A dramatic, heartbreaking finale sabotaged a rousing fightback by Mansfield RUFC to halt their run of impressive winning form at home.
Mansfield had recovered from 26-12 down to draw level at 26-26 with barely two minutes on the clock of their National League, Midlands 3 East (North) division match against Rolls-Royce.
But cruelly, they were denied at least a share of the spoils when fellow mid-tablers Rolls had the last laugh, breaking out from midfield and registering a last-gasp score to grab a 31-26 victory.
Disappointed head coach Wayne Robinson said: “We played really well in parts and our forwards were impressive. But we had the opportunity to potentially win the game late on, and we didn’t take it.”
Rolls were first on the scoreboard, scoring a try that was converted. But the blue-and-whites responded well, and after the ball had been plucked out of the air, centre Steve Mower scored.
Again the visitors surged ahead with a try and conversion to lead 14-5 at half-time. But again Mansfield came back as Joe Ducker ran past three would-be tacklers to touch down, with Conor Taylor’s conversion cutting the deficit to two points once more.
The match seemed to be taken out of their grasp when Rolls added the next 12 points. But it merely galvanised the hosts and when Phil Pogmore carried three men over the line for a try, the comeback was on, driven by second rower Gareth Gripton and man-of-the-match Mark Wallace.
A try from coach Robinson himself, coupled with two more conversions in a kicking masterclass by Taylor, brought Mansfield level. But somehow they let it slip. This Saturday, they travel to Ashby.