Mansfield Town were left to rue missed chances as they fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Cheltenham Town at Jonny-Rocks Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The amber and blue were in the ascendency from minute one and boasted the better chances throughout their latest Sky Bet League Two encounter.
Nicky Maynard and Will Tomlinson were both denied one-on-one by Owen Evans – the hosts’ rightful man of the match – before Reuben Reid climbed off the bench to claim all three points for the promotion-chasing side.
Graham Coughlan named an unchanged line-up in light of his side’s battle-hardened victory over Newport County.
Although, Joe Riley was restored to the fold after Matt Preston withdrew from training through injury earlier in the week.
Following Storm Dennis’ appearance last Saturday, conditions in Gloucestershire had reverted back to normal with Mansfield almost finding an instant breakthrough.
Harry Charsley lurked on the edge of the penalty area – looking to profit from Tomlinson’s aerial duel – but his volley that arrowed towards the top-right corner was deflected to safety.
The hosts, though, were quick to establish a foothold in the contest as Alfie May blasted over from a tight angle.
Maynard was slipped beyond Charlie Raglan into a one-on-one position but Evans read the striker’s intentions to carry possession wide, pouncing onto the ball without hesitation.
Minutes later, the Robins made inroads towards the edge of the area but Chris Clements found himself leaning back to strike above the crossbar.
Possession perhaps leaned in favour of Michael Duff’s charges, yet Mansfield were the ones who boasted the clear-cut opportunities – another falling their way on 35 minutes.
Danny Rose leaped and flicked a delicate header to the boot of Maynard; however, the No. 11’s attempt grazed the outside of the side netting and allowed Cheltenham to reset with a goal kick.
The home side duly built up another slick move that ended with May being centimetres away from nodding home the opener.
It was a half that Mansfield shaded in terms of goalscoring chances and the trend looked set to continue only five minutes into the second period.
Charsley harried the Robins’ rear-guard into squandering possession and the midfielder threaded towards Will Tomlinson, who was unable to beat Evans with his low, close-range effort.
A trio of substitutions followed – Conor Thomas, Alex Addai and Reid entering the fray – as the latter took nine minutes to break the deadlock.
A sweeping delivery from the right flank was met by the substitute who planted a firm header beyond Aidan Stone at point-blank range.
Neal Bishop powered towards goal but not through the crowded penalty area that faced him, before Hayden White’s teasing cross carried slightly too much weight for his teammates.
And it would prove to be last notable action as the Stags were unable to restore parity, despite their endeavours.
Coughlan’s side will seek to bounce back when they host table-toppers Swindon Town next Saturday.
STAGS XI: Stone (GK), White, Pearce, Bishop, Maynard, Watts (Davies 86’), Tomlinson, Sweeney, Hamilton, Charsley (Benning 71’), Rose.
UNUSED SUBS: Olejnik (GK), Evans, Riley, Clarke, Knowles.
CHELTENHAM XI: Evans (GK), Hussey, Tozer ©, Raglan, Clements (Thomas 56’), Broom, Boyle, Doyle-Hayes, May, Varney (Reid 56’), Nichols (Addai 56’).
UNUSED SUBS: Lovett (GK), Long, Sheaf, Greaves.
REFEREE: John Busby
ASSISTANTS: Oliver Bickle & Lisa Rashid
FOURTH OFFICIAL: John Flynn
ATTENDANCE: 3,274 (281 away)