A valiant Forest Green Rovers effort yielded nothing, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Mansfield Town.
The Stags, under the charge of Nigel Clough for the first time in League Two, raced into a 2-0 lead as George Lapslie and Harry Charsley both capitalised to find the net
The second half was dominated almost entirely by the hosts, but it took until the 84th minute for any sort of reward to show itself, Odin Bailey prodding home after a set-piece.
Despite a late barrage, Rovers simply couldn’t break through the wall of navy blue to earn a point.
Mark Cooper opted for a strike-partnership of Jake Young and Jamille Matt with Odin Bailey in behind.
It took just five minutes for Mansfield to find themselves in front as Lapslie made space in the box to direct a cross goalwards. Luke McGee did well to get down to his right to deny the first effort, but the Charlton Athletic loanee made no mistake on the follow-up.
Rovers tried to force their way back into the encounter after 18 minutes through Kane Wilson, but his lofted cross into the area was well claimed by the Stags’ stopper.
Shortly after the half-hour mark, Nicky Maynard went close to doubling the visitors’ advantage with an acrobatic effort, but his over-head kick dropped just over the bar.
Just one minute later, Mansfield did get a second.
A mistake from a quick free-kick saw Rovers give the ball away on the edge of their area and Nigel Clough’s men made no mistake in capitalising, Charsley finding the corner.
A flurry of chances right at the end of the half could have provided Rovers with an all important goal.
Jamille Matt latched on to Cadden’s cut-back but couldn’t get the better of Marek Stech who pulled off a great save.
From the resulting corner, Jake Young’s corner almost snuck in at the back post, but Rovers’ misfortune continued.
Rovers came out of the tunnel after the break with a renewed determination.
Young had the first chance of the second period, cutting in from the left and testing the keeper’s catching ability.
With the hour mark rapidly approaching, Rovers couldn’t have got much closer to pulling one back. Former Rovers man Farrend Rawson tried to nod the ball clear, but instead looped a header over his own keeper and onto the top of the bar.
A quickly taken free-kick from the left looked to have handed Mansfield a third as Maynard nipped in to finish, but the linesman’s offside flag cut short the celebrations.
A Bailey effort after 75 minutes proved a further test for Stech, but he was equal to it once more.
The best chance of the second half came through a combination of substitutes, as Matty Stevens slid in to turn Jayden Richardson’s cross over.
Bailey provided the hosts with a glimmer of hope after 85 minutes as he turned home after a Cadden corner dropped for him, but it wasn't enough
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Forest Green XI: McGee, Wilson (Collins 46’), Kitching, Winchester (c), Adams, Cadden, Matt (Richardson 76’), Moore-Taylor (Stevens 76’), Bailey, Young, Godwin-Malife
Unused subs: Thomas, Sweeney, Stokes
Mansfield XI: Stech, Benning, Rawson, Charsley, Bowery, Maris (Clarke 30’), Gordon, Perch (c), McLoughlin, Maynard (O’Keefe 83’), Lapslie
Unused subs: Stone, Sweeney, Coock, O’Driscoll, Reid
Match Sponsor: Bio Circle
Man of the Match: Jake Young
Matchball sponsor: Ecotricity