By Gary Fulcher and Chris Rowland.
Liverpool’s 2012/13 FA Cup (or the FA Cup with Budweiser, as we must now call it) journey gets underway on Sunday, with a trip to the non-league setting of Mansfield Town’s Field Mill (or One Call Stadium, as we must now call it). Kick off is 16.00 UK time.
The match is subject to the pitch being given the all clear. The Stags’ encounter with Grimsby had to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and with more rain forecast for the weekend, there are some doubts that the match will be given the go ahead.
The One Call Stadium has a capacity of just over 7,500. Around 1800 Reds fans should be housed in the North Stand, behind one goal.
Sunday’s meeting will be just the third time the clubs have locked horns, having met twice previously in the League Cup 2nd Round in September 1970. Bill Shankly’s Reds were held 0-0 at Field Mill, before winning 3-2 after extra time in the replay at Anfield. Emlyn Hughes scored early for the Reds, but only a Tommy Smith penalty after 80 mins took it to extra time, when Alun Evans scored the winner.
Mansfield currently occupy 9th place in the Blue Square Conference Premier, 12 points behind leaders Grimsby but with three games in hand and four points off the play-off places. The Stags have lost just one of their last 11 games in all competitions: a 1-2 reverse at home against nearby Alfreton Town in the league, although they got their revenge against their near-neighbours in their last outing, 3-0 on New Year’s Day. They currently lie 9th in the Blue Square Premier after 22 matches, with 35 points. Mansfield were relegated from the Football League after season 2007/8.. Mansfield have needed two replays to reach the 3rd round of the FA Cup, after winning 2-1 at Workington in the final qualifying round. They overcame Slough Town on penalties after drawing 0-0 then 1-1 in the replay in Round 1. Paul Cox’s side then drew 3-3 with Lincoln City in the 2nd round before winning the replay 2-1 at Field Mill.
Liverpool will be hoping to avoid a shock that would surely surpass our 1959 1-2 exit at the hands of Southern League outfit Worcester City at the same stage of the competition.
Mansfield last reached the 3rd round in 2008 where they defeated Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 before losing a home tie against Middlesbrough 0-2 in the 4th round.
The winners of this tie will earn a cool £67,500 in prize money.
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