Stags’ reserves were pegged back by a late equaliser in their final Central League game of the season against Port Vale at Vale Park.
Striker Zayn Hakeem opened the scoring inside the first 15 minutes of the contest, when his left-footed effort wrong-footed Sam Hornby by way of a deflection.
Mansfield remained resolute throughout the contest against an experienced Port Vale outfit, yet conceded minutes before the final whistle courtesy of a Dan Turner header at the back post.
A youthful Stags’ lineup was named for the match, with a starting XI that featured five trialists.
The opening ten minutes of the game was primarily a midfield battle, with midfielder Harry Bircumshaw looking to carve the first opportunity for either side.
His cross towards Trialist 5 at the back post looked to be an accurate one, before it was cleared just in time by Finley Jackson.
Jackson was positioned well once again as he scooped away Hakeem’s low delivery, after the forward took the ball down well from a cross-field pass.
Hakeem was able to cut in on his left foot moments later, delivering the opening goal as his strike took a huge deflection to beat Hornby in the Vale goal.
The hosts should have perhaps drawn level when Ben Whitfield was able to latch onto Jack Wakefield’s dangerous cross, although the Valiants’ number 24 could not keep his first-time volley down.
Whitfield went close once again with his driving run into the Mansfield area, dragging his strike just wide across the face of goal.
Trialist 5 looked to release Tom Fielding with an intricate first-time flick, yet was unfortunate as he saw his pass run slightly too far ahead of the attacking midfielder.
Theo Vassell, who was looking dangerous down the Vale left-hand side, was able to cut in and strike just wide of the near post from range.
The Valiants looked to have levelled the score through Turner, yet the forward’s goal was ruled out by the raising of the offside flag.
Trialist 1 - in the Mansfield goal - was introduced into the game for the first time on the 40-minute mark, tipping wide Whitfield’s powerful drive.
Following the restart, Hakeem went close to doubling the Mansfield advantage when he fired just over the bar with his left foot, after beating several players in the Vale box.
The ball bounced kindly for Kian Sketchley following Bircumshaw’s blocked effort, but the strike that followed from the defender was high and wide.
Space opened up for Vassell at the edge of the area, who failed to trouble Trialist 1 with his tame effort.
Hakeem displayed good desire to chase down his initial blocked effort, and nearly created another opening for himself, although the hosts were able to deal with the danger.
Mike Calveley was able to strike at goal after shifting possession out of his feet, but his shot flashed over the bar.
Hakeem once again found joy cutting in on his left foot, with his effort this time being held by Hornby.
With what was the last real opportunity of the game, Port Vale found the equaliser. Turner was able to head home from close range after Whitfield’s free-kick was headed back into the box by Connell Rawlinson.
Despite conceding late on, there were plenty of positives from a youthful Stags’ lineup in the final Central League outing of the season.
STAGS’ XI: Trialist 1, Trialist 2 (Walker 82'), Sketchley, Trialist 3, Gibbens, Trialist 4, Ward, Bircumshaw, Hakeem, Trialist 5, Fielding (Sinclair 62').
UNUSED SUBS: Wilson, Sarson, Molyneaux.
PORT VALE XI: Hornby, Wakefield, Campbell, Jackson, Green-Birch, Ede (Chimenes 68'), Rawlinson, Vassell, Whitfield, Calveley, Turner.
UNUSED SUBS: Blight, Johnson, Stevens, Hallchurch.
REFEREE: Andrew Ellis.