Mansfield Town’s automatic promotion hopes suffered a huge blow as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat at League Two strugglers Forest Green Rovers this afternoon.
Journeyman striker Reuben Reid fired Rovers in front eight minutes after the break and Dayle Grubb’s angled drive 12 minutes from time settled matters.
And to make matters worse for the Stags, they were reduced to 10 men when captain Krystian Pearce collected a second yellow card and was sent off in the 83rd minute.
It was a day to forget for new manager David Flitcroft, who has yet to taste victory since taking charge four games ago. Mansfield’s first defeat in seven games saw them drop to seventh in the table.
The visitors should have known it was not going to be their day when they lost star striker Danny Rose to injury, the 17-goal top-scorer limping off after just four minutes.
Forced to abandon Plan A, Flitcroft ordered a switch to a 4-4-2 system and the Stags were further discomfited when Forest Green midfielder Dayle Grubb clipped the cross bar with a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area, the nearest either side came to breaking the deadlock in a sterile opening 45 minutes.
Although the Stags had the edge in terms of possession and territory, they found clear-cut chances hard to come by in a first-half in which Rovers keeper Brad Collins was called into meaningful action only once, standing his ground to keep out Will Atkinson’s rising shot.
Forest Green took charge after the break and Reid stabbed home from close range after Pearce made a hash of clearing a cross from Osbourne.
Substitute Ricky Miller came within a whisker of conjuring an equaliser, sending a low drive inches beyond the far post. But that was as close as the Stags came.
Rovers finished the stronger of the two sides and Grubb beat Logan with an angled strike from just inside the box.
Booked in the first half, Pearce was then given his marching orders by referee Antony Coggins after checking Rovers forward Tahvon Campbell.
Forest Green (4-4-2): B Collins; Bennett, Gunning, Hollis, Wishart; Bray (Laird 85), Osbourne, L Collins (Clements 90), Grubb; Campbell, Reid. Subs not used: Belford, Brown, Simpson, Cooper.
Mansfield (4-3-3): Logan; Bennett, Pearce, White, Benning; Byrom (Spencer 78), Angol (Miller 60), Atkinson; MacDonald, Rose (Hamilton 4), Hemmings. Subs not used: Olejnik, Digby, Anderson, King.