Report: Luton 1-1 Stags
Mansfield Town secured a solid point at promotion-hopefuls Luton Town after a goal in either half saw both sides share the points.
Matt Green's eighth goal of the season got Stags off to the perfect start on nine minutes, but Cameron McGeehan's second-half strike saw Luton draw level.
Stags have now stretched their unbeaten run to six games and boast the second best defensive record in Sky Bet League Two.
Two changes were made from Stags’ last match, a 1-1 draw at home to Wycombe Wanderers.
Midfielder Kevan Hurst returned to the line up as Oscar Gobern was left out of the 18-man squad. Green made his first start in six matches, as fellow frontman Danny Rose was moved to the subs’ bench.
In the opening stages, Luton enjoyed a long spell of possession before Jordan Cook registered the game’s first effort towards goal in the sixth minute when he turned to shoot wide from 20 yards.
It was followed a minute later by a Jake Gray free kick near the left touchline which flew harmlessly past the post.
But Stags, who frustrated their hosts throughout 90, were ahead on nine minutes after Mal Benning won a corner.
Hurst’s flag-kick found Rhys Bennett left of centre inside the penalty area, who headed it goalwards, where Matt Green was on hand to nod it powerfully beyond Christian Walton.
Stags, clearly buoyed by their deadlock-breaker, went in search of a second on 12 minutes, but this time Hurst’s shot fizzed over the bar.
At the other end Luton roamed on the Stags’ left and after the ball was sent into the centre, Stags’ goalkeeper Scott Shearer twice prevented Jack Marriott from close range.
With quarter-of-an-hour played, Rhys Bennett forced another Stags’ corner after his right-flank cross into the box sailed behind, but the flag-kick came to nothing.
Stags’ maintained their high persistence in the final third and Chris Clements was next to try his luck.
The move started when Green laid it off to Benning, whose left-sided cross was headed out of the box. But Clements was there for Mansfield to collect, before his 25-yard drive was denied by Walton.
Back at the other end, Jack Marriott fired goalwards to earn Luton’s first corner, as a Stags’ body got in the way of the shot.
On the half-hour mark, Luton’s Jordan Cook wriggled his way into the visiting box, before shooting narrowly wide of the far post from 15 yards.
Stags continued to press and frustrate their Bedfordshire hosts before Mal Benning tried his luck on 38 minutes.
Won in the centre of the field, the left-back sent a 30-yard free-kick over the wall, but Walton was well behind it.,
With four minutes of the first half remaining, Pat Hoban did superbly to hold onto the ball on the dge of the home box, surrounded by a trio of orange home shirts. The ex-Oxford man then spotted Benning in space on the left, for the full-back to cross for Green, whose looping header sailed off target.
Cameron McGeehan’s arrowed-hit from 25 yards flew over the bar in the last opportunity of the first half.
Six minutes into the second period, neat interlink play on the edge of the Stags’ box ended with Jake Marriott shooting goalwards which deflected over the goal line for a corner which Stags’ dealt with well.
Two minutes later, Alex Gilliead got the better of Benning on the Mansfield right before slipping it to Jake Gray, but his rising attempt ended in the away stand.
Stags’ boss Adam Murray made two changes in quick succession; the first on 55 minutes when Jack Thomas replaced Pat Hoban, followed by Kevan Hurst making way for Alex Iacovitti three minutes later.
Luton then missed a golden chance to level on 66.
With Stags’ defending in numbers following a corner, Glen Rea drifted it back into the centre of the box but Alan Sheehan got it all wring as he planted his attempt over the target from eight yards.
On 68, Luton made a double change in a bid to change their fortunes as Isaac Vassell and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu climbed off the bench to take their place in the Luton XI.
A minute late, Hatters' ‘keeper Christopher Walton got down low to his right to keep out a 30-yard free-kick from Chris Clements.
Stags’ final substitution was used on 72 minutes when Mitchell Rose departed to be replaced by CJ Hamilton, who partnered Green in attack.
Mansfield then had to defend resolutely to twice prevent Luton from testing Shearer.
And after their best spell of pressure during the match, the Hatters found their equaliser in the 77th minute.
Stags were unable to able effectively clear, allowing Cameron McGeehan to strike it low from 25-yards, beating Scott Shearer as it nestled in the far corner of the goal.
But it was Shearer who came to Stags' rescue on 83 to beat away a Scott Cuthbert effort, after the defender poked it goalwards following a cross from the right.
In the third minute of added on time, Rea's attempt goalwards was denied by Shearer, racing out to close down his angles, as Stags were defending a Luton corner.
In the last seconds of the contest, Luton took a quick free-kick, slipping it to Marriott to fire wide. And despite the late pressure from Luton, Stags defended admirably and overall deserved their excellent point.
LUTON: Walton, O’Donnell, Potts (Vassell 68), Cuthbert, Gray, McGeehan, Cook (Mpanzu 68), Marriott, Gillead, Rea (Lee 80), Sheehan
UNUSED SUBS: King, Smith, Mullins, Mackail-Smith
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Pearce, Howkins, Benning, Collins, M. Rose (Hamilton 72), Clements, Hurst (Iacovitti 58), Hoban (Thomas 55), Green
UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, Hemmings, D. Rose, Henderson
REFEREE: Graham Salisbury
ATTENDANCE: 7787 (295)