Mansfield Town shared the points with high-flying MK Dons in an entertaining 1-1 draw at One Call Stadium this afternoon.
The Stags took the lead after a thunderbolt from midfielder Jacob Mellis flew into the top right corner, before being pegged back only seven minutes later through Jordan Houghton’s strike.
A superb second half defensive display from Mansfield saw them see out the game against a strong MK Dons side in Sky Bet League Two.
It was almost a perfect start for the Stags after midfielder Otis Khan released Tyler Walker with an expertly weighted ball, however the MK Dons’ goalkeeper Lee Nicholls was equal to the striker’s effort to keep the scores level.
Only two minutes later, wing-back Mal Benning tried his luck from long range, and saw his effort deflect and loop just over the bar.
Mansfield’s early pressure continued, with Rose winning the ball in the opposition half and delivering a dangerous ball into the box which could not be met by the Stags attack.
On minute 13, defender Ryan Sweeney was booked for a late challenge on Dons’ defender George Williams, with the resulting free-kick headed straight at Olejnik much to the Stags’ relief.
Less than five minutes later and Mansfield took the lead courtesy of a sumptuous strike from Jacob Mellis. The midfielder picked the ball up on the edge of the box and rocketed the ball into the top right corner to make it 1-0.
Three minutes later and the Stags nearly doubled their lead after Walker was released again by Khan, with the forward’s effort flying just wide of the post.
The visitors equalised on minute 24, with midfielder Jordan Houghton picking the ball up on the edge of the box and thumping the ball into the top right corner leaving Olejnik with no chance.
Benning found himself in space on the edge of the box and hit another long-range effort, this time however straight at Nicholls who held the ball.
Just after the half hour mark, right wing-back CJ Hamilton defended excellently to deny imminent danger for the Stags after a low driven cross into the box.
Minutes later and the Dons nearly took the lead, after midfielder Chuks Aneke turned well in the box before hitting the post with his effort.
At the other end, Mansfield were denied a penalty by referee Sebastian Stockbridge after Walker was released by Benning, and was seemingly tripped inside the area.
On minute 38, Hamilton did well to cut in onto his left, however his curling effort flew just wide of the woodwork.
In an evenly contested first half, both teams went in at the break a goal apiece after a thrilling 45 minutes of football.
Mansfield started the second half brightly, and substitute Calum Butcher’s deflected cross nearly ended up in the back of the net but fortunately for the visitors bounced wide.
Dons’ captain Dean Lewington nearly saw his clearance from the halfway line fly in to the goal, however much to the relief of Olejnik, the ball landed on the roof of the net.
Seconds later and winger Rhys Healey had an effort expertly saved by Olejnik to keep the scores level.
On the hour mark, Aneke played through striker Kieran Agard who looked to be clear on goal but was quickly stopped in his tracks by the linesman after being judged offside.
Aneke again played through Agard who was onside, but his effort was excellently stopped by Olejnik who got down low to match the forward’s effort.
Defender Matt Preston made a crucial challenge on minute 69 to deny Aneke after the forward was played through on goal, with the defender managing to block his effort at the last moment.
On the 70th minute mark, Hamilton cut inside and struck sweetly, which came agonisingly close, finding the side netting.
Mal Benning had a decent opportunity with a free kick from 25 yards out, however his strike was straight into the wall and the rebound from the wing-back was saved well by Nicholls.
MK Dons substitute Callum Brittain had a good opportunity to give the visitors the lead yet he fired over from inside the Stags’ area after he was found well by Aneke.
Two minutes later and Benning delivered a free kick into the area after he was brought down by Brittain, with the ball falling to skipper Pearce who volleyed just wide.
Despite some late pressure from the Stags, the teams shared the points after an entertaining encounter between the two sides.
Mansfield Town’s next Sky Bet League Two fixture is away to Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday evening.
STAGS XI: Olejnik (GK), Preston, Pearce, Sweeney, Hamilton (Atkinson 90’), Mellis, Bishop, Benning, Khan (Butcher 46’), Walker (Davies 82’), Rose
SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), Gibbens, Elsnik, Graham
MK DONS XI: Nicholls (GK), Williams, Lewington, Walsh, Gilbey, Aneke (Watson 84’), Agard, Moore-Taylor (Brittain 46’), Houghton, Cargill, Healey
SUBS NOT USED: Moore (GK), Hancox, Simpson, D’Ath, Asonganyi
REFEREE: Sebastian Stockbridge
ASSISTANTS: David Avent & Richard Woodward
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Paul Hobday
ATTENDANCE: 4,329 (394 away)