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17:04 1st October 2016

Report: Crewe 1-1 Mansfield

Mansfield Town earned a second consecutive point on their travels after a 1-1 draw at Gresty Road, Crewe.

In mid-week, Stags claimed a point by the same scoreline at Accrington Stanley and followed it up with another away display full of spirit and endeavour.

And whilst the point acquired will be considered a very good result against a recently relegated outfit, the men from One Call Stadium will feel a sense of disappointment at not claiming maximum points after enjoying much of the possession as well as creating the better opportunities.

Pat Hoban registered his first goal in Stags colours, heading in a Kevan Hurst cross, while Crewe replied via Chris Dagnall's close range strike.

For the first time this season, Stags’ boss Adam Murray was able to name the same starting XI for the second match in succession, following a solid 1-1 draw at Accrington mid-week.

Stags’ started on the front foot and settled into the contest quicker than their Cheshire hosts.

Inside the opening minute, Pat Hoban released Danny Rose through the middle.  And after losing control momentarily, the ex-Bury frontman was presented with another run at goal following a mix-up in defence, but the striker’s low effort from the edge of the box was easily claimed by Ben Garratt, the Crewe goalkeeper.

Then, Hoban, who was the heart of all Stags’ promising early moves, tried his luck on the half-volley from 20 yards, but if flew over in the eighth minute.

Crewe registered their first effort on goal two minutes later.  As Stags half-cleared a George Cooper free-kick it fell 25 yards out to James Jones, who could only rifle it into the hands of Scott Shearer.

In the minutes that followed, Danny Rose and Kevan Hurst both hit pot-shots but neither troubled Garratt.

Crewe’s best move of the half saw the Alex register a corner on 20 minutes.

Starting from their own corner flag, the hosts skilfully switched play to the right flank, allowing Ryan Lowe to send an inviting cross into the area, which Mal Benning had to turn behind for a flag kick.

From it, Shearer denied Chris Dagnall at point blank range, before it came back off the striker to go out for a goal kick.

Mid-way through the first half, Danny Rose headed narrowly wide from close range, after Hoban flicked it towards the goal area from a free-kick.

Crewe then picked out Dagnall on the edge of the box, who did well to head it back to Lowe to fire a rasping drive which stung the fingertips of Scott Shearer, who pushed it away for a corner.

The 3,831 crowd then witnessed a 15 minute spell in which clear cut chances were at a premium.

On 40 minutes, Benning whipped a left-wing cross into the box after a neat Stags move, but nobody in an amber shirt was able to connect.

Two minutes later, Hurst curled a good ball into the box from a free-kick, with the advancing Pearce only inches away from making contact.

In the closing minutes of the first half, Stags got in the way of James Jones’ stabbed goalward effort, and had to clear away from the goal line from the subsequent corner.

Just as the heavens opened, Stags made the breakthrough six minutes after the restart.

Hurst, near the corner flag, delivered precisely to the head of Pat Hoban inside the goal area, who nodded it beyond Garratt to send the 449 travelling fans into raptures.

But Stags’ joy was shortlived when Crewe drew level on 57 minutes.

The powerful Zoumana Bakayogo got the better of Rhys Bennett on the right of the Stags’ box to see his assist smacked home by the onrushing Dagnall.

Entering the hour, the referee played a good advantage after Jamie McGuire’s shirt was tugged inside the centre circle.  Stags still had possession as Benning galloped away on the left, eventually shooting off target from 25 yards.

In an unlikely attacking probe by two defenders, Krystian Pearce, inside the area, almost got on the end of Lee Collins’ long ball, but the keeper beat him to the ball as Mansfield searched for another goal.

Crewe made a double change in quick succession and Stags made their first alteration on 68 minutes as midfielder Oscar Gobern replaced Danny Rose.

On 75, a Crewe free-kick from near the touchline caused problems, but George Ray’s header was denied by Scott Shearer and the anxiety evaporated when the flag was then raised for offside.

Two minutes later, defender Alex Iacovitti climbed off the bench to take the place of Mitchell Rose.

In the 81st minute, Crewe's Dan Udoh got the better of Krystian Pearce inside the penalty area, and after steadying himself, struck into the side netting.

Stags pressed again and Iacovitti's skill and pace sent him beyond a Crewe defender to the goal line, but the home side intercepted the assist.

Five minutes from the end of normal time, Pat Hoban made way for Matt Green.

And there was only one team who looked likely to find a winner in the dying minutes, but despite much final third promise by Adam Murray's men, they had to settle for a point.

STAGS: Shearer, Benning, Pearce, Collins (C), Bennett, McGuire, Clements, M. Rose (Iacovitti 77), Hurst, D. Rose (Gobern 68), Hoban (Green 85).

UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, Hamilton, Hemmings, Henderson

CREWE: Garratt, Turton, Guthrie, Davis (Ray 68), Lowe (C), Jones, Dagnall, Cooper, Bakayogo, Hollands, Ainley (Udoh 64)

UNUSED SUBS: Richards, Bingham, Kirk, Wintle, Ng

REFEREE: Ross Joyce

ATTENDANCE: 3831, (449 Stags' fans)