A Quarter-Final Carabao Cup Place At Stake As The Unbeaten Stags Face The Struggling Valiants
Two of the lowest-rated sides left in the Carabao Cup go toe-to-toe as Mansfield Town host Port Vale in the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup.
Full of confidence, the Stags will look to reach the Quarter-Finals of the Carabao Cup/League Cup for only the second time in their history.
Meanwhile, the Valiants, if they beat Mansfield Town in the Fourth Round, will achieve their highest finish in the competition with only a solitary Fourth Round appearance before this season.
Stags Set Sight For Unbeaten Game Number 20
Mansfield Town, unbeaten in all competitions so far this season, will set out for a Quarter-Finals place full of confidence.
After cruising past Grimsby Town in Round One, beating Sheffield Wednesday on penalties in Round Two and emerging victorious on penalties once again against Peterborough United in Round Three, the amber and blues will look to beat a third higher league opposition, hopefully without the stress of a penalty shootout.
Since their Third Round win against the Posh back in late September, the Stags have gone from strength to strength, turning draws into wins and keeping some valuable clean sheets.
In their last match, Mansfield Town beat Walsall 2-1 as they made it three wins from three and pushed themselves closer to the automatic promotion places.
Aden Flint gave Stags the lead in the 16th minute as he bundled the ball in following a scrabble in the box.
Early in the second half, ex-Mansfield Town midfielder Ryan Stirk levelled the game up as Tom Knowles found him inside the box and he fired in from close range.
However, Jordan Bowery scored the winner 20 minutes from time as Will Swan’s cutback found Stags’ number nine whose effort crashed off the post and into the net.
Another win and a hard-fought three points saw Nigel Clough’s side solidify their spot in the top seven as they pulled a three-point gap to seventh-placed Accrington Stanley.
With back-to-back games in cup competitions, the Stags have the chance to extend their Carabao Cup run and kickstart their Emirates FA Cup run.
Carabao Cup Welcome Distraction For Valiants
Since Port Vale’s 2-1 victory over Sutton United in the Third Round of the Carabao Cup, things have not gone the way that the Valiants would have wanted.
One point from six games in the league has seen Vale tumble down the table after a positive start to the league campaign that saw them pick up six wins, one draw and only one loss.
In the Carabao Cup, Andy Crosby’s side beat Fleetwood Town 3-2, got past Crewe Alexandra via penalties, and as already mentioned, beat Sutton United 3-2 to reach the Fourth Round of the competition.
Incidentally, all of these ties for the Valiants have been home ties, and with their first away trip in the Carabao Cup, will it be one to remember for the Vale faithful?
In their previous outing ahead of their return to cup football, Port Vale took on Cheltenham Town at home with the Robins rock bottom in EFL League One.
Just after the hour mark, Alfie Devine gave the Valiants a 1-0 lead as they looked to avoid embarrassment against the struggling Robins.
Facing their ex-manager Darrell Clarke who sat in the Cheltenham dugout, the visitors struck level just before half-time as Sean Long fired in the equaliser.
Long scored the goal that put Cheltenham in front in the 66th minute as the Robins held onto a 2-1 win and secured only their second win of the league season.
If the Valiants ever needed to get back to winning ways, a progression to the Quarter-Finals of the Carabao Cup may be something that they need to kickstart their season back up again.
In terms of league status, Mansfield Town are the only unbeaten side left in EFL League Two and sit in a healthy fourth place.
With four wins from their last five competitive matches, the Stags look destined to make it five wins from five with the men in amber and blue on fire.
Scoring 13 goals compared to only conceding five in their last five games, Nigel Clough’s side have found their shooting boots recently and have kept their defence super-tight, showcasing the class and commitment of the squad so far this term.
Port Vale meanwhile have been in stuttering form with their only victory in October coming via a penalty shootout against Newcastle United’s under-21s in the EFL Trophy.
In league action, the Valiants have not won since September 16th when they beat Northampton Town 1-0.
Since then, two draws and six defeats have occurred as the Valiants have fallen down the League One table and will look to use the Carabao Cup Fourth Round game as a chance to get back to winning ways and forget about their torrid league run.
The two sides have faced each other on four occasions in cup competitions with one win for the Stags, two wins for Port Vale and a draw in their first-ever meeting in cup competitions as they drew 1-1 in the First Round of the FA Cup back in November 1985.
Mansfield Town will be seeking vengeance from the 2021/22 League Two Play-Off Finals as the Valiants secured a 3-0 win over the Stags at Wembley that saw them make the jump to League One.
In the 10 league meetings between the two sides, Stags hold the upper hand with four wins compared to Vale’s two with four draws contested.
Since the formation of the new League Two, the Stags and the Valiants have scored a combined total of 39 goals in 13 games in the EFL Trophy, League Two and the Play-Offs, an average of three goals per game.
The raring Stags will be looking to extend their fantastic run in the competition and add to their unbeaten run but it will not be an easy task with the Valiants looking to get back to winning ways following a poor month of October.