ALBION ensured their progress to the knockout stages of this season’s Bristol Street Motors Trophy with a 2-1 victory over Mansfield Town.
Cole Stockton’s first Brewers goal got the Brewers back on level terms after George Cooper had put Nigel Clough’s side ahead midway through the first half and Tom Hamer’s second half strike completed a Burotn turnaround and deny Clough victory on his first competitive return to the Pirelli Stadium since leaving in 2020.
Having not had a game at the weekend Albion showed three changes from their last game seven days previously in the FA Cup. With Max Crocombe away on international duty with New Zealand, Jamal Blackman came back in for the final group game of the competition. Steve Seddon also returned with Jasper Moon missing after a head injury against Port Vale and Mason Bennett took over from Ciaran Gilligan in midfield.
Ex-Stags defender Ryan Sweeney went close to opening the scoring against his former side as early as the third minute rising to meet Joe Powell’s corner but unable to guide it on target.
Albion almost made the most of another corner opportunity on thirteen minutes. A deeply hit ball to the back post was headed back into the danger area by Sweeney with Seddon sending a volley goalwards and when that looped up off a defender, Deji Oshilaja could only head onto the top of the bar.
Mansfield almost made Albion pay when Will Swan broke clear and chipped over Blackman, but his effort lacked the pace to cross the line with Sweeney getting back to clear off the line.
The visitors did go in front on 21 minutes when a free kick from the right was swung into the middle and COOPER was the man to get on the end of it and divert it inside Blackman’s post.
Albion equalised on 34 minutes when a block challenge on the edge of thew Burton box saw the ball spin free and Bennett won a 50-50 challenge to send the ball forwards where STOCKTON was able to burst clear and produce an unerring finish from the edge of the box.
Powell was close to turning the game on its head minutes later, but Scott Flinders made an outstanding save and also blocked the follow-up effort from Helm.
HALF TIME: BURTON ALBION 1-1 MANSFIELD TOWN
The Stags made a triple substitute at the break bringing on three of their more established first team players in search of the win.
A rapid burst from Helm opened up the Mansfield defence and led to a shot from Lubala that was hastily blocked. Albion kept up the pressure and from a corner the ball fell nicely for HAMER to fire the ball home.
Powell fired a curling effort straight at Flinders before Aaron Lewis did likewise at the other end straight into the midriff of Blackman.
Albion waited until the 65 minute to freshen the side up with Rekeem Harper and Josh Walker replacing skipper Oshilaja and Bennett.
Stockton fired a speculative 25 yard effort wide as Albion looked for the comfort of a two goal cushion late on but Flinders was able to watch it zip just wide of his post.
With the game in seven minutes of added time substitute Aden Flint blazed a presentable opportunity wildly over the bar as Mansfield sought an equaliser to try and take the game to a penalty shoot-out.
The visitors piled on the pressure late on but the Brewers defence held firm to see themselves through to the next stage of the competition.
ALBION: Blackman; Caprice, Hamer, Sweeney, Seddon; Powell, Oshilaja (Harper, 65); Bennett (Walker, 65), Helm, Lubala; Stockton.
Substitutes: Kamwa, Carayol, Baah, Gilligan, Tamen.
GOALS: ALBION – Stockton (34), Hamer (53) ; MANSFIELD – Cooper (21)
Referee: Paul Howard