Mansfield Town drew 1-1 with Lincoln City as Krystian Pearce’s early header was cancelled out by John Akinde’s penalty in Sky Bet League Two on Monday evening.
The skipper had given the hosts a third-minute lead after converting a pinpoint corner beyond the reach of Lincoln’s goalkeeper.
But on 75 minutes, the visitors were given a golden chance to level proceedings – which was duly taken by Akinde’s as he calmly rolled home his spot-kick to ensure the spoils were shared following a battle-hardened contest in the Midlands.
In response to the stalemate at Crawley in midweek, David Flitcroft welcomed back the centre-half pairing of Ryan Sweeney and Matt Preston.
Otherwise, it was business as usual as Mansfield sought after their latest victory in Sky Bet League Two.
And it took less than three minutes for the hosts to signal their unwavering intent.
Mal Benning invited a header with a teasing delivery and it was Pearce who accepted such invitation as he rose highest to nod home from close-range.
One Call Stadium crackled with noise following the opener and the hosts continued to threaten thereafter.
Gethin Jones continued to find space down the right flank as he won a succession of corners for the amber and blue.
Lincoln though, were not without threat, as they threatened to break on the counter.
Combination work between Akinde and Bruno Andrade almost led to an incisive opening had it not been for some smart defending at the last.
Mansfield’s opening goalscorer, Pearce, then found himself doing some important defensive work – hooking the ball away from danger following a teasing City cross.
At the other end, Tyler Walker applied hefty pressure onto Matt Gilks as he looked to claim Jones’ cross.
The on-loan striker then had a brilliant opportunity to finish a crisp passage of play; but he was unable to direct Hamilton’s reverse pass on target.
Moments later, Jorge Grant assumed responsibility of a free-kick he won but the subsequent effort was too close to Gilks.
Mansfield were then handed a huge warning sign as Akinde wrestled for possession and allowed Mark O’Hara to unleash a strike that was only stopped by a teammate as it whistled goalwards.
Harry Toffolo was soon on the charge for the Imps but his low, driven cross was grasped firmly by Conrad Logan.
But Mansfield responded after the break with two corners of their own, which reared no end product on this occasion.
Hamilton was then set through to utilise his blistering pace, yet saw his effort thwarted by Gilks.
And there were hearts in mouths for the Mansfield contingent just short of the hour mark.
Logan looked to have dealt with a bouncing cross before spilling the ball, almost into the path of Harry Anderson, yet the Stags’ shot-stopper was able to claim at the second opportunity.
But the Mansfield ‘keeper was not so lucky when he was adjudged to have fouled Anderson inside his penalty area.
Referee Graham Scott showed little hesitation in awarding a spot-kick, which Akinde tucked away to restore parity on 75 minutes.
In an attempt to retake the lead, Pearce once again met a high ball with his head but his flicked header was straightforward for Gilks.
Andrade then found space on the left side, however, his low shot was well smothered by Logan.
Both sides continued to press for a winner as Walker found himself inches away from Alex MacDonald’s header.
But it proved to be unattainable for the Stags and the Imps with both sides taking a point apiece.
Mansfield’s next fixture arrives this Saturday, again at One Call Stadium, as they welcome Crewe Alexandra in Sky Bet League Two.
STAGS XI: Logan (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop, Mellis (Tomlinson 90+2’), Sweeney, Walker, Jones, Hamilton, Grant (MacDonald 59’).
SUBS NOT USED: Smith (GK), Khan, Ajose, Turner, A. Smith.
LINCOLN CITY XI: Gilks (GK), O’Connor (Pett 67’), O’Hara, Andrade, Toffolo, Bostwick, Rowe, Eardley ©, Bolger, Anderson, Akinde (Rhead 90+3’).
SUBS NOT USED: Vickers (GK), Frecklington, Angol, Wilson, McCartan.
REFEREE: Graham Scott.
ASSISTANTS: Michael McDonough & Peter Kirkup.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Andrew Madley.
ATTENDANCE: 7,177 (1,603 away).