Peterborough United villain Pym turns into Mansfield Town's hero after penalty shootout drama
Goalkeeper Christy Pym, whose sad behaviour while still contracted at the Weston Homes Stadium, has made him one of the more upopular Posh old boys among the management staff and the fans, saved penalties from Jonson Clarke-Harris and Ronnie Edwards to help the Stags to a 3-1 penalty shoout win after a 2-2 draw in a pulsating third round tie.
And Posh have only themselves to blame. They looked a class apart for three-quarters of this tie – as they should when fielding a full strength side against a League Two team who made five changes – but failed to kill their hosts off and then crumbled when the rest of the Mansfield first teamers were unloaded from the bench.
Mansfield dominated the final stages as Posh lost the plot on and off the ball. They needed a 93rd minute penalty to get to the shootout after a moment of clumsiness from Jonson Clarke-Harris, after taking the lead with a first spot-kick in the third minute after a dozy piece of play from Archie Collins.
Two goals from Clarke-Harris, one after an horrific Pym error, had put Posh firmly in the driving seat, but unlimited possession didn’t lead to any more goals and that was the real reason Darren Ferguson’s side went out, rather than a dreadful late spell and some woeful spotkicks.
Ferguson hinted after Saturday’s draw at Bolton Wanderers he would field a strong side and he was true to his word as he named the same starting XI.
Skipper Peter Kioso stayed in situ at right back despite his forthcoming suspension.
Mansfield fielded an experienced side which included former Posh players in Pym and popular midfielder Louis Reed. Manager Nigel Clough made five changes to a team that beat Barrow by a solitary goal on Saturday.
Posh were chasing a third fourth round appearance in the last 30 years and started like they would romp to victory.
Their passing was clean and crisp and in the second minute Ricky-Jade Jones. who had already caused a panic with a first minute sprint, tore past his marker to tee up Clarke-Harris, but his shot was cleared off the line by Baily Cargill.
And within a minute Posh were behind. Archie Collins lost possession on the edge of his own area and made a grab at Will Swan who threw himself to the ground. Referee Sebastian Stockbridge pointed to the spot and Swan scored down the middle.
George Maris missed a decent opportunity to make it 2-0 on 10 minutes, but no matter as Posh continued to pass through the lines with great ease and Kwame Poku looked unplayable on the right wing.
An abundance of crosses were blocked or misdirected though and Pym’s handling was safe. He made one excellent low saw after Ephron Mason-Clark had accepted a superb pass from Hector Kyprianou and fired towards the corner.
But the two ex-Posh men then combined to hand their old club an equaliser. Louis Reed tripped Mason-Clark 25 yards from goal and Pym made a hash of the free kick from Clarke-Harris which travelled into the centre of his net. There was a slight deflection off the wall, but not enough to excuse the goalkeeper.
Kyprianou almost took immediate advantage of Pym’s modest height with a tame header that was tipped over the bar, but then Posh stopped playing.
The latter stages of the first-half was spent watching Mansfield pass the ball about at the back under no pressure at all.
But that all changed after the break as Posh tore into the lead within 90 seconds. KIoso was freed down the right and he went for goal, or maybe he was passing to Jones, but George Williams made a block only for the ball to fall kindly for Clarke-Harris who slotted home.
Two minutes later and Kioso nodded a Harrison Burrows corner onto the crossbar as Posh took complete control of the game, so much so that Clough made a triple sub on the hour mark.
It didn’t immediately alter the flow of the game. Clarke-Harris sent two strikes from the edge of the area wide, one from a free-kick, and the centre forward met a Burrows corner only for his header to power into Kioso.
But then Mansfield roused themselves, backed by a raucaus crowd, which in turn unsettled Posh who became very sloppy with their passing.
James Gale was thwarted at the far post after a long free kick was allowed to reach him and the same player then somehow headed over from close range after Bilokapic had been defeated by a deflection.
The Stags kept charging through. Substitute Lucas Akins saw a goal disallowed on 70 minutes for what must have been a marginal offside call and Ronnie Edwards made a fine block to divert a Aaron Lewis shot behind.
Posh were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when a Jones cross appeared to be handled. The speedster was then withdrawn in favour of David Ajioboye which meant positional changes for Poku and Mason-Clark, the latter was soon darting into the area only for a retreating defender to block his shot.
But Mansfield were much the better side by now and after Aden Flint had sent a header straight at Bilokapic a corner caused havoc and Calum Macdonald was bundled over by Clarke-Harris to give the home side a second penalty which Akins converted.
Posh had to survive a couple more corners before taking part in a third straight penalty shoot out in this competition.
Akins and Jordan Bowery, with help from Pym, made it 2-0 to Mansfield, but Flint missed and Bilokpaic saved from Ollie Clake either side of a successful Mason-Clark spot-kick.
Posh were now back in it, but Josh Knight struck the outside of a post leaving Davis Kiellor-Dunn to seal victory.
Pym was understandably pumped up and appeared to taunt Ferguson after the tie. His offer of a handshake appeared to be rejected. It was all rather petty.
Posh: Nicholas Bilokapic, Harrison Burrows (sub Zak Sturge, 89 mins), Ronnie Edwards, Josh Knight, Peter Kioso, Hector Kyprianou, Archie Collins, Ricky-Jade Jones (sub David Ajiboye, 74 mins), Ephron Mason-Clark, Kwame Poku (sub Jadel Katongo, 89 mins), Jonson Clarke-Harris
Unused subs: Fynn Talley, Romoney Crichlow, Ryan De Havilland, Joel Randall, Emmanuel Fernandez, Kai Corbett.
Mansfield: Christy Pym, George Williams (sub Davis Killor-Dunn, 74 mins), Aden Flint, Lewis Brunt, Bailey Cargill (sub Calum Macdonald, 61 mins), Louis Reed (sub Jordan Bowery, 46 mins), Aaron Lewis, Hiram Boateng, George Maris (sub Ollie Clark, 61 mins), James Gale, Will Swan (sub Lucas Akin, 61 mins).
Unused subs: Scott Flinders, George Cooper, Finn Flanagan, McKeal Abdullah.
Goals: Posh – Clarke-Harris (30 mins & 47 mins).
Mansfield – Swan (pen, 5 mins), Akins (pen, 90 + 2 mins).
Cautions: Posh – Collins (foul), Burrows (foul), Mason-Clark (unsportsmanlike conduct)
Mansfield – Reed (foul), Flint (unsportsmanlike conduct).
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge 6
Attendance: 4,372 (682 Posh).