PAUL COX admitted that his Guiseley side paid for an insipid start en route to a comprehensive FA Cup exit at former club Mansfield Town on an afternoon when the visitors also lost their discipline and played the last 39 minutes with nine men.
Defenders Darren Holden and Chris M’Boungou both received their marching orders on a day when Leeds-born striker Jimmy Spencer scored the first hat-trick of his professional career on a day to savour for him.
But there was no noteworthy afternoon for Guiseley and after making history by reaching the second round for the first time ever, there was no encore and need to file another entry into the record books.
On an arduous afternoon, Cox, whose side have now received four dismissals in their past five matches, said: “We came into the game with a great following and never got to grips with the game from the start.
“It was disappointing that we did not apply ourselves right in the first half. In going down to ten and then nine men, you are chasing the game and it is damage limitation.”
It was very much one-way traffic at the One Call Stadium from the off and if Guiseley’s task was stiff enough, it became even positively herculean following the dismissal of Holden five minutes before the break.
The full-back could have no complaints following a reckless over-the-top challenge on Spencer in a fiery half where tensions were high on both benches.
Thankfully, Guiseley possessed a cool head in goal in the shape of Jonny Maxted, who carried on from where he left off in the first-round replay at Accrington by showcasing his agility in another stand-out display, more especially in the first period.
He was powerless to keep out Spencer’s opener on 31 minutes, a classic centre-forward’s header following excellent wing play by Paul Anderson, but excelled himself both before and after that to ensure that the Lions were not dead and buried at the interval.
After Guiseley had survived an early scare when M’Boungou’s clumsy-looking challenge in the box on Danny Rose was not penalised, Maxted came to the fore.
He turned away Alex MacDonald’s smart free-kick, before making a terrific save to deny Anderson and then appeared to get a faint touch to a point-blank header from Rhys Bennett, which struck the near post.
The pressure finally told when Spencer – hitherto without a goal this season – put the hosts in front and Cox’s side faced a mountain to climb when Holden saw red.
Maxted made a fine scrambling save to keep out an effort from Spencer shortly before the break – while being mindful that he would, in all likelihood, have to repeat his exploits on the restart to somehow keep the Lions in the tie.
Hopes of that were extinguished when M’Boungou received his marching orders for his second bookable offence – just as he did in the first-round replay at Accrington. But this time, there was no fairytale.
Soon after, Spencer clinically fired home from close range after good wing play by the lively CJ Hamilton to effectively settle the tie.
A rare foray saw Alex MacDonald clear Jake Lawlor’s header off the line before play switched to the other end and Spencer sealed his treble, converting from the spot after substitute Danny Lowe was penalised for a shirt-tug on him.
It looked like being a long final 25 minutes for the Lions, but mercifully there was no further damage in terms of the score.
Hamilton went close with an effort which hit the post and substitute Alfie Potter was a whisker away with a low drive before time was called on an eminently forgettable Stags return for Cox.
Mansfield Town: Logan; White, Diamond, Bennett, Hunt; Anderson (Potter 69), Atkinson, MacDonald (Butcher 73), Hamilton; Spencer (Sterling-James 87), Rose. Substitutes unused: Olejnik, Digby, Pearce, Mellis.
Guiseley: Maxted; Brown, Palmer, M’Boungou, Holden; Hughes (Hurst 45), Lawlor, Lenighan, Molyneux (Purver 55); Odejayi (Lowe 43), Fondop-Talom. Substitutes unused: Green, Correira, McFadzean, Haworth.
Referee: C Boyeson (East Yorkshire).