Mansfield Town earn dramatic opening day win after Danny Johnson scores injury time penalty

Danny Johnson scored a penalty in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Mansfield Town beat Bristol Rovers 2-1.

By Stephen Thirkill
Saturday, 7th August 2021, 5:04 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th August 2021, 5:57 pm
Oli Hawkins heads Mansfield Town into the lead. Pic by Chris HOLLOWAY @ TheBiggerPicture.media
Oli Hawkins heads Mansfield Town into the lead. Pic by Chris HOLLOWAY @ TheBiggerPicture.media

A brilliant individual goal from Cian Harries looked to have rescued a 1-1 draw for Rovers.

But debutant Johnson kept his cool to send the keeper the wrong way after Oli Hawkins had been tugged in the box by Jack Baldwin

The visitors had played the last 13 minutes with 10 men after Paul Coutts was red carded for an off the ball incident.

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The match marked the return of fans to the One Call Stadium for a league game for the first time since the 1-0 win over Newport County on 15th February 2020.

They saw a feisty opening ten minutes, with crunching tackles flying in as the team’s battled for control of the game.

Farrend Rawson headed a Paul Coutts corner to safety on 16 minutes as chances continued to be at a premium.

Stephen Mcaughlin scuffed a free-kick into the Rovers’ defensive wall three minutes later.

George Maris was booked on 23 minutes after tripping Harvey Saunders from behind after Rawson gave the ball away.

Nathan Bishop saved at the feet of Harry Anderson following a poor first touch a minute later.

Ollie Clarke miscued from a Stephen Quinn cross with the goal begging on 29 minutes.

But Hawkins made no mistake three minutes before half-time when he headed home Gordon’s corner at the back post.

Anssi Jaakkola spilt a long-range Oates shot on 51 minutes for a home corner.

Oates had another shot blocked by Josh Grant from a 55th minute corner as Mansfield enjoyed a good spell.

But they were pegged back when Harries smashed a brilliant long range volley past Bishop on 61 minutes.

Saunders blazed over midway through the halfway point as Rovers began to look dangerous on the break.

Johnson found the side netting on 75 minutes as Mansfield hit on the break.

Coutts was given a straight red card two minutes later after appearing to slap Johnson on the back of the head.

Johnson and Hawins went close to winning it as Stags put the late pressure on.

And their reward came when Johnson stayed calm to fire Mansfield to a deserved opening day victory.

Mansfield Town: Bishop, Gordon, Rawson, Perch, McLaughlin, Maris (Stirk 90), O. Clarke, Quinn, Oates (Lapslie 69), Johnson, Hawkins.

Subs not used: Bowery, Shelvey, Burke, Sinclair, Clarke.

Bristol Rovers: Jaakkola, Hoole, Hughes, Harries, Anderton, Coutts, Grant, Anderson (Baldwin 80), Thomas (Taylor 79), Clarke (Westbrooke 31), Saunders

Subs not used: Belshaw, Spence, Baldwin, Liddle, Walker

Referee: Josh Smith.

Att: 6,346 (1388 away).