No matter how hard you plan in football, sometimes the opposition just produce a moment you have to take on the chin.
That was certainly the case for Mansfield Town on Saturday as two points were snatched from their grasp by a wonder goal from Finnish international defender Dan O’Shaughnessy in an engrossing 1-1 draw.
Stags spent the afternoon worrying about the youngster’s long throw but in end were undone when they failed to close down his run and he let fly with a 30-yard thunderbolt shot 10 minutes from time that swerved in the air and left keeper Scott Shearer well beaten.
It’s unlikely he will score another like that this season – or in his career – but it was enough to rescue a point for the Robins.
Click HERE to read the match report
Click HERE to read Adam Murray’s thoughts
Click HERE to see a picture slideshow of the game
Click HERE to see a gallery of photos of fans in the stand. Can you spot yourself?
Click HERE to see video of Mitch Rose’s goal
Indeed, the blow came so late and out of the blue in a game they seemed to have won that Mansfield were left reeling for a time and might have lost it in the end had Danny Wright produced better finishing to a couple of late chances.
On a typically hot afternoon for Stags’ opening home League game of the season, the first half offered little to get too excited about.
With the warmth, too many stoppages and neither side finding much rhythm, it was no surprise the sides went in goalless.
Stags lined up with Adam Murray’s preferred 4-1-3-2 with Lee Collins the holding midfielder and Kyle Howkins and George Taft providing an imposing 6ft 5ins central defensive barrier against Cheltenham’s expected direct game.
Stags defended superbly for most of the first half, allowing the Robins only one real opportunity on 22 minutes when Billy Waters crossed from the right and Harry Pell was left unmarked six yards from goal only to see Scott Shearer make a superb save low to his left.
A hungry Matt Green muscled his way onto the ball 20 yards out to fire a good attempt on goal that Russell Griffiths had to turn round a post.
Danny Rose also shot at Griffiths from a tight angle. But there were few other chances until Dan Holman bundled a half-chance at Shearer at the far post just before the break.
However, the second half was a much livelier affair, the game kickstarted as a spectacle by Mitch Rose’s second goal in two games just four minutes after the break.
Green was the architect with a superb turn through the middle of Parslow and Easah Suliman on the left of the box and a square pass to his right for Rose to send the ball home with a low first time finish from 10 yards.
Green twice forced saves from Griffiths as Stags looked for the insurance of a second goal.
Instead they were stung by O’Shaughnessy’s bolt from the blue.
Before that the nearest the Robins had come had been when Amari Morgan-Smith looked set the pull the trigger in the box, only to see Rhys Bennett make a superb saving tackle.
Cheltenham went for the jugular at the end, but Stags certainly didn’t deserve to lose it and now have to lick their wounds, take a point and move on.
It’s hard to know if Murray sent on midfielder Ashley Hemmings for striker Danny Rose on 69 minutes because he was on a yellow card or if it was a move to defend the 1-0 lead, but some fans felt it was a negative tactic that backfired.
However, there were plenty of positives on the day with the two big centre halves dominant, Kevan Hurst oozing class, Danny Rose a livewire alongside a goal-hungry Green, Mitch Rose scoring again and Shearer completing the game, despite a nasty bang to the head from a collision with Morgan-Smith.
Also, new signing Darius Henderson came on to help out with the tough eight added minutes and showed his size, power and experience - assets Stags may come to value over the next nine months.