Mansfield Town 2-3 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 17, 2021 | By Chris Mann
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Arthur Gnahoua scored in the final minute of normal time as Bolton came from two-down to win 3-2 at Mansfield Town.

Trailing to second-half goals from Ollie Clarke and Jamie Reid, Wanderers - who had failed to register a single shot on target at that point - reduced the deficit with 11 minutes to play as a wayward cross from Declan John found a way into the top corner of Aidan Stone's net.

Stags substitute Malvind Benning put through his own goal with five minutes remaining and although many Trotters supporters would have been satisfied with a point under the circumstances, their team took all three when Gnahoua lashed home from the edge of the box with stoppage-time looming.

It was the first time Bolton had come from at least two goals down to claim victory on the road since January 2004, when they bounced back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 at Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League.

Ian Evatt made two changes to the team that started against Stevenage on Saturday as Kieran Lee and Lloyd Isgrove returned in place of the benched George Thomason and Nathan Delfouneso.

Wanderers have been on the receiving end of some dubious officiating in recent weeks - with Marcus Maddison and MJ Williams having red cards overturned in back-to-back games - and they made sure referee Antony Coggins had a decision to make inside three minutes when former Trotters loanee Harry Charsley went into the book for a late challenge on Oladapo Afolayan.

The first chance of the evening fell the way of the visitors, with Isgrove's switch from left to right perfectly weighted for Maddison, who cut inside before firing high over the crossbar with seven minutes played.

Mansfield's first opportunity arrived three minutes later as Jordan Bowery found space inside the box, but Matt Gilks was equal to his effort by making the save.

James Perch joined Charsley in the book moments later, with Isgrove this time on the receiving end of a late challenge right in front of the home dugout.

A stoppage allowed Gilks to receive treatment on 19 minutes after he landed awkwardly and remained on the ground whilst play continued, a period of time which saw Alex Baptiste clear the ball off the line as he denied his former club an opening goal.

Clarke headed over from Charsley's uncontested drop-ball once Gilks was cleared to continue, shortly before Isgrove saw a goalbound attempt blocked by Perch.

Bolton came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock on the half-hour as Afolayan broke towards the edge of the Mansfield box and firing low beyond Stone, only to see the ball bounce back off the inside of the post.

Bowery soon headed wide from a George Maris corner at the other end, while the final chance of the half saw Maddison prod wide from close range after Declan John's deflected strike had looped past a stranded Stone.

Despite a goalless opening 45 minutes, neither manager looked to change as the players returned for the second half, which began with Maddison cutting inside and firing wide within 90 seconds of the restart.

Bowery clipped the outside of a post with a mishit cross moments later, while Maddison's final act of the game saw him drill a ball across the face of the Mansfield goal soon after the hour.

Maddison was replaced by Delfouneso immediately after that chance had gone but the change failed to have the desired effect, as Wanderers fell behind on 65 minutes.

Gilks has been hugely dependable since taking the goalkeeping jersey in November but was at fault on this occasion, failing to get his weight behind the ball as he fumbled a long-range effort from Clarke into the net - giving the Stags a 1-0 lead.

Evatt responded by bringing Gnahoua on in place of Afolayan on 72 minutes but, yet again, the attacking change backfired as Reid found space between Baptiste and John before picking out the bottom corner of Gilks' goal.

It looked as though it would be a case of 'game over' for Wanderers at this point but they rallied and came close to getting a goal back five minutes later, with Lee clipping the post after he had been picked out by Delfouneso.

They did have the ball in the net with 11 minutes to play, however, as a wayward cross from John looped up and over Stone, finding the top corner to make it 2-1.

Then, the visitors suddenly found themselves back on level terms as John's corner was cleared back to the on-loan Swansea City defender, whose second attempt at a cross was turned into his own goal by the unfortunate Benning, who had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds.

Many would have been satisfied with a point at this stage but not Gnahoua, who received the ball from an uncharacteristically quiet Eoin Doyle, worked himself a yard of space on the edge of the box, and drilled low and hard into the corner to put Wanderers 3-2 up going into added time.

Five minutes were allocated for stoppages but there was to be no further goalmouth action, with the Trotters defending superbly to see out time and claim three points which had looked beyond them with a little over 10 minutes to play.

The win, Bolton's third in their last four outings, moves them up to 11th in the League Two table ahead of a weekend trip to struggling Southend United.

Mansfield Town: Stone, Perch, Rawson, Sweeney, McLaughlin, Quinn (Benning 83), Maris, O Clarke, Charsley, Reid, Bowery
Subs Not Used: Stech, O'Keeffe, O'Driscoll, J Sinclair, Law
Booked: Charsley, Perch
Goals: O Clarke 65, Reid 72

Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, John, Baptiste, Santos, Jones, Lee (Thomason 83), Williams, Isgrove (Miller 82), Afolayan (Gnahoua 72), Maddison (Delfouneso 62), Doyle
Subs Not Used: Comley, Tutte, Jackson
Goals: John 79, Benning 85(og), Gnahoua 89

Referee: Antony Coggins

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Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Salford City 29 45
8 Newport County 28 44
9 Bolton Wanderers 30 44
10 Carlisle United 26 43
11 Bradford City 28 40
View Full Standings >>


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