NEXT TIME OUT... Salford City

Matt Edwards
Saturday 11 January 2020

Forest Green Rovers had the last laugh in an incredible game at the One Call Stadium as they took all three points in a 4-3 win over Mansfield Town.

Rovers recovered from a disastrous start to overhaul a two-goal deficit but looked like they had to settle for a point when Mansfield struck in the 90th minute, only for Aaron Collins to smash home the winner six minutes into time added on.

CJ Hamilton gave the hosts the perfect start inside two minutes before Danny Rose doubled their advantage in the 39th minute.

However, a brace from Farrend Rawson either side of the break had Rovers back level before Carl Winchester hit a beauty to hand Mark Cooper’s side the lead on the hour-mark.

In a game that ebbed and flowed, Mansfield levelled in the 90th minute and looked to secure a point, but substitute Collins had other ideas as he found the roof of the net in the 96th minute.

While Mansfield made four changes to their starting XI, there were three for Forest Green, the most notable being Josh March starting after signing just this week.

Captain Joseph Mills was also a welcome return from injury at left-back, while Dom Bernard replaced Liam Shephard, who picked up a hamstring injury in the draw with Crawley Town last weekend.

Much was made of the windy conditions before the game in Nottinghamshire, and it could have played some part in a disastrous start at the back for FGR.

In just the third minute, the ball is put in behind the defence by Mal Benning and Alex McDonald flicked on the ball that held up in the wind, Adam Smith was unable to collect as Hamilton chased applied the pressure and despite Joseph Mills going down in the box under what appeared like contact from the Mansfield forward, the loose ball was fired home into an empty net.

That made for a shakey opening for the visitors and in the 10th minute Rawson miss-placed a pass on the halfway line that set Hamilton away down the left.

His square ball back to the edge of the box found Rose, but a superb sliding challenge came in from Carl Winchester, ast the Stag was pulling the trigger.

Mansfield thought that had doubled the leas in the 15th minute when Nicky Maynard put the ball in the back of the net for the hosts, prodding home Rose's deflected shot, but the offside flag spared Forest Green’s blushes.

In the 38th minute, the best chance of the match for FGR came from the head of Liam Kitching.

Jevani Brown delivered an inviting free-kick from the left, with the centre-back rising highest and his effort looked destined for the roof of the net, but Bobby Olejnik tipped well over the bar.

It was a save that proved key as Mansfield went up the other end a minute later to net their second of the game.

A long throw came into the box from the left and Rose was on hand at the front post to direct the ball with precision off his head it into the far corner, perfectly out of the reach of the diving Smith.

Rovers looked for an immediate response from new forward March, as he latched onto a ball into the right corridor before cutting inside and forcing a good save from Olejnik.

However, it was the width of the post that denied Mansfield a third in the 44th minute as Hamilton caught FGR in possession in the box.

Maynard twice saw his shot blocked from close range by Kithcing before Hamilton swivelled and hit the base of the post on the turn.

Forest Green were handed a lifeline on the stroke of half time from the head of Rawson, netting his second goal in four games.

Joseph Mills whipped in a great free-kick, which he had won on the corner of the box, and Rawson had got across his man to head home from yards out.

It was the break and the goal that Forest Green had needed to spark the game into life for them and they came out of the second half with renewed belief.

That was highlighted in the 52nd minute when Brown showed great composure to lead away an FGR break, playing in Mondal, who switched play to Aitchison and his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

From that resulting set-piece, Rawson was the first to Aitchison's corner and he glanced his header past the keeper and inside the far post.

In the 60th minute, Carl Winchester was completing the comeback as set himself on the edge of the area and fired a low drive into the bottom left-hand corner.

Six minutes later and it was FGR’s chance to hit the woodwork. Aitchison with a driving run in off the left flank, his shot taking a deflection and landing on the bar and behind for a corner which came to nothing.

As the board went up for five minutes added time and with FGR looking like they had done enough to see it out, James Clarke made a burst forward, controlling on his chest on the edge of the box and poking it through to Maynard, who finished calmly to secure a point for the hosts.

However, it was Rovers who had the last say in an enthralling encounter at the One Call Stadium.

In the 96th minute, Joseph Mills cut the ball back to Collins in the area and he showed composure to take a touch to fire into the roof of the net and send the Rovers side of the press box into delirium, not to mention the fans in the away end.

Mansfield XI: Olejnik, Benning, Preston, Bishop, MacDonald (Kahn 73’), Maynard, Tomlinson (Smith 35’), Sweeney (c), Clarke, Hamilton, Rose (Cook 63’)

Unused subs: Stone, White, Davies, Knowles

Forest Green XI: Smith, Bernard, Rawson, Winchester, Adams, Brown (Collins 75’), Kitching, J. Mills (c), Mondal, March (McCoulsky 69’), Aitchison (Frear 73’)

Unused subs: Thomas, M Mills, Dawson, McGinley

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 3,956 (115)

Man of the match: 

Next time out: Salford City, The New Lawn, Saturday, January 18, 3pm