Late Smith double sees Owls through in fortunate fashion

Two late Michael Smith goals inside five minutes saw Wednesday edge through to the FA Cup third round in somewhat fortunate fashion against Mansfield at Hillsborough this afternoon.

The Stags looked like pulling off a shock win after taking a first-half lead until sub Smith struck twice to seal a 2-1 victory and put us into Monday evening’s round three draw.

Our equaliser came 10 minutes from time when Liam Palmer’s excellent pass found Marvin Johnson on the left and his cross was finished from close range by Smith.

Five minutes later it was 2-1 to the Owls when another sub, Barry Bannan, sent the ball through to Johnson and his low centre was turned home by Smith at the far post.

It was almost three soon afterwards when Fisayo Dele-Bashiru’s run ended with his cross being pushed away by Mansfield keeper Christy Pym and Callum Paterson’s effort from the loose ball was blocked by Elliott Hewitt.

Even then, Mansfield almost grabbed an equaliser in added time when George Maris, also a Wednesday fan, fired over the bar.

The division two side had led 1-0 at the break but it could easily have been more in a lifeless showing from the Owls in the opening 45 minutes.

Mansfield were the much better team from the start, Lucas Akins heading over from close range after just two minutes and then Hiram Boateng was narrowly off target.

Cameron Dawson made a good save from Akins but Mansfield took a deserved lead nine minutes before the break when George Lapslie converted a Kellan Gordon cross.

Wednesday managed just three shots and only one on target in the first 45 minutes and we almost went further behind just before the break when Stephen Quinn, ex-Sheff U, saw his effort tipped behind by Dawson.

Darren Moore surprisingly resisted making any immediate changes at the break after such a poor showing and we gave some hope for a second-half revival with Will Vaulks testing Pym from a long-ranger and Lee Gregory glancing a header just wide.

However, that improved start to the second half – and it could not have been much worse after the first 45 – looked to be a false dawn before the introduction of Bannan for the injured Gregory 20 minutes from time.

He soon began influencing the game from midfield and then came those two close-in poacher goals from Smith to turn the tie on its head and leave Wednesday fans hoping for a ‘big club’ tie in Monday’s draw.

Dawson, Hunt (Iorfa 64), Palmer, Ihiekwe (McGuinness 89), Johnson, Dele-Bashiru, Vaulks, Mighten, Wilks (Smith 64), Gregory (Bannan 71), Paterson. Unused subs: Stockdale, Brown, James, Shipston, Glover. Attendance: 13,932.










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