Chris Clements’ dramatic stoppage-time stunner sent Mansfield Town into the second round of the Checkatrade EFL trophy tonight.
Clements’ last-ditch curling effort, plus an early quickfire double from Ashley Hemmings and Darius Henderson handed the Stags a memorable 3-2 victory over Derby County’s U23s at the iPro to progress with Doncaster out the group stage.
Deflected goals from Jamie Hanson and Andreas Weimann looked to have sent Adam Murray’s men crashing out at the first hurdle before Clements’ intervention.
Murray made five changes to the line-up that lost against Plymouth Argyle at the weekend.
Scott Shearer was recalled in goal after sitting on the bench on Saturday as Kyle Howkins, Jack Thomas, Oscar Gobern and Henderson all started down the M1, with youngster Kieran Harrison named among the substitutes.
And the Stags caught the hosts cold as they flew into a 2-0 lead inside the first five minutes.
The hosts’ defence were napping as Hemmings latched onto Henderson’s flick-on to calmly slot home his second goal in as many games in the second minute.
Just three minutes later and the lead was doubled with Henderson the scorer this time.
The veteran pounced on Chris Weale’s spill to tap his second Stags’ goal into an empty net.
The Rams were given a glimmer of hope before the break as Hanson’s deflected free-kick wrong-footed Shearer in the 24th minute.
After the break former Aston Villa man Weimann whistled his shot over the bar as the rampant Rams went searching for an equaliser.
Weimann got his reward six minutes from time as his strike looped off Gobern and lobbed Shearer as it looked as though the Rams had rescued themselves a penalty shoot-out.
It wasn’t to be, however, as captain Clements ended a thrilling encounter with a sensational strike from 25 yards out after nudging the ball past his marker to sent the Stags’ fans wild in the stands.
DERBY: Weale, Shackell, Baird, Weinmann, Hanson, Rawson, Bennett (Jakobsen 85), Gordon (Santos 66), Guy, Stabana, Vernam (Walker 79). Subs: Cover, Ravas, Lelan, Mitchell-Lawson.
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Benning, Pearce, Clements, Baxendale (Hamilton 59mins), Howkins, Thomas (M. Rose 48mins), Hemmings, Gobern, Henderson (Green 73). Subs: Jensen, Hoban, D. Rose, Harrison.
REFEREE: Trevor Kettle of Rutland.
ATTENDANCE: 870 (357 away).