Stags came back from behind to draw 1-1 with Stevenage at the Lamex stadium tonight, meaning they take a hard-earned point back to Mansfield. Will Atkinson levelled for the Stags in the 51st minute, after Danny Newton opened the scoring in the first-half.
It was a game that saw Stags’ boss David Flitcroft make four changes to the side that lost 4-3 in the last game against Crewe Alexandra, with Krystian Pearce, Will Atkinson, Joel Byrom and top scorer Danny Rose all being reintroduced to the first team.
It was a slow start to proceedings at the Lamex Stadium, with the two sides taking the first five minutes to set any sort of pace in the game. The travelling Stags’ fans were in great voice from the off, as the visiting side created half a chance through striker Kane Hemmings. Defender Hayden White whipped the ball towards the back post where the striker was lurking, but his cross was met well by Jack King.
It was Hemmings who had the next chance of the game, as he found space inside the Stevenage penalty area. The forward picked up the ball on the left-side of the box, but his attempted chip over Tom King was swatted away for a corner.
White, who found himself in space with the ball on several occasions in the first-half, attempted a deep cross from the right in the 12th minute, but what looked a promising delivery was turned away for a corner.
It was then Stevenage’s turn to attack, and Conrad Logan came to Stags’ rescue. Alex Revell found space in the box and struck sweetly to Logan’s right, but the Mansfield goalkeeper reacted brilliantly to keep the score level.
Unfortunately, Logan had little chance to prevent the next effort, which came from Stevenage’s Danny Newton. The corner that resulted from Logan’s save was whipped in by Joe Martin, eventually finding Newton 12-yards out, who smashed the ball home to put Stevenage ahead.
Stags nearly reacted instantly, but Hemmings’ header that once again came from White’s cross went just wide. The forward leapt brilliantly to meet the cross, but his effort glanced past King’s far post.
Stags were then fortunate as Stevenage went up the other end and nearly doubled their lead. Newton fired the ball towards goal but Rhys Bennett was on hand to deny the forward, before Logan was able to claw it behind for a home corner.
Alex MacDonald could have put the Stags ahead moments later when he found space in the Stevenage box after an exchange of passes with Danny Rose, but the winger’s poke was easily held by King.
Towards the end of the half, Logan reacted well once again to keep the difference between the two sides at just one goal as Newton cut in on his left-foot. He struck the ball well but the Stags’ keeper reacted superbly to parry away.
Stags started the second-half on the front foot, and found themselves level through Will Atkinson in the 51st minute. After some quick passing between Johnny Hunt and CJ Hamilton, the former cut the ball back towards Atkinson at the back post. The Stags midfielder met the ball well, and emphatically fired home from just inside the box.
Stags continued to attack Stevenage, as Hemmings led a counter attack for the amber and blue. When he reached the edge of the box, he squared the ball to the lurking Rose, but the striker’s effort was well blocked.
Hemmings found himself with another promising opportunity inside the Stevenage penalty area moments later, but his left-footed effort flashed over the bar.
Logan then showed us that he was still on his toes at the other end despite the strong start by the Stags in the second-half, as he denied Luke Amos’ strike from close range.
In the 68th minute, substitute Alfie Potter embarked on a mazy run through several challenges, but ended up running the ball too far for King to come and collect.
Stags had some defending to do next, which sums up the end-to-end nature that the game adopted in the closing stages. Flitcroft’s defenders came to the rescue as Logan misjudged an in-swinging corner, as several Stags players threw themselves into a barrage of efforts from the home side.
In the final ten minutes of the affair, Stags nearly found their winner through Hemmings. The striker brought the ball down well, as he had done so all game, and his volleyed effort stung the palms of King. Potter then tried to work the ball back into the box, but the Stevenage goalkeeper calmly collected it to relieve the pressure.
Stags then had claims of a penalty waved away by Sebastian Stockbridge. MacDonald raced into the box and seemed to be brought down, but what were strong claims for a spot kick were ruled out by the referee.
MacDonald found himself at the heart of the action again a minute later, as he cut in on his right foot, and flashed an effort from range just past the far post.
Stevenage nearly stole all three points at the death with efforts from Dale Gorman and Jack King, but Stags held on to take a hard-earned point back to One Call Stadium.
STAGS’ XI: Logan, White, Bennett, Pearce, Hunt, MacDonald, Byrom (Mellis 52’), Atkinson, Hamilton (Potter 58’), Rose, Hemmings.
UNUSED SUBS: Olejnik, Digby, Diamond, Angol, King