It ended in bitter disappointment for the Stags as what looked to be three points with a few minutes to go ended with none, as Swindon Supermarine came back from 2-1 down to take the spoils 3-2.
A new look Stags side came out looking up for it from the start, with Rohdell Gordon bursting through down the right in the first minute and flashing a cross across the penalty area which eluded everyone. Despite a nervy first 15 from the Stags where things were rushed a bit, Cheyce Grant cut inside from the right on 8 minutes and unleashed a left foot shot that looked destined to test the keeper, bit Arel Amu just couldn’t get out of the way in time and it ricocheted off his back along the way.
Swindon’s first real chance came after ten minutes when a foul on the edge of the box saw the resulting free kick pushed away by Alex Tokarczyk down low to his left. He then kept us in it halfway through the first half with another fine parry following a Swindon counter after we’d lost possession in their half.
A strong penalty shout came on 33 minutes with what looked to be handball in the Swindon box, but that was soon forgotten as Cheyce was taken out on the right hand side of the box moments later. Brendan Murphy-McVey whipped in the free kick, the ball was knocked down and defender Joe Morrison was on hand to slam it home from 8 yards to give the Stags the lead.
A few minutes later, Michael Atkinson hit a lovely shot from 25 yards which the Swindon keeper did really well to save and the first half ended 1-0 in the Stags’ favour.
The second half started strongly for Swindon and they had much the better of the first 15 minutes or so. Another good save down low from Alex and a cross flashed into the box which went unchallenged showed that the visitors were knocking on the door. Spalding dragged a shot wide when he should have done better and another strike whistled over the bar on the hour, but then the pressure paid off as Supermarine hit the equaliser from a sweet strike from Campbell on the left hand side of the area.
This seemed to stir the Casuals back into life though. Some good work in midfield and a nice ball to Manos from Cheyce saw him sprint past the defender who dragged him down in the box. Penalty given, which was smashed into the roof of the net by Rohdell to put the Stags back into the lead. A crucial moment in the game came on 75 when Brendan lined up a free kick on the left edge of the box and curled it towards the keeper’s top left, only for the ball to come back off the bar. We’d soon be left cursing that crossbar…
An injury to Nathan Webb on 82 saw George Pilbeam enter the fray and Ryheem Sheckleford was shown yellow a few minutes later for apparent time wasting at a throw in. The Stags could almost smell the 3 points with just three minutes to go, but then it all turned sour. Jay Gasson appeared to have the shirt virtually ripped off his back in the Stags area but this went unpunished and Swindon got a free kick to the right of the area seconds later. The cross was headed out but picked up by Kane Simpson who smashed it low past Alex’s left.
Then heartbreak in the fourth minute of injury time. Again a set piece from the left which wasn’t dealt with in the box, the ball falling again to Kane Simpson who smashed it home from 8 yards to send the Swindon fans into jubilation and crush the visiting Stags fans who had made so much noise throughout the 90 minutes.
A harsh way for the game to finish and a bit for the management to mull over, but at the same time there were plenty of positives to take into our first home game on Tuesday night against Farnborough.
Thanks to all the travelling fans who were superb as always.