A late goal for Plymouth Argyle yesterday sunk Mansfield Town down to 11th as their poor run of form continued. Stags played some great stuff early on but again failed to find the net, meaning they are now 338 minutes, excluding time added on, without a goal.
Cox was forced to ring the changes with Dempster and Jennings both suspended, with fellow defender Martin Riley also injured he was forced to recall George Pilkington from his loan spell at Forest Green Rovers, the experienced defender came straight into the side as one of five changes to make his first start in a Stags shirt since the 4-1 hammering at Cambridge United in October last year.
Goalkeeper Alan Marriott failed a late fitness test which saw Liam Mitchell handed a league debut, along with Pilkington also returning to the side were John McCombe, Ben Hutchinson and Ritchie Sutton.
The Stags began rampant playing some mouth-watering football on the deck, splitting open a fragile and stretched Argyle defence on numerous occasions, winning two early corners yet despite pinpoint deliveries from Hutchinson, the visitors were given a let off as Matt Rhead was judged to have fouled his marker.
On ten minutes home debutant Jack Blake earned a corner with a rasping shot which deflected behind following flowing football between him, Hutchinson, Clucas and Rhead. The corner was again pinpoint and headed away into captain for the day Jamie McGuires path, sadly the terrier-esc midfielder failed to keep his volley down.
Three minutes later Lee Beevers and Matt Rhead split the visitors open with a 1-2 down the right hand side, Beevers provided the drilled cross which saw Clucas denied from point blank range by the keeper.
Stags came close again on 26 minutes when Beevers was the unlikely source heading over Hutchinson’s corner, moments later Liam Mitchell was on hand to keep out a stray shot as the visitors had a rare sight of goal.
Mansfield failed to maintain their tempo and resulting to a more direct game, the half soon fizzled out and the sides headed into the dressing rooms for the break on level terms. After the restart the visitors began to look lively causing Mitchell to deny Reid after good interchanging play.
Matt Rhead was then provider on 50 minutes with a sweeping cross from the right hand side, Ben Hutchinson miscued his effort much to the visitors relief. Seconds later it was roles reversed, Rhead denied by the well placed keeper.
On the hour mark Junior Daniel stood over a well placed free kick however failed to keep hid effort on target, firing into the Quarry Lane End – this became the story of the remainder of the game as Mansfield struggled to find their shooting boots.
It looked likely the game would end goalless and give Stags their third consecutive 0-0 draw, however in the second minute of four added on, a deep free kick from the visitors saw them grab the winner as Trotman beat Liam Mitchell to the looping delivery and head into the gaping goal.
FULL TIME: Mansfield 0-1 Plymouth Argyle
Attendance: 3,379 (460)
Referee: Gary Sutton
Stags: Liam Mitchell, Lee Beevers, Ritchie Sutton, John McCombe, George Pilkington, Sam Clucas (Ollie Palmer 77), Jamie McGuire ©, Jack Blake, Junior Daniel, Ben Hutchinson (Lindon Meikle 82), Matt Rhead (Calvin Andrew 67)
Unused Subs: Paul Black, Keiran Murtagh, Lee Stevenson, Anthony Howell
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