal against Albion.
But hopes of a first third round tie since 2005 were dashed 15 minutes from time when Edwards smashed into the top corner.
The Stags huffed and puffed at the end but couldn’t quite send the game to penalties.
WEST BROM: Myhill, Mears, Adarabioyo, Dawson (Howkins, 72), Field, Townsend, Leko (Gayle, 77), Barry, Harper, Burke, Edwards (Barnes, 77). Unused subs: Bond, Rogers, Livermore, Brunt.
STAGS: Olejnik, Sweeney, Pearce, Benning (Graham, 85), Atkinson, Bishop, Butcher (MacDonald, 53), Hamilton, Khan, Davies (Rose, 64), Walker. Unused subs: Logan, Gibbens, Mellis, Sterling-James.
REFEREE: Steve Martin of Staffordshire.