Doncaster Rovers 2-2 Mansfield Town (EFL League Two) 15.08.2023
A high-octane, end-to-end League Two encounter, saw Mansfield Town twice come from behind at the Eco-Power Stadium to stretch their unbeaten start to the season to four following a 2-2 draw, but it came at a cost.
Although both sides scored in each half, the Stags would suffer injuries to four, key players, including defender Alfie Kilgour who’s ruptured Achilles tendon not only means he misses the rest of the current campaign, but will be side-lined for around a year.
Alongside Kilgour’s injury, inside the opening fifteen minutes, Nigel Clough’s side also lost that of Callum Johnson (hamstring), Aaron Lewis (calf), and Hiram Boateng (groin) to injuries as last season’s curse returned to haunt them; Kilgour, he’ll now undergo scans, and surgery, as he not only misses the rest of this season, and can be side-lined for up to a year.
The Stags would hit Ian Lawlor, in the home goal, upright after a dozen minutes when Kilgour, six yards out, headed Aden Flint’s cross goal-wards; Tom Nixon, on loan at Rovers from Hull City, would volley home the opening goal though, on his debut for the hosts after an effort from George Broadbent was blocked outside the box, the Stags at sixes-and-sevens with Kilgour, and Johnson, departing either side of his effort.
Both sides then had efforts as the game continued to open up Tommy Rowe and Luke Molyneux for the hosts, Lucas Akins the visitors, the latter following a mazy run but saw the resulting shot matched by Lawlor in the home goal.
Rovers would hold their lead however until just before the interval when a cross for visiting striker, Rhys Oates, was headed home at the back post by Louis Reed, his first for the Stags as the two sides went in level at the break.
The Stags would lose Aaron Lewis to injury at the break, and Hiram Boateng just before the hour mark, as the medical room began to fill up, Will Swan and George Maris replacing the departees respectively.
Chances came-and-went during the second half, but neither could find the breakthrough that mattered, the Stags coming close themselves following a goalmouth scramble which saw both Baily Cargill, and Aden Flint, have prodded efforts, but to no avail.
Joe Ironside restored Rovers’ lead as the contest headed into the final, quarter hour after a shot from Rowe was blocked and the rebound was fired past Christy Pym; that lead however lasted just four minutes when Maris, on for the injured Boateng, found himself working enough space and firing a 20-yard effort past Ian Lawlor to earn a share of the spoils, following good work from Stephen Quinn.
Akins had a chance to win it in stoppage time as well, however, having caused chaos in the Rovers defence, saw his effort take a deflection into Lawlor’s side-netting as the score’s remained even.
Afterwards, Stags boss, Clough, said of the loss of Kilgour: “It’s a massive blow and we’re all devastated for Alfie first and foremost.
“It was so innocuous. Alfie stepped back with no-one near him.
“He’ll be out for nine to twelve months and might be fit for next pre-season.
“His form, his presence and performances since coming into the club in January have been immaculate.
“He’ll have a scan to confirm, [and then] an operation as soon as possible. He’ll be in a boot for a while and will then start the long road to recovery,” read more here.
Next up for the Stags, a trip to Grimsby Town this coming Saturday (19 August) as Nigel Clough looks to re-shuffle, a suddenly injury-depleted, side.
Stags: Christy Pym, Callum Johnson (Hiram Boateng 23 (George Maris 58)), Alfie Kilgour (Jordan Bowery 17), Aden Flint, Baily Cargill, Louis Reed, Aaron Lewis (Will Swan 45), Stephen Quinn (Ollie Clarke 88), Davis Keillor-Dunn, Rhys Oates, Lucas Akins.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc Alfie Kilgour suffers injury at Doncaster.