Andy Crosby says Port Vale reaching Carabao Cup last eight ‘amazing achievement’

By Sports Desk October 31, 2023

Port Vale manager Andy Crosby was a proud man as his League One side saw off in-form Mansfield Town to book a place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

Alfie Devine’s 50th-minute finish proved the difference, ending League Two Mansfield’s proud 19-game unbeaten start to the season.

Crosby said: “It feels incredible to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s 147-year history. It is an amazing achievement and well deserved.

“We were the better team. We came here as underdogs as our level of performances and results recently have been poor.

“We were poor on Saturday and there was a lot of frustration from all of us.

“But the only place you can respond is not with words but out on the pitch where it matters and every single player that represented us tonight was immense and the performance was really good.

“It is a reward for everyone connected with the football club from the owners, who has developed and grown the club on and off the pitch, to everyone who works at the club and a group of players and staff who have made history.

“We had to go right to the end. We’ve been here before where we’ve played well in the first half and not taken our opportunities.

“We had to put our foot on the gas and go again and it was an outstanding goal by Alfie Devine. It was well executed and a great finish.”

Vale dominated the first half and Christy Pym had to save well from Tom Sang at his near post, while Oliver Arblaster volleyed against a post on 22 minutes.

Mansfield’s best chance came after 31 minutes when David Keillor-Dunn volleyed at the keeper from six yards.

But just after the break Devine raced down the centre and beat Pym with a low drive from 25 yards.

Added to a final-day win last season, the Stags had gone 20 games unbeaten, equalling the club record.

Mansfield boss Nigel Clough said: “We wanted to break the club record tonight which hurts as much as anything, as well as getting into the last eight.

“But to be here on the 31st October and say that’s the first game we’ve lost all season in all competitions – I am incredibly proud.

“The most important thing now is to quickly put this behind us. We mustn’t dwell on it.

“It feels a bit raw as we have not experienced this feeling since the end of last season, losing a game.

“It is not particularly pleasant in such an important game – an opportunity to get through to the last eight.

“I didn’t think we did ourselves anywhere near justice in that first half.”

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