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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Stags can ensure they don't suffer an embarrassing exit

Shaw Lane may not shine on their big occasion

Mansfield manager Steve Evans
1 of 1

FA Cup first round
BT Sport 1, 12.30pm Saturday

There are always a few shock results on FA Cup first-round weekend but Mansfield can make sure they are not one of the fall guys by defeating Northern Premier League hosts Shaw Lane at Sheerien Park.

The occasion will be the biggest in the short history of Barnsley-based Shaw Lane, who were formed seven years ago.

They have had amazing success, winning five promotions and climbing from the South Yorkshire Amateur League to the Northern Premier.

Ambitious chairman Craig Wood wants to get Shaw Lane into the National League and further progress could be made this season as they are second in their division, three points behind leaders Altrincham, who have played two games more.

Progress is being made on and off the pitch. The club relocated to Sheerien Park this summer, sharing with Athersley Recreation, and are expecting a crowd of around 2,000, more than twice the 864 attendance recorded for the 2-1 fourth-qualifying-round home win over Barrow.

Beating National League Barrow was a massive achievement for manager Craig Elliott and his squad, who can boast plenty of football league experience.

Midfielder David Norris, a former Championship player who has had spells at Ipswich, Portsmouth and Leeds, is their best-known player but right-back Neil Austin played 148 times for Barnsley and left-back Ben Gordon played for Ross County and Colchester before dropping into the semi-professional ranks.

Norris used to pop up with a few goals when at his peak of his powers but the main threat comes from striker Paul Clayton, who tops Shaw Lane's scoring charts this term with eight league goals.

Shaw Lane hope to pull off a major shock but the boot was on the other foot when they crashed out of the FA Trophy on Tuesday, losing 4-1 after extra time at Northern League Division One North side Ramsbottom in a contest which went to extra-time.

Elliott's side are used to playing two games per week but they could have done with a free week to prepare and Mansfield, despite having gone five League Two games without a win, are likely to capitalise.

Steve Evans's side put in their best performance for several weeks when bossing a 1-1 draw at home to Exeter last Saturday and if they play at that level, they should win with a bit to spare.

Mansfield -1 on Asian handicap
1pt 17-20 Betfred

Bet on this game at

Team news
Shaw Lane
Winger Nicky Walker is expected to come back into the side after sitting out Tuesday's FA Trophy clash at Ramsbottom.

David Mirfin (hamstring) is ruled out but the Stags have an otherwise fully-fit squad.

Key stat
Shaw Lane have not kept a clean sheet in their last five matches.

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Shaw Lane have not kept a clean sheet in their last five matches
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