Despite numerous chances, Mansfield Town played out a goalless draw against Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose on Saturday afternoon.
The Stags’ best chance of the afternoon landed at the feet of Nicky Maynard who, when clean through on goal, rolled the ball agonisingly wide of the target.
However, there was to be no mark on the scoresheet for either side as they both left with one point in hand.
John Dempster made two alterations to the line-up that secured passage into the FA Cup second round last Saturday.
Neal Bishop missed out due to a slight back problem while Otis Khan himself was suffering with a minor groin problem.
This paved the way for Conor Shaughnessy to return in midfield alongside Krystian Pearce, who captained the side.
Under a fine sheet of rain in Cheshire, Mansfield sought to take an early advantage.
Andy Cook brought the ball under control before feeding Maynard whose eventual touch ran too far ahead of the striker.
Macclesfield equally wanted to break the deadlock as early as possible – Theo Archibald showing a burst of pace down the right-hand side before Matt Preston shifted across to deal with the immediate threat.
A quickly-taken set-piece so nearly had Will Tomlinson behind the hosts’ defensive line, had it not been for Theo Vassell’s alertness.
The midfielder, though, did have an opportunity present itself just minutes later. A loose ball fell to the no. 16 on the edge of the area but his dragged effort was collected by Owen Evans.
Tomlinson seemed to be involved heavily in the opening quarter-hour, highlighted as his immaculate pass freed Cook before his cross sailed beyond everyone in the centre.
Down the other end, Arthur Gnahoua tried his luck from range but his curler flew clear of Conrad Logan’s goal.
Mansfield’s best chance of a goalless first half arrived three minutes from the interval. Shaughnessy found Maynard in space and the subsequent effort was palmed away unconvincingly by Evans.
The Stags’ attempted to recycle possession and fashion another chance, yet Nathan Cameron was on hand to clear.
And two minutes into stoppage time, Gnahoua forced a reflex stop from Logan to ensure the scores were level heading into the changing rooms.
Into the second half and Dempster’s side looked to assert themselves high up the field.
Kellan Gordon’s sublime touch and delivery connected with Maynard, but the unsighted striker had the ball bounce off him before he was able to set himself.
The Silkmen began to build some momentum and had several chances in quick succession to find the back of the net.
First Jay Harris and then Miles Welch-Hayes had two efforts blocked commendably by Stags players as the hosts sought to make their mark.
Meanwhile, resolute defending almost turned into a spot-kick at the other end as Mansfield broke with pace.
Mal Benning and Maynard linked up on the counter, with the former going down under the challenge of Vassell – only to see the offside flag raised in the home side’s favour.
And they came agonisingly close on 62 minutes. Maynard rushed onto Alex MacDonald’s through ball but could only slide the ball the wrong side of Evans’ upright.
The amber and blue continued to carve out chances; the next coming from Maynard’s cross that so narrowly evaded substitute Danny Rose on the stretch.
Rose - who had been on the field a matter of moments - then departed the field himself after pulling up on the far side, clutching his hamstring.
But there would be no dramatic finish in Cheshire as both sides returned home with one point apiece.
Mansfield’s next outing again comes in Sky Bet League Two as they travel to The County Ground to face in-form Swindon Town.
STAGS XI: Logan (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, MacDonald, Maynard (Hamilton 80’), Shaughnessy, Tomlinson (Mellis 63’), Sweeney, Cook (Rose 75’), Gordon.
UNUSED SUBS: Olejnik (GK) Afolayan, Sterling-James, Smith.
MACCLESFIELD XI: Evans (GK), Kelleher ©, Vassell, Gnahoua, Harris, Stephens (Blyth 90’), Archibald (Ironside 48’), Welch-Hayes, Kirby, Fitzpatrick, Cameron.
UNUSED SUBS: Charles-Cook (GK), Horsfall, Ntambwe, Rose.
REFEREE: Christopher Sarginson
ASSISTANTS: Wade Smith & Stephen Wade
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Anthony Moore