Hamilton 3, Rose 40, Maynard 90


Rawson 45+5, 52, Winchester 60, Collins 90 +6

SUBSTITUTE Aaron Collins snatched a breathless 96th-minute winner for Forest Green in a pulsating seven-goal thriller at Mansfield Town.

Farrend Rawson was Forest Green’s unlikely hero as his brace saw Rovers come from 2-0 behind to snatch an improbable victory over shell-shocked Mansfield Town.

Centre-back Rawson, who has previously scored just two goals in 88 games for Forest Green, doubled his tally with a header in the fifth-minute of first-half stoppage-time after Mansfield had previously raced into a seemingly unassailable 2-0 lead through CJ Hamilton and Danny Rose. However, Rawson was on the spot again on 52 minutes and Carl Winchester completed the turnaround with a third on the hour. The goal tide continued with Nicky Maynard seemingly rescuing a point in the 90th-minute, but the drama wasn’t over as Collins pounced in the sixth-minute of injury time in a bonkers game.

As expected, Forest Green head coach Mark Cooper handed non-league hot-shot Josh March his debut after arriving from National League North Leamington earlier in the week. Captain Joseph Mills was passed fit to return to the starting eleven ahead of Nathan McGinley. Elsewhere, Dom Bernard replaced the injured Liam Shephard. Aaron Collins dropped to the bench where he was joined by Shawn McCoulsky following his loan spell with FC Halifax Town and Elliott Frear. Matty Stevens missed out altogether.

Culpable defending saw Rovers caught cold from the get-go – Hamilton pouncing on uncertainty between Rawson and Adam Smith to hand Mansfield the advantage after three minutes.

It was a full throttle start from the Stags and only a last-ditch Carl Winchester recovery tackle prevented Danny Rose making it two with just 13 minutes of a breathless first-half gone.

Looking to find their form after just one win in 10, Rovers started to find a foothold in the game – Winchester spanking one over the bar on the half-hour mark and Jack Aitchison fizzing wide from the edge of the box.

Rovers were upping the ante – Liam Kitching saw his thumping 38th- minute header gloved over by Bobby Olejnik from a Joseph Mills corner.

However, they were stung two minutes later as Mansfield made it two on 40 minutes. Rose leaped above a statuesque Rovers’ defence to glance home a header from Alex McDonald’s throw. Rovers riposte was immediate – March, who had seen little of the ball, forced a strong hand from Olejnik and moments later Olejnik denied Winchester with another sharp stop. It was end-to-end – Mansfield’s Hamilton hitting the post on the angle with Smith beaten. Deep into first-half stoppage- time Rovers were back in it – Joseph Mills put his free-kick on to the diving head of the unmarked Farrend Rawson.

Mansfield were out of the traps quickly – Smith having to drop quickly on an Alistair Smith strike after Nicky Maynard had turned Rawson. And it was Rawson who levelled the game on 52 minutes – nodding in again from an Aitchison corner. Eight minutes later the goal avalanche continued – Winchester rifling home from the edge of the box to cap a remarkable turnaround.

And just as Rovers thought they had the game done and dusted, Maynard was played in by James Clarke to snatch 9oth-minute parity.

It wasn’t over though – Collins got on the end of a Joseph Mills’ ball to bag the winner with virtually the last kick of a compelling clash.

Forest Green remain seventh, level with third-place Cheltenham Town on 44 points along with Crewe, Plymouth and Bradford in a congested League Two table

MANSFIELD TOWN: Olejnik, Benning, Preston, Bishop, MacDonald (Khan 73), Maynard, Tomlinson (Smith 35), Sweeney, Clarke, Hamilton, Rose (Cook 63)

Subs not used: Stone, White ,Davies ,Knowles


FOREST GREEN: Smith, Bernard, Kitching, Rawson, J Mills Winchester, Adams, Brown (Collins 76), Mondal, Aitchison (Frear 73), March (McCoulsky 69)

Subs not used: Thomas, M Mills, Collins, Dawson, McGinley

Bookings: Joseph Mills 80, Adams 88

Attendance: 3,956

Away fans:158

Referee: Graham Salisbury Star Man: Next up: Forest Green face a home game against Salford City next Saturday (3.00pm).