Forest Green Rovers dropped to fifth spot in the League Two standings after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Mansfield on Saturday afternoon.

Despite a late Odin Bailey consolation for Rovers, two first half goals were enough to ensure Nigel Clough’s side took all three points on his first league game in charge of the Stags.

After a slow first half, Rovers did seemingly bounce back well in the second but Mark Cooper admitted that mistakes in the first period gave his team work to do.

Speaking to BBC Radio Gloucestershire, he said: “I thought we were outstanding in the second half but if you give two goals away like that from horrendous mistakes, then you give yourself a lot of work to do.

“We should be coming away with something but when you give teams a two-goal head start, the hard work we put in in the second half counts for nothing.

“It was just too much for us.”

Going two goals down inside the opening 35 minutes is never easy to recover from and Cooper accepted that it was too great of a task for his team to overcome.

He said: “When you’re two-nil down it rocks the players confidence.

“We had to change the shape and change a lot to try and get their confidence back and try and get back in the game which we did but not enough.”

Rovers missed a hand full of chances in the match and especially in the second half, something that Cooper believed would have given his side a chance to get something from the contest.

“In the second half we should’ve have scored,” he added. “We had three open goals from the six-yard box that we expect our centre forward to score and we missed three of them.”

This defeat against Mansfield is Rovers’ third loss in as many games.

Cooper said: “We have to do our work and we have to find a way to stop conceding goals in the first five minutes of games."

Forest Green will look to put this defeat behind them as they next travel to Barrow in the league on Saturday.