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Match Reports

Report: Forest Green Rovers 2-2 Stags

19 October 2019

Andy Cook’s second-half double completed a clinical Mansfield Town comeback as they secured a point against Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn.

Aaron Collins and Jack Aitchison both notched one goal apiece 15 minutes either side of the interval before the amber and blue mounted a second-half comeback.

Substitute Cook, introduced at half-time, netted his first two goals in Stags colours to ensure his side would leave Gloucestershire with a point.

The teamsheet signalled three changes from last Saturday’s romp at home to Oldham Athletic.

Matt Preston, Will Tomlinson and CJ Hamilton returned to the starting line-up in place of the suspended Ryan Sweeney and injured duo of Alex MacDonald and Danny Rose.

It seemed destined to be a feisty affair at the New Lawn as, inside 20 seconds, Dom Bernard picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon for a strong challenge on Mal Benning.

The battling nature continued throughout the opening periods before the hosts fashioned their first sight at goal.

Matty Stevens latched onto a reverse pass inside the area but a fine, timely challenge by Tomlinson ensured his strike would never reach Conrad Logan’s goal.

Nicky Maynard then sought to build upon his stellar display last weekend – having the ball stolen before he was able to pull the trigger from distance.

Soon after, Hamilton had beaten the Rovers’ back-line with a clever, bending run but his subsequent pass fell short of his intended target.

In the 24th minute, Stevens had another opportunity to break the deadlock but was thwarted by Logan who quickly narrowed the angle.

And a few moments later, the Stags’ goalkeeper was called into action yet again, this time to deny Collins.

However, on the half-hour mark he could do very little when Collins struck from distance.

A powerful, fizzing drive surged through a crowd of bodies and found its way into the back of the net to give his side the lead.

Mansfield were attempting to get themselves level via their first corner of the afternoon, although the delivery was too high for Preston who lurked beyond the far post.

The visitors then skipped several potentially heavy challenges as they made their way forward once more – Hamilton’s eventual effort, though, blocked by Ebou Adams.

Dempster opted for a change at the break, with Tomlinson making way for Cook, as the Stags searched for a route back into the afternoon’s contest.

The home side continued to find pockets of space in the early moments of the second period, highlighted when Stevens’ free header was diverted wide.

The Stags’ next change came thereafter when Hamilton made way for Dapo Afolayan.

And exactly on the hour mark Rovers doubled their advantage.

Aitchison was allowed too much space on the right-hand side of Logan’s box before sending a low effort nestling into the far corner.

But Mansfield, as they have done so often this season, would show signs of a comeback just three minutes later.

Substitute Cook leapt freely in the centre to power home beyond Lewis Thomas and halve the deficit in Nailsworth.

The amber and blue were then awarded a dangerously-placed free-kick but Maynard’s volley from the proceeding clearance was skewed above the bar.

And with 74 minutes on the clock, the Stags drew level to the jubilation of the 309 travelling contingent.

The initial goalscorer, Cook, latched onto possession on the edge of the area and squeezed his volleyed effort through the hands of Thomas and over the goal line.

His first two goals in Mansfield colours would set up a potential grandstand finish at the New Lawn.

Elliott Frear then found himself in the right place at the right time but dragged his shot wayward allowing the visiting side to clear.

The Stags’ latest Sky Bet League Two fixture was almost turned on its head in unbelievable fashion when Cook chested down, spun and forced a smart save from Thomas.

Six minutes of stoppage time remained for either side to find a late winner but it never came to fruition as both sides walked away with one point apiece.

Mansfield Town’s next Sky Bet League Two fixture arrives in the shape of Salford City at One Call Stadium this forthcoming Tuesday.

STAGS XI: Logan (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop, Khan, Maynard (Knowles 90+3’), Shaughnessy, Tomlinson (Cook 46’), Gordon, Hamilton (Afolayan 57’).

UNUSED SUBS: Olejnik (GK), Clarke, Sterling-James, Smith.

FOREST GREEN XI: Thomas (GK), Shephard, Bernard (Mondal 82’), Rawson, Winchester, Stevens, Collins (Frear 70’), Adams (Morton 90’), Kitching, Mills ©, Aitchison.

UNUSED SUBS: Wollacott (GK), Allen, Godwin-Malife, Taylor.

REFEREE: Ollie Yates

ASSISTANTS: Robert Dabbs & Mike Desborough

FOURTH OFFICIAL: Mark Derrien

ATTENDANCE: 2,276 (309 away)


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