Mansfield Town exited the Emirates FA Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Cheltenham Town on Sunday afternoon.
Stephen McLaughlin returned to the starting line-up to make an instant impact, firing home with only three minutes on the clock and placing his side in the driving seat.
Cheltenham, though, responded midway through the second period with an Alfie May curler before sealing their progression into the fourth round with Will Boyle’s crucial touch in extra-time.
Nigel Clough was forced into two changes from the side that defeated Salford City on Tuesday evening beginning with Corey O’Keeffe deputising for James Perch who reported feeling unwell earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Ollie Clarke was additionally ruled out after sustaining a knee injury in midweek and was replaced by the afternoon’s early goalscorer in Gloucestershire.
Jordan Bowery made headway down the left channel before setting McLaughlin to drive a fierce attempt towards the target, which carried too much power for goalkeeper Josh Griffiths to keep out.
A third-minute advantage did, however, mean Cheltenham rallied quickly into gear chalking up several set-pieces to pose a threat.
George Lloyd initially flicked Ben Tozer’s direct throw towards goal but Harry Charsley was positioned adequately to extinguish the danger prior to his acrobatic effort rebounding against the crossbar.
May then peeled free from the Robins’ latest corner yet miscued a first-time effort as they sought to utilise a training ground routine.
Soon after, the attacking midfielder whipped his side’s next effort narrowly beyond the frame of the goal from inside the area.
Mansfield retaliated following sustained the hosts’ sustained pressure but Charsley – as he eventually received possession via George Lapslie – had his effort blocked at source.
In the final moments, another dangerous delivery across the face of goal by Cheltenham made its way towards Lloyd, yet the No. 19 was unable to control the ball as Mal Benning took the opportunity to poke away.
Another intricate corner was unravelled by the home side minutes into the second period as Charlie Raglan’s blast was smothered by McLaughlin inside the area.
Michael Duff’s side continued their relentless onslaught towards the Mansfield goal but managed to tick across the hour-mark unscathed.
The Robins then had penalty appeals waved clear with their latest attack. Andy Williams bumped into O’Keeffe who rightfully stood his ground with referee Tom Nield remaining unmoved.
However, May was soon able to muster an equaliser.
Cutting in from the right-hand side, Cheltenham’s most lively outlet unleashed a curling effort that nestled into the far corner from the edge of the 18-yard box.
The Stags then worked an opening to try and retake the lead with Farrend Rawson laying off for Ryan Sweeney to slam home, albeit as the offside flag was simultaneously raised.
Another brilliantly carved out opportunity, which involved five Mansfield players, saw Jamie Reid’s strike on the spin blocked by skipper Tozer as extra-time loomed.
And substitute Andy Cook was then narrowly beaten in a foot race by Griffiths after a loose ball was sent back in the dying embers at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Into extra-time and Mansfield began the additional period as the brighter of the two sides.
Bowery slipped Reid through with a delightful pass behind the Cheltenham defence but his first-time strike was tipped wide by the ‘keeper down low.
Possession was unclaimed before Lapslie decided to take matters into his own hands, powerfully drilling the ball to cause a looping deflection that dropped agonisingly wide of the upright.
But for all of Mansfield’s defensive solidity, they were undone in the 110th minute.
Tozer launched another trademark long throw into a crowded penalty area and Boyle was the culprit who touched home from close range.
The amber and blue return on Wednesday evening when their latest away trip takes them to Oldham Athletic in Sky Bet League Two.
STAGS XI: Štěch (GK), O’Keeffe, Benning (J. Clarke 115'), Sweeney ©, Rawson, Charsley, Bowery, Maris (O’Driscoll 108’), Reid, McLaughlin (Cook 79’), Lapslie.
UNUSED SUBS: Stone (GK), Menayese.
CHELTENHAM XI: Griffiths (GK), Hussey (Freestone 46’), Tozer ©, Raglan (Addai 71), Thomas, May, Blair, Williams (Campbell 111’), Boyle, Lloyd (Azaz 56’), Chapman (Clements 106’)
UNUSED SUBS: Harris (GK), Long, Bowry
REFEREE: Tom Nield
ASSISTANTS: Mark Derrien & Michael Webb
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Lee Swabey