Mansfield Town suffer first defeat of 2022 after injury-time drama at Tranmere Rovers

Mansfield Town’s brilliant unbeaten run is over as they were sunk by play-off-chasing rivals Tranmere.

Friday, 11th March 2022, 9:54 pm
Updated Friday, 11th March 2022, 9:59 pm

Supersub Elliott Nevitt’s two late goals consigned the Stags to a first defeat since November in what was a bruising encounter at Prenton Park.

Stags boss Nigel Clough had made just the single alteration to his starting line-up following the victory over Exeter seven days earlier.

The tweak came up top, with Ollie Hawkins coming straight back following his suspension, with Jordan Bowery dropping to the bench.

Peter Clarke celebrates his early first half goal in Tranmere Rovers' 3-2 win over Mansfield Town.

Rovers were clearly fired up straight from the kick-off, and they stormed ahead inside five minutes.

Calum MacDonald nodded the ball into the danger zone, and unmarked skipper Peter Clarke took advantage of a static-looking Stags defence as he gleefully headed home from six yards.

A feisty clash saw a number of crunching tackles from both sides, with Lucas Akins being forced off early for the visitors.

Matty Longstaff saw a shot blocked, while bang on the half-hour mark Jamie Murphy found space in the Rovers box before seeing a low drive deflected off target.

Matty Lonstaff celebrates his first half equaliser in Mansfield Town's 3-2 defeat against Tranmere Rovers.

Deep into first-half added time the Stags levelled when Longstaff charged in to convert Stephen McLaughlin’s clipped cross from the tightest of angles.

Shortly after the restart Rovers went close again when Paul Glatzel’s close-range strike flicked off Stags defender Elliott Hewitt before fizzing inches over the top.

Josh McPake then struck a post with a shot from an acute angle.

Rovers sub Josh Hawkes fired wide from 20 yards as the hosts were now on top, but the Stags’ back line was also looking comfortable as the final 20 minutes approached.

However, Nevitt made it 2-1 in the 76th minute when he converted Lewis Warrington’s precise through-ball.

Ollie Hawkins headed home Murphy’s corner in the 92nd minute as the Stags levelled it again, before Nevitt smashed clinically into the top corner three minutes later.

Tranmere: Murphy, Dacres-Cogley, Davies, Clarke, MacDonald, Morris (Hawkes, 29), Warrington, O’Connor, Glatzel (Nevitt, 55), McPake (Foley, 89), Hemmings.

Unused subs: Doohan, Knight-Percival, Jolley, McManaman.

Stags: Bishop, Hewitt, Rawson (Lapslie, 85), McLaughlin, Murphy, Quinn (Perch, 64), Longstaff, Oates, Hawkins, Stirk, Akins (Maris, 19).

Unused subs: Stech, Clarke, Bowery, Wallace.

Referee: Andy Haines.

Att: 7,857