Report: Bury 0-0 Stags
Resolute Mansfield Town held firm against a tidal wave of Bury pressure to take a point from a hard-fought encounter at Gigg Lane.
The Stags, who should have been awarded a spot-kick when Ollie Palmer was fouled inside the area, had John Dempster sent-off on the hour-mark.
After a scrappy opening, The Stags registered their first chance on 11 minutes.
Blake and Clucas linked up well in midfield, with the latter working the ball to Junior Daniel, who saw a cross-cum-shot claimed by Brian Jensen.
Daniel came close again when he cut inside from the left flank and hit a powerful strike just inside the area, which was blocked by Nathan Cameron.
However, veteran keeper Jensen proved to be a commanding figure for The Shakers as he thwarted the visitors on numerous occasions.
On 13 minutes, Rhead’s intelligent lay-off found Blake on the edge of the area, but the youngster saw his low strike turned wide by Jensen.
The towering custodian was quick off his line to beat away the subsequent corner by James Jennings, as The Stags enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure.
Mansfield remained on the front foot and only a last ditch challenge by Bury right-back Shaun Beeley stopped Daniel from advancing into the area.
The Stags denied by Jensen yet again on 21 minutes, when Palmer delivered an inviting left-wing ball into the six-yard box, which Rhead nodded straight at him.
Clucas also saw a tame attempt from distance kept out, before Bury wasted a gilt-edge chance when Shaun Harrad fired high and wide from 20 yards.
On the half-hour mark, Harrad forced Marriott into an instinctive near-post stop, with a 20-yard shot, which caught a deflection inside a crowded area.
The Stags controversially had an appeal for a spot-kick turned away moments later as Palmer went to ground inside the area, with Jordan Mustoe the offender.
Referee Andy Haines showed no hesitancy in penalising the Bury player, but instead of a penalty, the visitors were only awarded a free-kick.
Jennings’ subsequent low strike only hit the five-man defensive wall, though Mansfield continued to look lively prior to half-time.
Clucas came closer just a minute later with a stab-shot into the ground that was held by Jensen, after both Rhead and Dempster flicked on a long ball.
Palmer was then off-target from a Jennings cross, prior to The Stags registering their best attempt of the half on 41 minutes.
Jamie McGuire’s delightful half-volley forward was well read onto by Daniel, who broke through into a one-on-one with Jensen, only to be denied.
The Shakers created the final chance of the first half, when Beeley’s intricate cut-back found Harrad, whose 20-yard strike was expertly turned wide by Marriott.
Neither side were able to dictate play in the early stages after the re-start, but Mansfield created an opportunity on 52 minutes.
After Daniel won a corner, Jennings’ delivery towards the back-post was headed down by Riley, with Palmer unable to back-heel the ball goalwards.
Eventually, the ball reached Blake, who proved to be a constant nuisance for the hosts, but his effort drifted high over the woodwork.
Jensen claimed a weak attempt by Rhead prior to the hour-mark, and it was at that point when the visitors’ hopes of three points took a turn for the worse.
Dempster and Harrad both challenged for a ball in the middle of the park, and when the Bury player came off worse, the referee showed Dempster a straight red card.
The incentive of the match swung in favour of Bury in this one incident and, unsurprisingly, the hosts began to attack to try and get the win.
On 65 minutes, Blake’s partial clearance on the edge of the area ricocheted somewhat fortuitously to Chris Sedgwick, who hammered a shot straight at Marriott.
Beeley then delivered a fine ball right into the six-yard box moments later, but with Marriott slightly out of position, an onrushing Danny Mayor somehow headed over.
Mayor struck a vicious angled drive straight into the arms of a grateful Marriott on 71 minutes, whilst Tom Soares’ 35-yard strike was also held by The Stags’ keeper.
Sandwiched between those chances, Mansfield were made to re-shuffle their defence, as Riley limped off and was replaced by Poku.
As a result, for the final quarter-of-an-hour, Cox’s team had to go with a central defensive partnership of Beevers and Sutton, with McGuire filling in at right-back.
Bury continued to press forward late on and in the final 10 minutes, Soares had another speculative long-range shot beaten away by Marriott.
Hylton, who drifted in and out of the game, also headed over from Beeley’s cross, whilst Marriott had to make a number of timely interventions.
Incredibly, there were seven minutes of added time awarded, but the closest The Shakers came was when Soares’ header was cleared by Beevers.
Stags’ boss Paul Cox was also sent to the stands deep into added time, though Mansfield resolutely held on to register a point.
Attendance: 2,518 (351 visiting supporters).