Mansfield Town fell to a narrow 4-3 defeat against Forest Green Rovers after Aaron Collins’ injury-time winner at One Call Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
CJ Hamilton and Danny Rose gave their side a deserved two-goal lead before Farrend Rawson pulled one back on the stroke of half time.
Thereafter, another header from Rawson and a deflected Carl Winchester strike turned the tide until Nicky Maynard thought he had snatched a point with his calm, 90th-minute finish.
But there proved to be even more drama when substitute Collins smashed home from inside the area to condemn defeat upon the amber and blue.
Graham Coughlan signalled four changes to his starting line-up to face promotion contenders Forest Green.
Bobby Olejnik, James Clarke, Ryan Sweeney and Will Tomlinson all returned as the latter two had fully recovered from their respective injuries.
Mansfield made a blistering start to proceedings in NG18, with Maynard clattering into Adam Smith as both players contested the same ball held up in windy conditions.
However, the hosts would soon capitalise upon a defensive lapse in concentration.
A floated ball into the area was nodded down by Alex MacDonald and when neither Joseph Mills nor Smith claimed possession, Hamilton nipped in front to open the scoring.
Their intent never threatened to fizzle out and were only denied a second by the offside flag.
Maynard pounced onto Rose’s blocked effort to turn home from point-blank range, although the striker was judged to have been the wrong side of the last defender.
Forest Green were naturally beginning to gain a foothold in the contest but Mansfield were equally holding firm at the back.
There was an injury blow to Tomlinson who, after only just recovering to start Saturday’s fixture, had to be withdrawn. Alistair Smith subsequently entered the fray.
Jack Aitchison’s rasping drive had Olejnik scrambling across his goal line before an instinctual touch turned Liam Kitching’s header over.
And it proved to be vital.
Less than one minute later, Rose was alive to MacDonald’s near-side throw and he gladly steered home with a neat, glancing flick.
The away side struck a determined tone at the end of the first period, which contributed to an action-packed few minutes in Nottinghamshire.
Another smart save from Olejnik kept Rovers at bay before the Stags broke with pace towards the opposite end. Maynard twice watched his efforts be smothered prior to Hamilton’s clever shot connecting with the base of the upright.
Mark Cooper’s side halved the deficit in the dying embers of the first period – Rawson turning home Mills’ pinpoint cross – and it left the Sky Bet League Two contest curiously poised.
Into the second half and it was yet another rapid opening for the hosts. Smith was released by Maynard on the turn but the low effort was gathered by his namesake.
Rovers, though, still posed a threat and turned the game on its head within eight second-half minutes.
Rawson claimed his second of the afternoon with another header from a set-piece before Winchester’s deflected strike beat Olejnik to nestle into the bottom corner.
Benning then traversed forward, into the area, but the referee quickly waved away penalty appeals as the left-back fell to ground.
Junior Mondal was left unattended at the back post but the forward was unable to connect as he sought to volley home a fourth.
Although, more drama ensued under the floodlights in the East Midlands.
Youngster James Clarke pulled a remarkable touch and pass from nowhere to find Maynard through a crowd of bodies, and the striker curled in against the underside of the bar.
This came six minutes before Collins’ calm finish with almost the last kick of the game; sealing victory for the visitors.
The Stags’ next Sky Bet League Two contest is on Saturday 18 January as they travel to Home Park to face Plymouth Argyle.
STAGS XI: Olejnik (GK), Benning, Preston, Bishop, MacDonald (Khan 73’), Maynard, Tomlinson (Smith 36’), Sweeney ©, Clarke, Hamilton, Rose (Cook 63’).
UNUSED SUBS: Stone (GK), White, Davies, Knowles.
FOREST GREEN XI: Smith (GK), Bernard, Rawson, Winchester, Adams, Brown (Collins 75’), Kitching, Mills ©, Mondal, March (McCoulsky 69’), Aitchison (Frear 73’).
UNUSED SUBS: Thomas (GK), Mills, Collins, Dawson, McGinley.
REFEREE: Graham Salisbury
ASSISTANTS: Billy Smallwood & David Avent
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Ravel Cheosiaua
ATTENDANCE: 3,956 (115 away)