MATCH REPORT: Bristol Rovers 1, Mansfield Town 0

Mansfield Town's Matt Green is denied by the #bristol keeper  - Pic Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Matt Green is denied by the #bristol keeper - Pic Chris Holloway

Mansfield Town’s hopes of reaching the League Two play-offs were further dented by Matt Taylor’s 20th goal of the season at the Memorial Stadium as they were beaten 1-0 by Bristol Rovers.

The striker was presented with a simple tap-in at the far post by Cristian Montano’s 61st-minute cross from the left.

But it took a brilliant late save from Steve Mildenhall, who stuck out a left hand to keep out Lee Collins’ 87th-minute shot, to give Rovers a fourth successive win.

Stags are now down to 11th, five points short of the play-off places, with 10 games to go.

Krystian Pearce made an immediate return to the side.

Pearce had missed two games with suspension and also felt ill during the week, but was declared fit to play today as one of three changes.

Adam Chapman, who had an operation on his broken nose in midweek, was dropped to the bench while Junior Daniel was replaced by a fit-again Matty Blair, after illness last weekend, and Mitch Rose was given a start in midfield in place of James Baxendale.

Adi Yussuf began a five-game ban after being found guilty of urinating in public at Plymouth by the FA.

Mansfield lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with skipper Collins used just in front of the back-four and Matt Green playing as a lone striker.

For an hour it proved hugely effective in subduing a Rovers side who had netted nine goals in winning their previous three home games.

The home team were totally frustrated in a first half almost devoid of goalmouth action and a large crowd of 7,847, including 241 Stags fans, were kept quiet for long periods.

Jermaine Easter threatened for Rovers on 15 minutes when accepting a Montano pass inside the box, but Ryan Tafazolli executed a perfectly timed tackle to avert the danger.

The first half ended with Billy Bodin slicing wide of the Mansfield goal from the only worthwhile chance created by either side.

The second period began in more exciting fashion with Montano shooting straight at Mansfield keeper Scott Shearer, making a return to one of his former clubs.

Junior Daniel received a predictably hot reception from Rovers fans when introduced as a 54th-minute substitute for Matt Blair, having scored the goal that relegated the Pirates to the National League at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Shortly after the change Lambe fired over with the Stags’ first meaningful goal attempt following a good run by Chris Clements.

After Taylor’s goal, Mansfield sent on Chris Beardsley in place of Lambe to partner Green up front.

Beardsley had two half-chances from headers, but Mansfield ended up empty-handed.

ROVERS: (4-4-2): Mildenhall, J Clarke, Lockyer, McChrystal, Brown, Bodin, Lines (O Clarke 84), Mansell, Montano, Taylor (Harrison 88) Easter (McBurnie 62). Subs not used: Puddy, Leadbitter, Parkes, Broom.

STAGS: (4-1-4-1): Shearer, Alfei, Pearce, Tafozolli, Benning, Collins, Blair (Daniel 54), Rose (Thomas 89), Clements, Lambe (Beardsley 63), Green. Subs not used: Jensen, Chapman, McGuire, Baxendale.

REFEREE: Dean Whitestone of Northamptonshire.

ATTENDANCE: 7,847 (241 away).