Goals from Jordan Bowery and Andy Cook were not enough as Mansfield Town drew 2-2 with Leyton Orient at the Breyer Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After a steady first-half in E10, the Stags twice found the back of the net. First, Bowery opened his account for the season with a calm spot-kick before Cook swept home from inside the area.
However, Orient battled back with 10 minutes left on the clock as Danny Johnson and Ruel Sotiriou each found the target.
Graham Coughlan named an identical starting line-up who earned a point and clean sheet against Tranmere Rovers last Saturday.
And it was Mansfield’s No. 1 from the starting roster who had the honour of producing the game’s first moment of quality. Marek Stech had positioned himself aptly to deal with Sotiriou’s bending free-kick and set up his side with their initial spell of possession.
Corey O’Keeffe – the recipient of last Saturday’s Man of the Match award – then looked to impose himself on the O’s, yet his cross was defended expertly by their back-line.
The Stags continued to boast the majority of the ball, showcasing some neat passages of play, before Sotiriou again stung the palms of Stech with a fierce drive from range.
Both sides were enjoying their own moments throughout the first period; however, the Stags were disappointed not to have let fly with ten minutes until the interval.
Bowery did well to hold up possession, laying into the patch of George Maris only to have Craig Clay’s last-ditch tackle deny the midfielder a shot from close proximity.
Then, Mal Benning found himself in space from O’Keeffe’s lofted cross to the back post, but he was unable to connect fully with his volley that lost its momentum as it struck the Breyer Group Stadium turf.
Pressure from away side preceded the hosts’ best chance through Johnson.
With his back to Rollin Menayese, the forward was able to turn and strike his effort against the base of the upright.
Into the second period and the tempo was cranked even higher by both sides.
Sam Ling burst clear down the right-hand side and drilled a flat cross into the area that was seen off expertly by Ryan Sweeney. The resulting corner was also cleared smartly, this time by Stech as he punched clear ahead of a crowd of bodies.
And it would be in the 52nd minute when the Stags took the lead.
Cook did brilliantly to chase down Stech’s long kick – harrying James Brophy into first squandering possession then secondly conceding the foul – which allowed Bowery to tuck home his first goal in a Mansfield shirt.
The No.11 quickly pounced on the opportunity for a second, but instead he inadvertently teed up Harry Charsley who forced a magnificent save by Lawrence Vigouroux.
It would, however, only be 19 minutes until the Stags were able to give themselves a two-goal cushion.
Charsley was involved this time in the assist-making as his low cross was latched onto by Cook, leaving the striker to sweep home from inside the area.
Several half-chances were conjured by the Stags but with nothing coming to fruition, Orient were able to halve the deficit.
Following a corner, Johnson made the most of his sight at goal and fired home to gift the O’s a lifeline heading towards stoppage time.
A lifeline that was firmly grasped in the 92nd minute of play. Sotiriou awaited a square pass as Brophy danced beyond several challenges and tucked the ball into an empty net.
Mansfield will now look for their first victory in Sky Bet League Two when they welcome Exeter City to One Call Stadium next weekend.
STAGS XI: Štěch (GK), O’Keeffe, Benning, Menayese, Sweeney, Rawson, Charsley, Clarke ©, Bowery, Maris, Cook (Maynard 90’).
UNUSED SUBS: Stone (GK), Perch, O’Driscoll, Reid, McLaughlin, Maynard, Sinclair.
LEYTON ORIENT XI: Vigouroux (GK), Ling, Cisse (Angol 77’), Happe, Coulson ©, Clay (McAnuff 61’), Maguire-Drew (Dennis 61’), Dayton, Brophy, Sotiriou, Johnson.
UNUSED SUBS: Sargeant (GK), Widdowson, Wilkinson, Thomas.
REFEREE: David Rock
ASSISTANTS: Stuart Butler & Marc Wilson
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Aaron Farmer