Mansfield-born Lee Holmes denied Stags of victory this afternoon as he scored an 87th-minute equaliser for Exeter City to steal a 1-1 draw at One Call Stadium.
Stags had to settle for their third successive 1-1 draw in Sky Bet League Two, despite bossing the encounter.
Mansfield opened the scoring in the 18th minute when striker Kane Hemmings slotted home from close range after midfielder Jacob Mellis had put it on a plate for him at the end of a swift counter attack.
The Stags had the better of the chances for much of the second half but were pegged back in the 87th minute by Exeter substitute Lee Holmes, who tapped in from 16 yards after goalkeeper Conrad Logan had parried an effort by striker Liam McAlinden.
After rotating his squad for Tuesday's Checkatrade Trophy win over Notts County, Mansfield manager Steve Evans made five changes to his side from the Stags' last league outing away at Newport County.
Former Nottingham Forest man Paul Anderson replaced Hayden White at right back whilst Malvind Benning came in for Johnny Hunt in the other full back spot.
In central midfield, Calum Butcher and Will Atkinson made way for Joel Byrom and Jacob Mellis whilst on the left wing, CJ Hamilton was given the nod ahead of Alfie Potter.
Mansfield got the game underway and with just over 20 seconds on the clock, they almost opened the scoring. Midfielder Jacob Mellis fed striker Danny Rose in the area and he spun his man before firing a shot just wide of the upright and into the side netting.
The Stags had started with intent and Mellis was next to try his luck but his effort from the edge of the area was straight at Exeter 'keeper Christy Pym.
Exeter's first attack came inside the seventh minute as the visitors grew into the game. Midfielder Jake Taylor was given too much space down the right and his cross was just tipped away from danger by Mansfield's number one, Conrad Logan.
The Grecians kept up their pressure and almost took the lead moments later. Winger Kyle Edwards found time in the area after being teed up by striker Reuben Reid but Logan was off his line well to deny the Exeter man.
A Mansfield free-kick 10 minutes in almost proved to be fruitful but Stags' skipper Krystian Pearce was just beaten to the ball by an Exeter defender who cleared it to safety.
Exeter's top goalscorer Reuben Reid scored the winner the last time the two sides met and he tested Logan with a shot from distance in the 14th minute, but the former Hibernian 'keeper was equal to it, getting down well to his right-hand side.
Mansfield responded with some pressure on the Exeter goal and after winger Alex MacDonald delivered from the right-hand side, centre-half Rhys Bennett saw his header deflect wide for a corner.
From the resulting set piece, the ball was worked to the edge of the box where left back Malvind Benning curled an effort wide of the target.
Mansfield had definitely enjoyed the better of the play during the opening quarter of an hour and in the 18th minute, they took a deserved lead. After referee Anthony Backhouse played an excellent advantage for a foul on Rose, the Stags broke brilliantly with Mellis racing into the area before squaring it for Kane Hemmings to tap home from five yards out.
After scoring the winner against Notts County in midweek, winger CJ Hamilton was rewarded with a place in the starting line-up and he was neatly played through by MacDonald in the 27th minute but his touch just got away from him and his cross-cum-shot was intercepted by an Exeter man.
As the game reached the half-hour mark, Exeter's Lloyd James looked to get his side back into the game but after lining up an effort from 25 yards out, he failed to test Logan, who easily collected the ball.
A contentious moment in the 37th minute resulted in Exeter's Kane Wilson escaping with a yellow card for raising an arm into the face of Rose. Wilson then received a second talking-to from Anthony Backhouse in quick succession after a foul near the byline, but it proved just to be a final warning.
Brilliant play on the right between Mellis and MacDonald ended in the latter chipping a teasing ball into the area but Pym was quickly off his line to claim it with centre-half Bennett waiting to head home what would have been Mansfield's second.
Left-back Benning stormed into the Exeter area in the final minute of the first half but a last-ditch tackle by Troy Brown stopped the full-back from pulling the trigger.
Three minutes after the restart, Exeter almost drew level. Quick feet by Kyle Edwards saw him slalom into the area but he tripped at the final moment with Logan able to smother the ball.
In the 53rd minute, Rose went clear down the left channel and after seeing his initial cross blocked, he picked up the rebound and decided to try his luck but once again, an Exeter body was in the way.
Mansfield had started the second half on top and they could have doubled their lead in the 57th minute. Hamilton raced away from his marker and pulled the ball back to Mellis but his goal bound effort was blocked brilliantly by Dean Moxey with Pym flat footed in the Exeter goal.
Moxey was the hero for Exeter again four minutes later. MacDonald did well to win the ball high up the field and play Hemmings through one-on-one. The former Oxford United man's effort went through Pym but the stopper got a big hand to it; with the ball slowly bouncing towards the line, Moxey raced back to hook it away.
The Stags were continuing to dominate and they looked the far more likely to score next. Mellis poked the ball to MacDonald in the 66th minute but the winger's jabbed effort was blocked by Brown.
Mansfield's pressure continued and Rose stung the palms of Pym with a well-struck half-volley before Bennett headed just wide after MacDonald had crossed the ball into the danger zone.
After having most of the play inside the Exeter half, Mansfield proved they were still alert at the other end as Logan denied Jake Taylor before Anderson outmuscled the Grecian to win the rebound.
Hamilton was doing well as an outlet for Mansfield on the left-hand side and he hit a powerful 74th minute effort towards goal, which struck Wilson before deflecting out for a corner.
With 15 minutes to go, Mansfield were looking comfortable but with their lead still at one, the game was still very much in the balance. As a result, Stags' gaffer Steve Evans swapped Hemmings for fellow striker Jimmy Spencer in an attempt to put the game to bed late on.
Mansfield survived a scare in the 81st minute as a goalmouth scramble from an Exeter corner resulted in their captain, Jordan Moore-Taylor, having a shot cleared away from close range.
Mansfield's second goal nearly arrived from an unusual suspect. 'Keeper Logan spotted his Exeter counterpart off his line and his rifled effort from deep inside the Mansfield half forced Pym to acrobatically tip the ball over his bar.
Despite the Stags' dominance, Exeter scored with four minutes to go to draw the game level. Substitute Liam McAlinden curled an effort towards goal which was parried out well by Logan but it was Lee Holmes who reacted quickest to score against his hometown club from 16 yards out.
After walking a tightrope in the first half, Kane Wilson was eventually given his marching orders deep into the four minutes of additional time for kicking the ball away after a foul on Spencer in the centre circle.
Despite going down to ten men, it was Exeter who threatened next and seconds after coming on, Jordan Storey's diving header at the far post forced Logan into an impressive save.
That proved to be the game's last chance as Mansfield and Exeter had to settle for a share of the points.
STAGS' XI: Logan (GK), Anderson, Pearce ©, Bennett, Benning, Byrom, Mellis (Atkinson 83'), MacDonald, Hamilton, Hemmings (Spencer 77'), Rose (Angol 87')
SUBS NOT USED: Olejnik (GK), Digby, Sterling-James, Butcher
EXETER CITY XI: Pym (GK), James (McAlinden 72'), Stockley (Holmes 64'), Moore-Taylor ©, Moxey, Wilson, Taylor, Edwards, Reid (Storey 90'), Brown, Boateng
SUBS NOT USED: Hamon (GK), Jay, Byrne, Sparkes
REFEREE: Anthony Backhouse
ATTENDANCE: 3,608 (360 away)