Mansfield Town 2-1 Bristol Rovers (EFL League Two) 07.08.21
Mansfield Town left it late to win their opening League Two match of the season against Bristol Rovers as a Danny Johnson penalty in stoppage time gave the Stags all three points at Field Mill.
Ollie Hawkins opened up his account on his league debut with a bullet header into the corner of the Gas net on 42 minutes after Ollie Clarke crossed in to the former Ipswich and Portsmouth front man from the right.
Rovers were level just after the hour with a Cian Harris thunderbolt, volleying home from long range left footed, a goal of the season contender on the opening weekend of the campaign.
The away side however were reduced to ten men when Paul Coutts came together with Danny Johnson, appearing to strike the former Leyton Orient striker leaving the Referee no option but to send the defender off.
And in the dying seconds the Rovers self-destruct button was pushed again when Hawkins was wrestled inside the box by Hughes, a penalty awarded and dispatched by Johnson for another debut goal.
After the match, a delighted Johnson stated “It’s brilliant to have the fans back in and to win the first home game of the season with one of the last kicks of the game, that’s what football is all about.”
Whilst Manager Nigel Clough, equally as pleased with how his side kept their nerve, said “It was incredible to score the winner so late on.”
“To win in that manner on the opening day and have our two strikers get the goals. We had faith that one of them would get us the winning goal.”
Clough furthered “I didn’t think we were brilliant in the first-half but we got the goal that put us ahead. We settled down and played in patches, but probably not as well as we’ve played over the last couple of weeks in pre-season.”
“But when you have a big crowd with big expectations, I think it’s understandable that the players had a few nerves today. We’ll be much better from this point forwards.”
Mansfield Town: Bishop, Gordon, Rawson, Perch, McLaughlin, Maris (Stirk 90), Clarke, Quinn, Oates (Lapslie 90), Johnson, Hawkins.
Bristol Rovers: Jaakola, Hoole, Hughes, Anderton, Harries, Coutts, Grant, Anderson (Baldwin 81), Thomas (Taylor 81), Clarke (Westbrooke 32), Saunders.
Venue: Field Mill (6,342)
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc Danny Johnson scores a late debut winner.