Stags Fall Apart To Lose Thriller

Mansfield Town 2-3 Bolton Wanderers (EFL League Two) 17.02.21

Mansfield Town were surprisingly beaten at home to Bolton Wanderers despite being 2-0 up with little less than a dozen minutes remaining of the match at the One Call Stadium this evening.

An energetic start to the first half saw an early booking for Harry Charsley who slid in dangerously on his opposite number Afolayan with just two minutes gone and the busy Mansfield midfielder was involved again, just a minute later, as his lofted pass was headed tamely at Gilks by Jamie Reid.

Bowery was next to test the gloves of the Bolton keeper on ten minutes before Perch received a booking on twelve but the Referee wasn’t quite so opinionated a minute later when he waved away the Stags claims for a penalty, Quinn brought down with nothing doing for Mr Coggins to report this time.

The former Burton midfielder Quinn then saw a shot blocked by his own man Bowery as his smashed effort towards goal hit the Mansfield striker’s backside and away from danger, Clarke then headed over after Charsley crossed in on 21. Chances coming and going for the ruing Mansfield’s men.

Bolton had their own attacks too, the inevitable result of Stags not scoring on top and as Afolayan hit the foot of the post on the half hour it looked like their best opportunity of the half was spurned. Bowery heading wide following a set play at the other end as the home side failed to take advantage of a perfectly swung Maris corner on 35.

Maddison was next to fire wide, this time for Bolton and minutes before half time, former Stag Alex Baptiste blocked Charsley’s effort to ensure the scores would stay level into the break.

Second half started and the teasing Maddison flashed the ball across face of goal with no Trotter near enough to turn home, Bowery sending in a teaser of his own, on 49 he crossed over Gilks which hit the top of the woodwork almost embarrassing the former Blackpool man. 1-1 on woodwork, nil-nil in reality.

That goalless scoreless predicament however didn’t last long… Bolton surprisingly took off their danger man Maddison and within a couple of minutes Ollie Clarke fired in a shot too hot for the Scot in the Wanderers net to hold… A powerful effort to put Mansfield one up on 65.

Then one became two as Bolton suddenly and swiftly fell apart, Jamie Reid next up to double Stags lead, Clough and co on the verge of number nine in a row unbeaten and a first win in three for Mansfield… Perhaps?

But as Stags fans streaming at home nervously counted down the clock for three vital points, Bolton never gave up and fought back with emphatic results, Declan John floating in a ball that eluded the Stags keeper Aidan Stone. Shot? Or cross? It didn’t matter to Bolton who halved the deficit on 79.

The Wanderers would level too, pressure telling, sub Benning deflecting into his own net, suddenly disaster on the cards from verge of victory. Mansfield’s turn to fall apart and fall apart they did. Bolton substitute Arthur Gnahoua with an 89th minute winner. How indeed did that happen?

The inquest will start into why and where on the night it went wrong, in truth Mansfield took their foot off the peddle when coasting, and pay for it they did, Manager Nigel Clough will now need to ensure the same doesn’t happen again, as they look to put the record straight and get back to winning ways on Saturday against Cambridge. From a potential nine unbeaten with 75 mins on the clock… Stags are now three without victory…. Oh how things can change in football to disappoint you.

Mansfield Town: Stone, Perch, Rawson, Sweeney, McLaughlin, Quinn (Benning 83), Maris, Clarke, Charsley, Reid, Bowery.

Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, Jones, Santos, Baptiste, John, Lee (Thomason 83), Williams, Isgrove (Miller 82), Maddison (Delfouneso 62), Afolayan (Gnahoua 72), Doyle.

Venue: Field Mill

*Main image @mansfieldtownfc action from the One Call as the Stags fall to a late Bolton goal flurry.

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