A JAKE Speight double earned Mansfield Town a place in the FA Cup first round proper, but the Stags were made to work hard for their victory against gutsy Blue Square Bet North outfit Workington at Borough Park this afternoon.
Speight had Mansfield narrowly ahead against the run of play with a 33rd minute strike in a first half in which the home side hit the woodwork three times and saw Junior Daniel make a goal line clearance.
Mansfield controlled things better after the break and the tie looked sealed when Speight doubled his tally on 67 minutes.
However, keeper Shane Redmond conceded a needless penalty four minutes from time to gift the Reds a lifeline.
And it took a good save from Redmond soon after to prevent a replay in a nervous finish to a good cup tie.
The Stags side showed three changes. Exodus Geohaghon was ruled out with his ankle injury, skipper Adam Murray served a one game suspension, and keeper Liam Mitchell was unavailable as Notts County did not want the loanee cup-tied.
Luke Jones returned from injury to take his place in a three-man defence with Anthony Howell coming into midfield and Redmond back in goal.
Central defender Dempster was handed the captain’s armband for the day.
In the opening minute Vaulks flicked a backheader well wide from a left wing cross by Arnison for the home side.
Taylor then confidently claimed Roberts’ first corner for the visitors and punched clear a second soon after.
Arnison did well on a fifth minute break to check inside and curl a left footed effort on target from 25 yards, though Redmond was always safely behind it.
Roberts tried to send Speight through after Wright had lost the ball but overhit the pass and the ball ran through to Taylor.
Roberts curled a decent free kick in from the right which Jones guided wide with his head in a crowded six yard box.
Roberts made space in the centre of the park on 13 minutes before trying to put Speight away. He appeared to be offside but was allowed to continue and forced Taylor to parry down to his right.
Workington swept straight upfield and Arnison’s square pass picked out Wright whose looping finish clipped the top of the Mansfield crossbar from 20 yards on 14 minutes.
Two minutes later a high Daniel ball into the box was half-cleared to the incoming Howell who sliced a snapshot wide from 15 yards.
On 21 minutes Wright again came close as he held the ball up at the edge of the Stags box and managed to turn and thread a low shot through which beat Redmond but clipped the outside of the post.
The Reds continued to ask the questions as Redmond was forced to punch away a Boyd free kick and Hewson’s follow-up was blocked.
Redmond was then safely there to grab a dipping Arnison from the left.
However, against the run of play, Mansfield took a 33rd minute lead through Speight.
Todd launched the bal long down the centre, Green helped it to Speight, who cut inside to his left before slotting the calmest of finishes under Taylor.
Workington found their luck out again on 43 minutes when they hit the woodwork for a third time. A long ball in from the right from Boyd picked out an unmarked Arnison who guided an unstoppable sidefooted volley past Redmond only to see it cannon off the crossbar.
And there was more danger from the corner as Hewson crashed in a low shot which Daniel blocked right on the goalline to somehow keep Mansfield’s noses in front at the interval.
Roberts sent a 25 yard free kick just wide with the first goal attempt of three second half.
Wright took a tumble in the box on 55 minutes, but the referee saw no shove and played on.
Cowperthwaite did wel to reach the right by-line and then drill a powerful ball cross the centre which McLuckie was inches away from reaching to turn home right in front of goal.
On 61 minutes Stags made their first change with Clements on for Todd.
Two minutes later Cox made a bold double substitution as he took off strike pair Rhead and Green and introduced Hutchinson and Meikle.
Speight was well over with a first time shot from Hutchinson’s lay-back.
But the pair combined soon after to make it 2-0 on 67 minutes. Clements found Hutchinson to his right who laid the ball in for Speight to slot home from 12 yards.
Hewson fired wide from 20 yards on 70 minutes as Workington looked for a way back into the tie. And Arnison was too high a minute later.
With 15 minutes left Hewson managed to fire a low free kick through a poor Mansfield wall. But Redmond saw it all the way as he helped it wide for a corner at the second attempt.
Speight wasn’t far wide with a half-volley on 77 minutes.
A minute later Rowntree’s foul on Meikle saw the first yellow card of the afternoon shown.
Mansfield broke well down the left which ended with Clements curling a disappointing finish wide of the far post from 18 yards.
But Stags could clearly see the finishing post by now with the Reds creating little problem for Redmond.
However, he did have work to do on 82 minutes when sub Mwasile burst into the box to go one on one with the keeper.
Redmond blocked his low finish and, with the keeper on the floor, the lurking Wright couldn’t direct the ball into the empty net.
But Redmond’s clumsy challenge on Wright with four minutes to go gifted Workington a penalty to needlessly bring the game alive once more.
Mwasile threaded a ball into the far post where Wright tried to retrieve from the by-line with back to goal only to be bundles over by a clumsy, needless Redmond challenge and deposited onto the turf,
Arnison made no mistake from the spot, slamming the penalty high to Redmond’s right and it was game on again.
A minute from time the Reds were almost level. Cowperthwaite put the ball in from the right at the far post and found Vaulks with time and space. But he failed to make it count as he allowed Redmond to block his low finish.
The Stags keeper then made two excellent catches in stoppage time as Workington sent the ball long and high in desperation, Mansfield hanging on for their place in the hat.
WORKINGTON: Taylor, Cowperthwaite, Rowntree, May, Bolton, Hewson (Connerton 75), Boyd (Mwasile 66), Vaulks, Wright, Arnison, McLuckie. Subs no used: Brown, Wordsworth, Dixon, Wraighte, Scott.
STAGS: Redmond; Sutton, Dempster, Jones; Todd (Clements 61), Roberts, Howell, Daniel; Speight; Green (Meikle 63), Rhead (Hutchinson 63). Subs not used: Briscoe, Beevers, Stevenson, Wright.
REFEREE: Seb Stocksbridge of Tyne and Wear.