After scoring nine goals in two matches, an out of sorts Stags team went down to Burgess Hill who had not won in the League so far this season.
Town set out their stall early on with the much copied ball up field and run out style of football that Wimbledon played in the 70’s. This was quite effective as they managed to find their man but the home defence dealt easily with almost every threat.
The first three attempts on goal came from the Stags as they used both wings to mount a threat; but then Town showed they could be dangerous too when Luke Gedling took a free kick from way outside the Stags’ penalty area. Charlie Hasler did well to tip the ball over the bar. From the resultant corner, the ball was nearly forced over the goal line but for some quick reactions of the home defence.
Darren Duporte replied speedily when he latched onto a right wing cross, unhappily his shot was well smothered by ‘keeper Matt May.
With the Stags now making the running, they should have gone ahead on twenty minutes when Jermain Hughes met a cross from the left and sent the ball into the penalty area where Leon McKenzie was waiting unmarked: he chose the wrong option and side footed the ball just wide of the upright.
That let off signalled a revival from Town and they started pumping the long ball up once again. This had the desired effect and kept the Stags penned in their own half and giving away free kicks around the penalty area as they tried to come to terms with the six foot plus giants from the south coast.
It was obvious that the Stags’ luck was not in when, on 36 minutes, Hughes sent the ball in from the right edge of the penalty area. Mass Jallow was ready with his back to goal and sent in a beautiful bicycle kick which May somehow managed to keep out of the goal.
No goals in the first half turned to nightmare in the second half but not before more chances went begging for the Stags. On 46 minutes Wes Thomas sprung Town’s off side trap and bore down on goal. Unhappily, instead of passing square he chose to do what every good striker does and go for goal but this time May was in position for another save, the ball ran loose but May was quick enough to gather the ball at the second time of asking. Two more shots just over the bar brought up the hour.
Disaster struck on 75 minutes when home central defender Marc Ward was sent of in what must be one of the harshest decisions any referee can give. Last man he was, goal scoring chance there was none. Once again a lack of consistency went against the Stags! A Town attacker was going down the inside left channel and was outside the penalty area when Ward fouled him, defeders were able to be in place before a shot and Hasler was between the attacker and the goal.
The kick was taken and saved by ‘keeper Hasler but the ball came off the angle of the crossbar to be planted home by Hardy Pinto Moriens.
Forest tried to get back on terms but Town defended well and, with the lacklustre Forest side unable to give enough quality ball to the forwards, the more direct team won by keeping the ball in the air and in the opponents half for 60% of the match