Football: Stags gain bonus break: Mansfield celebrate one of the finest nights in their history

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

MANSFIELD began collecting their Coca-Cola Cup bonus yesterday for toppling the Premiership side, Leeds, from the competition on Tuesday. Their manager, Andy King, has no money available so he will give his Field Mill heroes three days off before they come down to earth against Hartlepool on Saturday.

King will also try to persuade the club chairman, Keith Haslam, to take them away for a midwinter break in Tenerife as a reward for one of the finest performances in the club's 85-year history.

King puffed on a celebratory cigar as he was asked which club he would like to face next. 'I don't really care,' he said. 'Newcastle would be nice but really my main ambition is to get Mansfield into the Third Division promotion play-offs at the end of the season.'

If Mansfield maintain the type of spirit they showed against Leeds they should be well in the running for promotion. They pulled six men back across their goal to guard the first leg advantage provided by a Simon Ireland goal and their goalkeeper, Darren Ward, was solid on the rare occasions Leeds broke through.

Leeds looked short on ideas of how to break down a defence that had conceded nine goals in six previous league games. Mansfield competed on equal terms with the Elland Road giants although their team, seven places off the bottom of division three, cost no more than pounds 200,000.

Steve Wilkinson, their top scorer with four goals, said: 'This is certainly the highlight of my career. We knew we had to keep Leeds out and keep concentrating. We deserved our reward for what we achieved at Elland Road and we got it.'

Howard Wilkinson, the Leeds manager, seemed philosophical. 'A lot of what went on was all right and it would be a mistake to let one game destroy the season for us. We have got to get our disappointment out of the way and get back down to work on Thursday.

'But all credit to Andy King and Colin Harvey for achieving what they set out to do. We had a lot of possession but we should have been better in the attacking third.'

Wilkinson's sombre approach contrasted sharply with the jubilant after-match response of King. 'We won a tactical battle and no-one can take that away from us. I will live on this result for a long while.'

Even the 77th-minute dismissal of Colin Hoyle, who joined Mansfield on loan from Notts County 24 hours earlier, could not spoil the Stags party. They held out through the last frantic minutes to add their name to those of previous Leeds giant-killers like Oxford, Sunderland and Colchester.

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