GIANT-KILLING cup shocks became a rather regular affair for the inspired Mansfield Town players of the late 1960s and 1970s.
Manchester City had been given a lesson in attacking football in 1964 by a rampant Stags side, who also put the famous West Ham United team, complete with World Cup winners Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Bobby Moore, to the sword in 1969.
First Division Coventry City and the powerful Wolves were also knocked out of the League Cup during a memorable run to the fifth round stage in the 1975 season.
Top flight sides Liverpool and the mighty Leeds United, considered by many to be the best side in Europe, were also pushed all the way by the plucky Field Mill boys in 1970, before high-flying Carlisle United survived a huge scare at Field Mill in the 1975 FA Cup during a memorable decade of cup ties.
But way back in 1962 Stags were so very nearly on the other end of a massive FA Cup humiliation as they trailed the unheralded amateurs of Hounslow 3-0 with just 16 minutes to go.
The part-timers had never previously played a league club outside London and, according to their own matchday programme, were not expecting to win.
But against all the odds the West London outfit, which was packed full of amateur internationals, rose to the challenge as so many other non-league clubs have done before and since to push Mansfield to their very limits.
Complacent Mansfield struggled to get into their stride, with their normally free-scoring attack faltering and their defence looking rather shaky with Hounslow’s pacey wingers Brian Somers and Micky Walsh causing all sorts of trouble.
McHattie twice caused Stags bother, before two Walsh corners from either side caused Treharne problems as Hounslow showed they were not the whipping boys some had been expecting.
But the visitors started to stamp their authority and began to enjoy a mini-purple patch with the prolific Wagstaff and Ivan Hollett testing Rhodes.
A slack backpass from Creasey then brought out the very best in Rhodes as he dived spectacularly to save a corner.
But against the run of play, Hounslow stunned the crowd by taking the lead on 27 minutes in spectacular fashion.
Somers burst down the flank before squaring the ball to Walsh, who hammered a dipping 30-yard piledriver past the shocked Treharne.
Mansfield pushed hard as the first-half came to a close with little success.
Coates and Humble both had shots blocked early in the second half, but it seemed the half-time lectures had had no real effect on the faltering Mansfield players.
And on 55 minutes the lively Somers took a beautiful pass from Evans in his stride before hammering past Treharne to give Hounslow a two-goal cushion.
It seemed Hounslow were well on the way to victory when Devine brilliantly pulled the ball back for Bigmore to rifle home in off the bar and leave Mansfield facing one of their most embarrassing cup exits.
But Hounslow began to tire on the energy-sapping pitch as Mansfield’s superior fitness levels began to shine through.
Former Port Vale player Colin Askey saw a shot blocked by Taylor, before Roy Chapman’s shot was blocked on the line by Rhodes.
Time was ticking for mis-firing Stags, who needed to find three rapid fire goals or face FA Cup humiliation.
The red-faced visitors were given a lifeline on 74 minutes when Ivan Hollett, who enjoyed six seasons at Field Mill between 1958–1964, was on hand to pull a goal back.
The Pinxton-born striker had his shooting boots on four minutes later when he picked up a loose ball from the tiring home defence to add a second.
All attention now turned to whether the weary West London amateurs could hold out for 12 minutes and seal a famous cup scalp.
It was not to be though as club legend Ken Wagstaff beat Rhodes to a cross to bundle the ball home to the protests of the home players and spare Mansfield’s blushes.
It was a totally different affair in the replay as Mansfield ripped Hounslow apart to win 9-2 and equal the club’s highest ever victory, which was set way back on 27th December 1932.
Ivan Hollett, who went on to play for four other clubs in a career spanning 14 seasons, said his team had had a very lucky escape that day.
“Many people thought that this was going to be an easy game, but it was far from it,” he said.
“We were 3-0 down with hardly any time left and it looked like we were going to get knocked out.
“But we managed to get back into the game and of course it was a different story when we took them back to Field Mill two days later.
“Hounslow were a decent team at the time, who were packed full of amateur internationals. It was a massive shock being 3-0 down and we really had to dig deep to get back into it.
“We had a lot of goals in the team at that time and it showed in the replay. Ken Wagstaff was an amazing player.”
MATCH: Hounslow 3 Mansfield Town 3. FA Cup First Round.
VENUE: Hounslow, 3rd November 1962.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Treharne, Toon, Humble, Coates, Phillips, Morris, Askey, Hollett, Wagstaff, Roy Chapman, Weir.