10-man Mansfield Town are beaten in huge game at table-topping Forest Green Rovers

10-man Mansfield Town missed the chance to close the gap on the automatic League Two promotion places with a 1-0 defeat at table-topping Forest Green Rovers tonight.

Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 9:54 pm

Josh March bagged the only goal of the game on 14 minutes as the leaders opened up a healthy seven-point cushion at the summit and 12 points from fourth place.

Stags hopes then dipped when George Lapslie was sent off early in the second half to leave the Stags a goal and a man down at the New Lawn.

Nigel Clough’s side suffered their first defeat in five in one of their games in hand and sit in sixth, three points off the top three with a game in hand still.

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Shirt pulling during tonight's clash at Forest Green Rovers. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

Both sides were missing their top scorers with Rhys Oates (Stags) and Matty Stevens (Rovers) ruled out with injury.

Jordan Bowery came in for Oates with Keiran Wallace replacing Ryan Stirk in midfield.

Stags were the first to show as Stephen Quinn’s powerful strike whistled past the post.

And seconds later striker Lucas Akins squandered a great strike when he fired wide of the mark from close range. How different the night may have been had he found the target.

Lucas Akins attempts to bring the ball under control. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

Clough’s charges were on top and playing well so unfortunate to sudenly find themselves behind in the 14th minute as the excellent Nathan Bishop produced a great save to keep out Jamille Matt’s header before March turned home the rebound from the home side's first real foray into the Mansfield box.

It was almost two soon after but midfielder Nicky Cadden struck off target.

Stags’ stopper Bishop pulled off a good stop to deny March a second after he powered his way into the box.

Clough made a double change at the break as he took off booked pair Ollie Hawkins and Kieran Wallace.

Stags on tghe attack at Forest Green. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

But those plans were scuppered less than five minutes later as Lapslie was shown a straight red for a high challenge on Ebou Adams with the Mansfield bench furious over the decision.

The Stags found themselves under the pump with a barrage of balls into the box from the visitors.

And that forced Clough into his third and final change after just an hour as Danny Johnson came on up front to give them an extra outlet.

Welsh midfielder Stirk saw an effort go wide before Matty Longstaff fired a tough volley straight at Luke McGee as the visitors desperately tried in vain to fight their way back into proceedings.

FOREST GREEN: McGee, Sweeney, Moore-Taylor, Cargill, Wilson, Stevenson (Hendry, 83), Adams, Cadden, Aitchison, Matt, March. SUBS NOT USED: Godwin-Malife, Bernard, Young, Thomas, Diallo, McAteer.

STAGS: Bishop, Hewitt, O’Toole, Hawkins (Perch HT), McLaughlin, Wallace (Stirk HT), Lapslie, Quinn (Johnson, 60), Longstaff, Akins, Bowery. SUBS NOT USED: Stech, Law, Rawson, Maris.

REFEREE: Carl Brook.

ATTENDANCE: 2,784.