Steve Evans said Mansfield Town supporters had every reason to start dreaming of a Wembley final as Mansfield Town booked their place in the Checkatrade Trophy quarter-finals tonight.
Two late Pat Hoban goals saw off struggling League One opponents Oldham Athletic at the One Call as Stags chalked up a third clean sheet in a row just four days before the big local derby at Notts County.
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The Stags are now in the hat for Thursday’s draw alongside Wycombe, Swansea City Academy, Yeovil, Cheltenham, Coventry, Luton and Oxford and Evans said: “Any team can win it and football fans should always be allowed to dream.
“Any supporter in the country should be entitled to dream what your team can achieve – that’s part of being a football supporter.
“I dream that Celtic will win the Champions’ League.
“I don’t really mind who we get in the next round. I just want it to be at the One Call Stadium.
“I think if we are at home we seem to have a period in the game where we can lift it, and I think tonight we did that for seven or eight minutes and got two goals.”
It wasn’t the best of games, but Stags deserved their win.
“That was cup tie football and it’s very different to League football,” said Evans.
“I don’t think Stags fans would appreciate me saying it was a good performance or a good cup tie – it wasn’t. But it was a very workmanlike performance.
“We worked extremely hard but probably not as smart as I would have liked.
“But what I would say is that from 7.45 there was one team trying to win the cup tie and one team trying to go to penalty kicks. So I think we got our rewards for trying to win it.”
He added: “We go through to the next round, yet many people thought when we got Carlisle away we’d go out, and of course tonight we beat a team from the league above.
“They (Oldham) may be struggling a little bit yet they are a team that’s probably not had the results their recent performances have deserved.
“But I don’t think at any stage tonight they were on top of the game, just sporadic breakaways. Otherwise we’ve commanded the ball but not been smart enough with it.”
On the two late goals, both created by James Baxendale, he added: “I think the first goal was a mistake from them but we took advantage, Paddy Hoban does well.
“The second one – the boy Baxendale has great quality and doesn’t show it often enough for us – and he is working hard to get there in terms of match fitness – I though his free kick and the header from Paddy Hoban were something you’d see at a higher level.
“So I am pleased for those two kids as they have been working hard to try to get into the team.
“We are trying to get boys who haven’t had much action some minutes on the pitch and fit enough to play in games. They have been a bit let down in the first half of the season.”
The only downside of the night was seeing in-form centre half Kyle Howkins limp off in the second half.
“We don’t know how Kyle will be until tomorrow so we will await judgement on it,” said Evans.
“We will worry about that going forward and, if we need to go into the market if there is something up with Kyle we will. We don’t think it’s anything too serious.
The tie attracted just 1,343 fans and Evans said: “Credit to the supporters who have come out tonight – it is a bitterly cold night. I know how tough it is and we appreciate every one of them.
“The players saw the reception they got at full-time, it was a good reception.”