Mansfield Town 0 Middlesborough 2: Buxton keeps it real for Mansfield

The message to Mansfield's players and supporters was spelt out in capital letters in Saturday's match programme. The club's assistant manager, Paul "Dutch" Holland, wrote: "ENJOY SATURDAY, BUT MORE IMPORTANT THINGS ARE TO COME!"

Romantics may have regarded a televised FA Cup tie at home to Premier League opposition as the highlight of the season, but hard-nosed professionals consider a trip to Lincoln City tomorrow night as far more serious. As Holland put it: "I don't like all the hype about the Cup when we are in such a precarious League position. I would swap a victory against Middlesbrough for three points."

Encouraging signs were displayed by the club placed 91st in English football, signs that must now take into tomorrow's game. Mansfield's best Cup run since 1988 has left them with matches in hand and Lincoln, six points ahead, are the sort of team they must catch to avoid dropping out of the Football League after 77 years. "I don't even think about it," said their veteran manager, Billy Dearden, of that possibility. "I'm trying to keep the pressure off the lads. I keep saying I think we'll be OK, but we're down there for a reason."

Lack of concentration in defence and bad luck in attack suggested themselves as the culprits against Middlesbrough, who scored fortunate goals at either end of the tie and were grateful to their goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer for two excellent saves from Town's leading goalscorer Michael Boulding in the space of a minute. Mansfield had the better of the second half and Dearden was annoyed that their momentum was interrupted at one point by a bizarre intervention from fans outside the ground, who kicked a bagful of footballs on to the pitch to protest about the club's owner Keith Haslam refusing to relinquish control.

Middlesbrough had only one shot on target all game – Lee Dong Gook's after 16 minutes – but two goals, the second one coming as Mansfield's captain Jake Buxton headed George Boateng's cross into his own net. It is not surprising that Boro's manager, Gareth Southgate, is desperate to bring in the Brazilian forward Afonso Alves, who last season scored seven goals in one game for Heerenveen. "It's an unsettling period for so many players," Southgate said. "I'm looking forward to 1 February."

Jonathan Woodgate, he added, "has a decision to make", which now seems likely to result in a move to Tottenham, but Stewart Downing "is not for sale". As for the prospect of a sustained Cup run in a year when so many Premier League sides are falling by the wayside: "If you get through the next round, you start to dream. Outside the top four our [Cup] record is as good as anyone's."

Goals: Lee (16) 0-1; Buxton og (87) 0-2.

Mansfield Town (4-4-2): Muggleton; Mullins, Buxton, Jelleyman, Martin; Hamshaw, Bell (Arnold, 73) Dawson, D'Laryea; Boulding, Brown (McAliskey, 73). Substitutes not used: White, Holmes, Wood.

Middlesbrough (4-3-3): Schwarzer; Young, Huth, Wheater, Pogatetz; Cattermole, Rochemback, Arca; Aliadière, Lee (Mido, 70), Johnson (Downing, 65). Substitutes Not Used: Turnbull, Riggott.

Referee: S Tanner (Somerset).

Booked: Mansfield Martin; Middlesbrough Huth, Cattermole.

Man of the match:: Huth.

Attendance: 6,258.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesChuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf