Mansfield Town supporters’ nerves will be jangling on Saturday if the home game with Cheltenham Town is anything like last year’s extraordinary clash.
It was a game that had the whole stadium on the edge of their seats with five goals, three straight red cards and a stoppage time winner as Stags stole it 3-2.
Mansfield twice had to come from behind before CJ Hamilton won it at the death.
Cheltenham were ahead on 24 minutes when Harry Pell netted from the penalty spot after a foul by Krystian Pearce.
But 11 minutes later Alfie Potter set up Hamilton for the first of his brace from close range – his first Football League goal for the club.
The game then exploded on 41 minutes as Taylor Moore’s arm crashed into Danny Rose’s face.
Moore was shown a red card and irate Cheltenham boss Gary Johnson first wreaked his anger on Rose and then shoved Stags assistant boss Paul Raynor in the chest before being sent to the stands.
Nevertheless, the 10 men survived and numerical parity was restored when Hayden White’s bad tackle on Ilias Chatzitheodoridis on 67 minutes saw him also red-carded.
It was Mansfield’s first red card of the season with over half of it already gone.
It clearly lifted Cheltenham and the Robins were back ahead seven minutes later through Elijah Adebayo and Stags had work to do.
Kane Hemmings was sent on as a sub on 78 minutes and within three minutes had levelled matters from Alex MacDonald’s low pulled-back cross.
Cheltenham were reduced to nine men two minutes later for sub Danny Wright’s arm in Potter’s face.
Six thrilling minutes were added and in the fourth of those Hamilton sent a deflected shot home from six yards after Mal Benning had lofted the ball forwards.
But there was still time for Conrad Logan to pull off a fine save to deny Adebayo as Stags clung on to all three points.
The eventual nine added minutes meant there had been more than 20 stoppage minutes played on a scintillating afternoon.
It was a long overdue win as Stags had failed to win any of the previous five home games with Cheltenham.
Two draws had followed three home defeats in a row to the Robins.