FOREST GREEN head coach Mark Cooper labelled his side’s performance as the best of the season after Forest Green relinquished a two-goal cushion.

Rovers led through a sumptuous first-half Aaron Collins’ goal, his third in four games, to hand Cooper's side the advantage in a fractious first-half, which featured four bookings.

And Rovers looked to have put the game to bed on 61 minutes when midfielder Ebou Adams burst forward and slipped in Celtic loanne Jack Aitchison, who picked his spot with a sweet finish to beat the sprawling Conrad Logan all ends up.

But Rovers’ lead lasted barely a minute as substitute Andy Cook planted a free header beyond Lewis Thomas from an Otis Khan delivery.

And Cook was on the spot again as his 74th minute strike squirmed through the gloves of Thomas to net parity.

Cook went close to a stunning second-half hat-trick, but Thomas did enough to get a glove onto his strike to deny the former Walsall forward.

“That was the best performance of the season,” said Cooper.

“We’re 2-0 up into the second-half and that’s the most one-sided game I’ve seen in a long time, sometimes you get the performance, but not the result you deserve.

“We had 21 shots and seven or eight on target. Our performance was spot on – we have to win the game.”

Cooper bemoaned two errors that allowed Mansfield to claw their way back into the game.

He added: “Individually you make sure you mark your man when the ball is in the box and keep the ball out of the net when it’s a daisy cutter and see the game out.

“Once we scored the second goal, we let them score straight away, just a lack of professionalism, but we should have enough nous on the pitch to make sure we go on and score a third or fourth.”

And it was rookie Mansfield Town boss John Dempster who lauded the impact of substitute Cook after his second-half brace rescued a point for the Stags at promotion-chasing Forest Green.

Dempster, 36, the youngest manager in the EFL, said: “After an hour we were disappointed, the quality was seriously lacking, and the players have held their hands up.

“They showed fantastic character and it’s a good win on the road and a real smash and grab.

“The first goal took a bit of a deflection, but our keeper kept us in it, we can do better, but it’s a good point and Cookie showed his quality with his double and really made a difference against one of the best teams we’ve faced this season.”