Calvin Andrew’s dramatic stoppage-time winner earned our second-string a fantastic 2-1 victory over Rotherham United at One Call Stadium tonight.
Andrew converted Keiran Murtagh’s corner in the third minute of added time to maintain our 100% start to the Central League (East Division) campaign.
Jake Speight put The Stags into an early lead after just three minutes, when he slotted home following Colin Daniel’s low cross to the far-post.
But Rotherham, who dominated in the first half, equalised thanks to Francois Zoko’s pin-point header shortly before half-time.
Liam Mitchell also produced a number of fine saves during the encounter to keep The Millers, whose strike-force included Matt Tubbs and Danny Hylton, at bay.
On a cool night at One Call Stadium, The Stags raced into an early lead when Junior Daniel’s left-sided cross was bundled home at the far-post by Speight after just three minutes.
Rotherham responded strongly, however, and Zoko blazed high and wide from inside the area, in the visitors’ first chance of the match.
Stags’ keeper Mitchell kept out a header by Zoko, before John McCombe’s last-ditch clearance denied The Millers an equaliser on 25 minutes.
Steve Evans’ men enjoyed almost a dozen corners in the first half, but it was from open play that they almost forced an equaliser on the half-hour mark.
Mitchell, who just seconds earlier had saved a superb volley by Hylton, reacted quickly to deny Salem Kerkar in a one-on-one, before Hylton struck the woodwork with the rebound.
Ryan Tafazolli was also in the thick of the action; bravely blocking separate attempts by Hylton and Kerkar, as Rotherham dominated.
It seemed inevitable that The Millers would eventually equalise and that proved to be the case on 35 minutes.
McCombe’s foul on Kerkar out on the left, allowed Tidser to float an inviting ball into the six-yard box, which Zoko was able to guide beyond Mitchell.
Both teams had chances to take the lead within minutes after the re-start.
Rotherham’s Tidser saw a high 30-yard free-kick caught by Mitchell, whilst at the other end, Speight was denied by Adam Collin in a one-on-one.
Chances were then at a premium until 69 minutes, when Speight let fly with an ambitious low strike from the edge of the area, which was just wide.
Tubbs almost put The Millers ahead moments later, but in a one-on-one, the striker was denied courtesy of an acrobatic save by the impressive Mitchell.
The Stags ended the match strongly and Andrew had a low drive well-saved by Collin, after the striker worked his way into empty space.
On 82 minutes, a back-post free-kick by Murtagh agonisingly evaded both Tafazolli and Andrew, when any connection would have been decisive.
However, there was to be one dramatic late twist, which came in the third minute of added time.
Murtagh’s corner found Andrew on the edge of the six-yard box, and after his initial shot was blocked, the striker fired home at the second attempt.
Team: Mitchell, Marsden, McCombe, Tafazolli, Daniel, Meikle, Howell, Murtagh, Briscoe, Andrew, Speight.