A fiercely-contested affair at Prenton Park ended goalless this evening, with Mansfield having the better of the chances during the game.
David Flitcroft made three changes from the side that drew against Colchester three days ago for the contest.
Bobby Olejnik was chosen to play in goal ahead of Conrad Logan, whilst Neal Bishop earned a place in the starting XI along with Craig Davies, following his stunning strike at the weekend.
Mansfield had the better of the chances, with two clear-cut opportunities falling to Otis Khan and Tyler Walker in the second-half, but the home side held out for a point.
In the third minute, Alex MacDonald won the ball on the right side of the penalty area, before feeding Otis Khan who struck the ball from 20-yards. However, goalkeeper Scott Davies was equal to the task and easily claimed the effort.
Tranmere then had a spell of possession in Mansfield’s final third and had a couple of deflected attempts soon after. On seven minutes, Ollie Banks hit fired goalwards, only to see his effort come off the back of Pearce and into the hands of Olejnik.
With 12 minutes on the clock, Khan demonstrated what he is capable of when he picked up the ball just outside of the area, cut inside and bent a delicious effort with his right-foot which looked destined for the far corner. Despite this, ‘keeper Davies tipped the ball over the top of the crossbar.
It was soon time for Tranmere to have their best moment of the half. James Norwood was neatly played in and found himself in an excellent position just inside the penalty area.
Although he got good connection on his strike, Stags’ stopper Bobby Olejnik was equal to the task and saved well.
Tranmere were putting some neat passages of play together with Norwood linking well with the supporting players and causing Mansfield some problems with their movement.
In the 21st minute, skipper Krystian Pearce had to be on his toes and produced a remarkable last ditch tackle to poke the ball away from Cole Stockton to deny a certain shot at goal as the ball was clipped over the top.
Khan then played a lovely one-two with Davies whose return pass put the former Yeovil midfielder through. Khan tried to slide the ball under the ‘keeper, but he was able to get down to make the save before pouncing on the loose ball.
As the half-time whistle approached, the Stags were certainly on the front foot. Davies held the ball well and linked up beautifully with Walker but his return pass was just a yard in front of the striker who would have been clean through.
Just a minute later, Walker was again involved as he played in Bishop. The midfielder’s effort was charged and deflected as the Tranmere goalkeeper watched the ball narrowly miss the outside of his far post.
Walker then fizzed in a cross from the right-hand side and McNulty managed to clear the ball away, but could have easily put the ball into his own net.
The half-time whistle blew with Mansfield having finished the opening period as the better side.
Tranmere began the game on the front foot with some early chances. Caprice was causing problems down the right-hand side and drove a wicked ball into the Stags’ box which was well dealt with by White.
Tranmere had certainly come out of the traps as the better of the two sides, but Mansfield would not stay second best for long.
Just after the hour mark, a golden chance fell to Khan. The ball ricocheted kindly into his path, putting the midfielder through on goal. Stags’ number 10 attempted to loop the ball over Davies, but the Tranmere ‘keeper was grateful to have been able to catch his effort.
Tranmere then had their chance to break as Norwood found space on the left-hand side and slipped the ball in to Mottley-Henry. However, the forward got the ball caught under his feet and Stags were able to clear to safety as the Rovers attacker kicked the turf in frustration.
With 10 minutes to go, Olejnik was called into action in the Mansfield goal. Banks whipped in a lovely free-kick from deep, which was met by a thunderous header from Monthe. The ball look destined to find the back of the net, before a fingertip save by the Stags’ keeper kept the game goalless.
From the resulting corner ball, Mansfield were able to spring a counter attack, resulting in arguably the best chance of the game. Led by winger CJ Hamilton, Stags flew up the pitch in formation, before an unmarked Tyler Walker was put through on goal.
The on-loan Nottingham Forest man fired towards goal, but saw his strike narrowly miss to the relief of the Rovers’ ‘keeper.
The game ended with a flurry of half chances; firstly, to Mansfield, as MacDonald swung a cross in from the left hand side, seeing his delivery narrowly miss the head of Walker.
Stags had to hold their breath in the closing moments, as Will Atkinson’s foul gave Tranmere a free-kick in a dangerous position. Banks stepped up, but his effort flew high and wide and signalled the end of a tightly-contested affair at Prenton Park.
Mansfield are next in action on Saturday as they travel to the Moss Rose to face Macclesfield for a 3pm kick-off.
TRANMERE ROVERS XI: Davies (GK), McNulty (c), Monthe, Norwood, Jennings, McCullough, Caprice, Ellis, Smith (Mottley-Henry 70’), Stockton, Banks.
SUBS NOT USED: George (GK), Tollitt, Mullin, Gilmour, Cole, Spellman.
STAGS XI: Olejnik (GK), White, Benning (Atkinson 59’), Pearce (c), MacDonald, Davies (Rose 78’), Khan (Butcher 78’), Sweeney, Walker, Hamilton.
SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), Mellis, Gibbens, Sterling-James.
REFEREE: Thomas Bramall.
ASSISTANTS: Barry Cropp and Lee Freeman.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Nick Greenhalgh.