FOREST Green's automatic promotion hopes took a dent as they fell to their second successive away defeat against Mansfield Town. 

Tyler Walker's second half header was all that separated although there looked to be a foul on Lewis Ward in the build up. 

Mansfield, who ended the game with 10 men after Walker was sent off in added time, probably edged it slightly but Forest Green had their moments with Christian Doidge coming agonisingly close to equalising late on but the defeat means Rovers are now seven points adrift of the top three. 

Mark Cooper kept faith in the XI that dispatched Yeovil Town last Saturday. 

James Montgomery returned to the bench while Dayle Grubb travelled but didn't make the matchday squad.

The early exchanges were lively as the teams picked up where they left off from the last time they met last month. 

Both teams had decent opportunities in the opening 15 minutes as CJ Hamilton forced an early save from Lewis Ward while Junior Mondal had a similar chance down the other end. 

Hamilton was causing problems for Rovers and make-shift full-back Carl Winchester.

There was a slight heart in mouth moment when the winger drilled in a low cross which was almost turned into the net by Gunning but luckily it went just outside of the post. 

Mansfield applied late pressure at the end of the half and Gunning again gave Rovers fans another scare when Mal Benning's arrowed shot came off the defender and almost crept into the net but history was repeated and his blushes were spared. 

The Stags almost took the lead just two minutes into the second half when a cross was blocked by Joseph Mills and the ball fell to Tyler Walker whose shot from close range was saved brilliantly by the feet of Ward. 

Rovers grew into the second half and had a good spell. Williams had a great opportunity after Christian Doidge's switch set him free. He cut the ball onto his right foot to create an opening but his effort was blocked and went behind. 

Despite their improvement they rarely tested Smith. 

It was the hosts who broke the deadlock though on 69 minutes. Hamilton was played through and there was shouts for offside. His shot was well saved by Ward, the ball looped into the air and Walker pounced and got his head to it ahead of the keeper and it dropped into the net despite Mills' best effort to clear. 

Rovers were dealt a further blow when Gunning was forced off with 10 minutes to go through injury. Nathan McGinley replaced him while Cooper brought on Shawn McCoulsky to add more fire power and Forest Green responded well. 

Doidge missed a glorious chance when he had a free header from a corner but he glanced it wide on 84 minutes. Moments later, the striker teed up Mondal but his effort fizzed just wide. 

The big moment came on the 90th minute when Mondal set up Mills who sent the ball towards Doidge who hooked it goalwards and it looked destined for the top corner but it dropped inches over the bar. 

The game went well beyond the four minutes added time. Walker was sent off for an off the ball incident off the ball - believed to be swearing at an official but there was no time for Rovers to find a leveller as they drop to sixth.