Attention turns to the Carabao Cup as the Vale head to the One Call Stadium to take on Mansfield Town with a place in the Quarter Finals at stake.
The Story So Far...
In the First Round of the Carabao Cup, the Vale beat fellow League One side Fleetwood Town 3-2 at Vale Park. The Cod Army took an early lead when Cian Hayes found the top corner with a curled effort from outside the box. Just thirteen minutes later the Vale were level when Ethan Chislett curled home an effort of his own when he found the far corner from the left side of the box. Soon after the break, Ryan Graydon headed his side into the lead when he met a corner at the near post. On the hour mark Vale levelled again when Josh Thomas muscled his way into the box before finishing well from the right side of the box. The winning goal came in the 72nd minute when Gavin Massey won the ball in midfield before crossing to Chislett who headed home from close range.
In Round Two the Valiants played host to League Two outfit Crewe Alexandra. After a fairly even ninety minutes, the game went straight to penalties. Elliot Nevitt stepped up first for The Alex and blazed his spot kick over the crossbar which set the tone for his side as they missed all four of their penalties. Connor Ripley saved one, and the other two crashed off the crossbar. For Vale, James Wilson and Ollie Arblaster scored the winning penalties to help Vale progress into the third round
Vale took on Sutton United in the Third Round of the Carabao Cup. It took 49 minutes until the game saw its first goal, Rhys Walters won the ball in midfield and played In Josh Thomas who burst into the Sutton box before calmly slotting past the on-rushing keeper. With twenty minutes of the game left, the visitors levelled the score when Hisham Kasimu broke into the Vale box before calmly finishing with the outside of his boot to make it 1-1. After pushing for the winner, Vale finally went ahead in the 83rd minute through Funso Ojo’s 25-yard strike that moved in the air and fooled the Sutton keeper. This excellent strike earnt Vale a place in the Fourth Round for the first time in 17 seasons since that famous trip to White Hart Lane in 2006 when the Valiants took on Tottenham Hotspur.
Mansfield Town currently sit in 4th place in Skybet League Two. The Stags have picked up 29 points from their opening 15 games and they are yet to taste defeat in the League this campaign.
On Saturday they beat Walsall 2-1 at home. Experienced defender Aden Flint gave Mansfield a first half lead. Walsall levelled early in the second half through Ryan Stirk before Jordan Bowery won the game for Mansfield when the scored in the 71st minute.
On their way to the Fourth Round Mansfield have beaten Championship, League One and League Two opposition. In Round One they comfortably beat Grimsby Town 2-0. A goal either side of half time from Lucas Akins and Rhys Oates earned The Stags a place in Round Two where they would visit Sheffield Wednesday. Anthony Musaba gave the hosts a lead after 25 minutes before Rhys Oates levelled the scores five minutes from time. The game went straight to penalties where Mansfield eventually won 5-4. In the Third Round The Stags were drawn at home to Peterborough. Mansfield took the lead after just five minutes of the first whistle when Former Vale Loanee Will Swan scored a penalty. The visitors fought back and levelled after half an hour through Jonson Clark-Harris. Moments after the break Clark-Harris grabbed his second of the night to turn the game on its head. Just when it looked like Mansfield’s cup campaign was coming to an end, they were awarded another penalty in the 5th minute of stoppage time. Lucas Akins stepped up and calmly dispatched his penalty. This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Peterborough as they missed 3 out of 4 of their penalties which meant that Mansfield won 3-1 on pens to set up a home tie against The Vale.
Player to Watch – Davis Keillor-Dunn
The former Burton Albion man has enjoyed a prolific start to the season. He has already scored 8 goals and picked up 4 assists this season in his first 15 league games. More recently Keillor-Dunn has partnered Lucas Akins upfront and they have collectively scored 13 goals between them which has been one of the main reasons for their side's excellent start.
A few other notable inclusions to the Stags side include former Vale loanee Will Swann. However, he has struggled for a place in the starting XI and has only made four starts and 12 substitute appearances.
Experienced EFL defender Aden Flint made the move to Mansfield in the summer and he has played a vital role at the heart of their defence. His experience and know-how has been vital for Mansfield so far this season.
Last Time We Met
Port Vale 3-0 Mansfield Town, Saturday 28th May 2022.
The last meeting between the sides was the memorable Skybet League Two Play-Off Final back in May 2022 where Vale ran out 3-0 winners to earn a place in League One.
Kian Harratt gave the valiants the lead after 20 minutes when he stooped low to divert Mal Benning’s low cross into the bottom corner. Four minutes later, Vale doubled their lead when Ben Garrity’s header cannoned off the crossbar into the path of James Wilson who was on hand to head home from close range. Just before the break Mansfield were reduced to ten-men when Oliver Hawkins was sent off after picking up two bookings in the space of five minites. Vale’s promotion was sealed in the 85th minute when David Worrall’s deep cross was guided home by Benning to spark scenes of jubilation amongst the Vale fans and round off one of the more historic days in the club’s modern history.