Full Time Score Cheltenham Town 2-2 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue The Jonny-Rocks Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Tyler Walker (2)
Attendance 2,828 (404)
Craig Priest writes…
After Tuesday evening’s win at Crewe, the Stags faithful had renewed hope that after months of waiting they’d get back to back league wins yesterday as they headed for Cheltenham, alas dreams were shattered as following a first half where Mansfield weren’t at the races, it took a photo finish and Tyler Walker, to rescue what in the end, was a deserved point.
It’s extremely frustrating that against a struggling team we’ve not taken full advantage but I think that a little bit of arrogance crept it and slapped us sharply around the face. We scored a good team goal early doors and thought we were onto an easy afternoon and backed off Cheltenham twice – two chances they took full advantage of to lead at the break.
To our credit we woke up at half time and began the comeback with a change of shape again giving us the freedom to attack – huge credit to Flitcroft for throwing Craig Davies on early and going 4-2-4, I’d be foaming at the mouth this morning if we’d have accepted our fate and lost 2-1.
Cheltenham did what every scrapping team do, got under our skin and drank from our cup of arrogance, we are fortunate that other than a little scuffle we ignored it and focussed on the task at hand – achieving it dramatically late after seeing the hosts throw themselves at everything.
Throughout the second half I was under no fear that we’d lose the game, I always felt an equaliser was coming and to be fair had we broken the hosts’ barrier earlier, I 100% think we’d be talking about back to back wins right now.
As it is, we’re not and as annoyed as we might be, we haven’t lost and we have learned lessons – there’s no place for arrogance, just place for hunger and desire and after scoring so dramatically, we’ve taken that sucker punch that we were feeling a month or so ago and turned it on its head.
We now have a run of home matches which means we’ve more time to work on our shortcomings – we need to improve at home and we start, quick and fast, on Tuesday against Grimsby.
Unsurprisingly it was as you were with the starting line-up, back from suspension Ryan Sweeney settling for a place on the bench, as did youngster Alistar Smith, given shirt number 30 after impressing whilst out on loan at Frickley Athletic – another sign we’re developing and giving hungry players the opportunity.
The stags started well in midweek and were at it again, taking the lead after just seven minutes after Mal Benning’s pin point deep cross was headed expertly home by Tyler Walker.
Cheltenham then came out of the traps in search of a reply and were denied by Olejnik in the Stags goal who palmed over an effort from Luke Varney on ten minutes, from the resulting corner however the hosts had their leveller, Ben Tozer unmarked from the second phase of play to turn home.
Timi Elsnik came closest to getting the Stags back ahead with a curling effort on 24 minutes, before four minutes before the break Danny Rose was denied a certain goal by Tozer.
Ex-stag Chris Clements was denied by Olejnik seconds later but right on the stroke of half time, Mansfield conceded a sloppy goal as they allowed Will Boyle to head home from a tight angle.
After the break the Stags moved CJ Hamilton up front in a 4-3-3 and began their hunt for a comeback, Walker and Hamilton caused the most danger but the hosts threw everything in the way.
On 67 Minutes Bishop made way for Davies as the Stags went four up front and continued with their onslaught of the Cheltenham goal, Walker, Hamilton, Mellis and Elsnik all seeing efforts blocked or drop wide as the clock ticked down.
Mansfield did not want to surrender their unbeaten away record and in the third minute of five added on, Tyler Walker grabbed a dramatic late equaliser – poking home from close range to rescue a point.
FULL TIME: Cheltenham Town 2-2 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Hayden White (Will Atkinson 79), Krystain Pearce ©, Matt Preston, CJ Hamilton, Neal Bishop (Craig Davies 69), Jacob Mellis, Mal Benning, Timi Elsnik, Tyler Walker, Danny Rose
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Jordan Graham, Alistar Smith [#30]
Referee: Neil Hair
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