Rotherham United’s run in the Central League Cup was ended at the semi-final stage after a narrow 3-2 defeat to Mansfield Town at Roundwood.
The Millers were in front through Michael Ihiekwe’s header but two second half goals from Omari Sterling-James saw the Stags take the lead going into the final stages.
Hayden White then turned Mason Warren’s corner into his own net, only for the visitors to bag a winner when Sterling-James completed his hat-trick with almost the last kick of the game.
The first-half saw very little in terms of goalmouth action but Rotherham ‘keeper Laurence Bilboe called into action early on as he beat away a shot from Hayden White.
With the first-half coming to a close, Sterling-James rippled the roof of the net with a free-kick for the visitors, whilst at the other end Kuda Muskwe’s low shot was smothered at the near post.
Winger Alex Bray was also denied just before the break, before the Millers snatched the lead right on the stroke of the interval. Warren delivered the corner and Ihiekwe got his head onto the ball to divert past Bobby Olejnik.
Just after the break Mansfield equalised when Sterling-James finished with a powerful drive after exchanging passes with Jimmy Spencer.
The Millers then had Bilboe to thank for keeping the game level when he saved expertly from Callum Butcher after tipping his close range effort onto the crossbar.
The game entered the final quarter and the dangerous Sterling-James put the Stags into the lead when his superb curling effort beat Bilboe at full stretch.
With the game drifting into added time, the Millers found a dramatic late leveller when Warren’s corner was turned into his own net by White.
There was still time for one last twist as almost from the restart Mansfield went down the other end to win it when Sterling-James galloped in behind to finish coolly beyond Bilboe.
Rotherham | Bilboe; Cummings, Ihiekwe, Southern-Cooper, Purrington; Taylor (Maguire HT), Wiles, Warren, Bray; Kayode (James 55), Muskwe (Murr 66).
Subs | McMahon, Trialist, Maguire.
Mansfield | Olejnik, White, Diamond, Hunt, Digby, Butcher, Atkinson, King, Sterling-James, Spencer, Angol.
Subs: Wilson, Gibbens, T.Blake, Law, Thomas