Match report: Mansfield Town 4-2 Cheltenham

Mansfield's third goal
Mansfield's third goal

Will Atkinson and Alex MacDonald hit late goals as Mansfield Town boosted their play-off hopes with a 4-2 win over Cheltenham Town.

The Robins had mounted an unlikely second half fightback with Chris Hussey and Charlie Raglan levelling after CJ Hamilton gave Stags a 2-0 lead at the break.

The Stags celebrating in the first half

The Stags celebrating in the first half

But Atkinson headed home with 14 minutes to go before MacDonald wrapped it up in stoppage time.

Mansfield hit the front went Hamilton tapped home into an empty net on 42 minutes.

And he doubled that lead four minutes later when he calmly slotted home after getting away from his man.

Hamilton was denied a hat-trick by a smart save by Flinders as he attempted to round the keeper just after the restart.

Mansfield were pegged back after going two up

Mansfield were pegged back after going two up

Chris Hussey curled a beautiful free-kick home on 59 minutes, before Raglan glanced a header in from a corner.

Atkinson then headed home from a corner on 76 minutes seconds after Scott Flinders brilliantly kept out Jorge Grant.

MacDonald slotted home on the break to get his first goal after returning from injury.

Stags were able to name just one recognised striker for the visit of Cheltenham after injuries and suspensions hit hard.

Nicky Ajose was tasked with leading the line, while youth striker Zayn Hakeem was given a place on the bench.

Jacob Maddox blazed over from around 12 yards as the visitors enjoyed the first sniff at goal after 90 seconds.

Nicky Ajose had a fourth minute effort blocked by a defender as Stagsd looked to get going.

But, from that point, the game lapsed into a midfield battle as neither side failed to get a grip.

Kevin Dawson scuffed a long range effort on 22nd as the chances continued to be a rarity.

Neil Bishop failed to connect with a shot at the back post on 25 minutes after CJ Hamilton picked him out.

Mal Benning had to clear Conor Thomas’ cross from under his own crossbar seconds later.

Dawson was booked for what the referee saw a dive in the box on 31 minutes.

CJ Hamilton failed to pick out a bursting run from Jacob Mellis five minutes later following a Stags counter attack - before Dawson mopped up the danger.

Hamilton fired over with the aid of a deflection on 39 minutes as Stags showed signs of getting into their stride.

And the pressure paid off on 42 minutes when Hamilton bundled home into an empty net after Flinders had made an initial save.

There was a massive amount of fortune involved after Nicky Ajose’s attempted pass was nearly turned into his own net by a defending before being saved by the keeper.

It got even better on the stroke of half-time when Hamilton went clean through before cooly firing home.

Hamilton was denied a hat-trick by a smart save by Flinders as he attempted to round the keeper just after the restart.

Hussey curled a beautiful free-kick home on 59 minutes to the anger of the Stags fans and management.

And Charlie Raglan glanced a header home from a corner on 69 minutes to complete an unlikely comeback.

But Atkinson headed home at the back post on 76 minutes seconds after Scott Flinders brilliantly kept out Jorge Grant to send the One Call Stadium wild.

And the afternoon was made even sweeter when Alex MacDonald scored on the break with a cool finish seconds after coming on.

Mansfield Town: Smith; Sweeney, Pearce, Benning, Jones (Atkinson 45), Bishop, Tomlinson, Hamilton, Mellis, Grant (Turner), Ajose (MacDonald).

Subs: Logan, Khan, Atkinson, Smith, Hakeem.

Cheltenham Town: Flinders, Broom, Raglan, Tozer (Barnett 45), Boyle, Hussey, Dawson (Lloyd 85), Thomas, Tillson, Maddox (Waters 82), Varney.

Subs: Forster, Clements, Pring, Lapworth

Ref: Alan Young