Mansfield Town were narrowly beaten by Swindon Town away from home in Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two encounter.
Mansfield failed to capitalise on their possession, especially in the first half, and were not clinical enough in the final third of the pitch.
An invigorated second half display by Swindon saw them convert one of their chances – but there was late controversy, as the Stags fans were convinced a late Tyrese Sinclair free-kick crossed the line.
Mansfield boss Nigel Clough made two changes to the side that lost at home to Bradford City last week.
Kellan Gordon came in at right-back for the injured James Perch, and George Lapslie came in for Rhys Oates who moved to the bench.
Swindon kicked off playing right to left, spraying the ball out to the right wing - which was whipped in, and Bishop collected comfortably.
The game was briefly interrupted after a couple of minutes due to a head injury to Swindon’s Kaine Kesler-Hayden.
Stephen McLaughlin won a free kick on the left wing for Mansfield. The resulting dead-ball was cleared and won back by the Stags – which was played back in to Ollie Clarke, whose swinging shot went over and wide.
A positive start by Mansfield, which saw Swindon often struggling to clear their lines.
On five minutes, Rob Hunt received the ball on the edge of the Mansfield box for the home side, but his tame effort was easily gathered by the Stag’s number one.
McLaughlin made a vibrant start on the left for Mansfield often surging forward, and Mansfield on the whole were winning a lot of second balls.
On eight minutes McLaughlin again crossed a tempting ball into the Robins’ area that Lapslie just couldn’t quite convert.
In the tenth minute, George Maris knocked in a free kick from the right-hand side of Swindon’s box that, again, Lapslie was unable to receive and take under control.
Mansfield had clearly made the better start at the County Ground after the opening ten minutes.
Clarke, with a bit of skill turned his marker before playing the ball into the area – a deflection took the ball slightly over the crossbar winning a corner for the Stags.
Swindon, camped in their own half, played with a high defensive line that Mansfield were constantly looking to expose.
As the game approached the 20-minute mark the hosts gave the ball away to Quinn who darted into the left side of the area, but his resulting cross was blocked.
The ball bounced back to Quinn who was fouled, presenting Mansfield with a free kick in a dangerous area on the left-hand side of the box. McLaughlin played the ball to Maris on the edge of the area, but his shot was poor and hit a Swindon defender, bouncing away harmlessly.
A promising start by Mansfield saw them close to taking command, albeit they needed a better final pass or attempt at goal.
Half-way through the first half and Swindon were still unable to settle in the game, often giving the ball away and not able to compete with Mansfield in the second ball midfield area.
Good pressure by Mansfield kept Swindon penned in their own half, and at times made the hosts look bereft for ideas.
On 26 minutes, Gordon gave a free kick away in a dangerous position on the right-hand side of the Mansfield box. The resulting free kick was whipped in low, and Mansfield dealt with it well enough to clear.
Lapslie on the half hour mark won a free kick on the right-hand side, ten yards from Swindon’s penalty box.
Gordon’s resulting free kick was dinked in towards Hawkins but headed away by Akin Odimayo for another Mansfield corner. The corner came in, but Swindon yet again managed to scramble the ball away.
Swindon continued to be sloppy when in possession of the ball, but Mansfield were unable to capitalise.
Mansfield had Swindon in their pockets but were unable to find the cutting edge – highlighted when McLaughlin broke down the left, played the ball in to Clarke who couldn’t quite apply the finishing touch – his shot blocked by desperate Swindon defending.
With 10 minutes of the half remaining both goalkeepers were yet required to make a save.
On 37 minutes Ollie Clarke received a yellow card for an innocuous challenge on Jack Payne – the challenge seeing both players requiring treatment for head injuries.
On 40 minutes McLaughlin and Quinn combined well down the left for Mansfield, but when the ball was played in a Stags player was deemed offside.
With three minutes left to play in the half, Mansfield won their third corner – an inswinger from McLaughlin, met by Ollie Hawkins who ghosted in at the far post and his header failed to hit the target.
Clarke and Gordon broke down the right-hand side for Mansfield on 43 minutes, Clarke’s resulting ball in just missing the encroaching touch of Ollie Hawkins and landed in Wollacott’s grateful hands.
A positive 45 minutes for the Stags but not quite creating any effective opportunity which would have seen them go in with a worthy lead at half-time.
Swindon started the second half with more gusto and purpose.
A disjointed start to the half saw both sides giving the ball away too easily.
A very promising attack by Swindon down the right-hand side saw Kesler-Hayden combine well with Grant who played in a wonderful cross which evaded everyone – apart from Hunt at the far post who connected well and was only stopped by an outstanding save by Bishop who threw his body into the firing line to prevent Swindon going 1-0 up.
On 52 minutes Hawkins suddenly found himself through one on one, who could have shot himself but rather squared it to Johnson. The ball ran away from Johnson preventing him from knocking the ball into an open net.
An open start to the second half.
Kesler-Hayden was noticeably receiving a lot more of the ball and suddenly the home fans were audibly more vocal.
On 57 minutes Jonny Williams replaced Anthony Grant for the home side.
Two minutes before the hour mark and Williams broke down the left for Swindon, knocking the ball in which was clinically converted by Simpson from a few yards – his first chance of the game.
A minute later Mansfield responded, Gordon playing the ball into the area and Johnson’s shot was deflected for a corner on the far side.
Mansfield’s final balls, and efforts on goal, were still not clinical enough at this stage of the game.
On 63 minutes Nigel Clough made his first change of the game, bringing on Rhys Oates for Danny Johnson.
Swindon were employing both of their wingers more, creating danger with each attack on either the left or right flank of their approach play in the second half.
Williams, on the end of good build up play by the home side, saw another shot from the edge of the box saved by Bishop.
Mansfield’s play in the final third was disappointing, emphasised with only 20 minutes of the game left to play.
Mansfield boss Nigel Clough makes his second change on 72 minutes, bringing on Sinclair for captain Clarke.
Sinclair, with his first touch, played a nicely weighted ball through for fellow substitute Oates who just couldn’t get his shot away.
With 15 minutes left to play, Mansfield had a free kick in a dangerous area on the left-hand side of the oppositions box. The ball was whipped in and appeared to fall over the line at the back post, but the decision wasn’t given, and Swindon cleared.
Ellis Iandolo came on for Gladwin on 76 minutes for the Robins.
With 12 minutes left of the game, Mansfield were having their best spell of the half – Sinclair proving to be a livewire since his introduction to the game.
Good harassing and closing down of the ball by Oates, won Mansfield an unlikely free kick with ten minutes left – the resulting kick was very disappointing though from Sinclair.
Mansfield came alive in the previous ten minutes, since the inspired Tyrese Sinclair entered proceedings.
On 83 minutes Harry McKirdy was brought on for the Robins, replacing Tyreece Simpson.
Payne blasted over with five minutes left to play, which could have further wrapped up the points for his side.
Jordan Bowery came on for Mansfield with four minutes remaining, replacing Lapslie.
Odimayo received a yellow card after illegally breaking down a Mansfield attack, and then holding onto the ball preventing the Stags from taking a quick free kick.
Sinclair, from 25 yards out, hits the resulting free kick high over the bar.
Spurred on by seven minutes being shown by the assistant referee of time left to play, the ball fell kindly for Oli Hawkins whose volley was tamely hit and easy for the Wollacott to save.
Minutes later another good chance, this time for Bowery, was yet again not converted by the Stags.
Reed smashed a pile-driver of a free kick against the Mansfield upright with only seconds of the game remaining.
Mansfield’s next match is away at Harrogate Town in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday 31st August.
SWINDON XI: Wollacott, Odimayo, Conroy (Captain), Crichlow, Gladwin, Simpson, Payne, Kesler-Hayden, Hunt, Reed, Grant
UNUSED SUBS: Ward, Mitchell-Lawson, East, Parsons
STAGS XI: Bishop, Gordon, McLaughlin, Hewitt, Rawson, Clarke (C) (Sinclair, 72'), Maris, Johnson (Oates 64'), Hawkins, Quinn, Lapslie (Bowery 86').
UNUSED SUBS: Charsley, Shelvey, Burke, J. Clarke.
REFEREE: Robert Madley
ASSISTANTS: Garry Maskell & Thomas Harty
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Mark Derrian