In the opening moments of the game, Tyrese Sinclair - having scored a magnificent free-kick the last time these two sides met, was first to test the opposition goalkeeper.
Almost dead-central, Sinclair smashed a direct free-kick towards the bottom right-hand corner of the net. Charlie Farrar, in the Rotherham goal, got down well, diving low to his left and managed to turn the ball behind for a corner ball.
Minutes later, the ball broke down the left-hand side, and it was the Stags' wing-back, Kian Sketchley, who delivered the ball into the box onto the head of Knowles. Fortunately for Farrar, Knowles' header was directed straight at him, and the 'keeper was able to comfortably collect the ball.
It was clear that the Stags were keen to press the ball high-up the field, with Knowles and Riley O'Sullivan defending from the front. This tactic led the Rotherham centre-backs into being forced to go long - and with Jamie Chisholm, Jordan Armsden and Saunders in a back three, Mansfield were making light work of the aerial duels.
However, 17 minutes in, and Keaton Marrs was called into action for the first time. A defensive header landed at the feet of Jacob Gratton, whose touch and shot was met with plenty of power, but Marrs adjusted his feet well and got himself behind the ball to make the save.
Just past the half-hour mark, Knowles opened the scoring for his side, when James Tague drilled an attempt towards goal from the edge of the area. Unable to get out of the way of the shot, Knowles controlled the ball instead, turned, and fired a ferocious right-footed strike in off the underside of the crossbar.
Moments later, Knowles nearly doubled his tally. Having won the ball back high-up the field, the Stags' number nine carried the ball towards goal and let fly, only for the 'keeper to block the shot with his legs, denying the forward his second.
Before the break, Gratton again brought the best out of Marrs. Having found space just eight-yards from goal, the Rotherham forward lashed an effort goalwards, only for the Mansfield 'keeper to parry the effort away, saving from point-blank range.
At the beginning of the second-half, a break-away from the Stags, led by their skipper, James Tague, saw him release Sinclair to his right. The latter took a touch, before getting his shot away, but was denied by Farrar, who seemed thankful Sinclair perhaps didn't get the connection that he would have wanted.
Chisholm had been instrumental so far in the game at the back for Mansfield, and when a stray defensive pass released Lewthwaite through one-on-one, Chisholm stepped in calmly, effortlessly dispossessing the Rotherham forward, and then carried the ball coolly out of defence.
The home side were beginning to apply some pressure, and with an hour gone, Alex Johnson got forward from left-back and fired a shot across Marrs' goal, but the Stags' number one was more than equal to the attempt and parried the ball away from danger once more.
Moments later, came a perhaps deserved equalising goal, when from a set piece, the ball fell to Carlton on the edge of the area. The Rotherham midfielder took a touch, before drilling a left footed attempt low into the corner of Marrs' net.
Stags' response was immediate, and the home side were level for less than a minute.
Sinclair had been shooting from distance when the opportunity presented itself, trying to use the windy conditions to his advantage. This time, his 25-yard effort was too hot to handle for Farrar, and Knowles sprung onto the rebound before calmly rolling the ball into the back of the net for his 14th goal of the season.
Rhys Sarson scored off the bench in Stags' 2-1 victory against Hartlepool last week, and he nearly did so again, when good link-up play with Knowles led to Sarson being presented an opportunity to shoot from the left side of the box, but the Stags' forward sliced his effort just wide of the near post.
With 20 minutes remaining, Marrs once again produced a splendid stop. Lewthwaite was gifted the ball following a stray back-pass, and then found his strike partner Gratton with time and space inside the penalty area. Marrs rushed out to meet the forward and made himself big, as he blocked the incoming strike and pounced upon the looose ball.
With Stags looking comfortable in the closing stages of the game, and looking as though they may add a third, at the opposite end they were suddenly stunned. A floated cross to the back post was well met by Greaves, who volleyed the ball into the corner of the net to level the score once more.
Having conceded the equaliser so late, Stags were unable to grab the winning goal, and the referee brought the game to a close in a contest that ended all square.
ROTHERHAM STARTING XI: Farrar, Beeden, Johnson, Carlton, Southern-Cooper (c), Hull, Hodgkinson (Wenham 71'), Peel-Evans, Lewthwaite, Gratton, Hutchinson (Greaves 59').
SUBS NOT USED: Spence, Etia, Gateshill.
STAGS' STARTING XI: Marrs, Tomlin, Sketchley (Sarson 63'), Cornell, Armsden, Chisholm, Tague, Saunders, Knowles, Sinclair, O'Sullivan.
SUBS NOT USED: King, Molyneux, Davis, Lathall.