Nicky Maynard’s second-half double was cancelled out as Mansfield Town drew 2-2 with Carlisle United at One Call Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Stags’ no. 11 had placed his side in the driving seat after a lacklustre opening period, until two late goals from the Cumbrians would ultimately salvage a point.
First, Elliot Watt looped in to halve the deficit until Joshua Kayode pounced from point-blank range in the dying embers – ensuring the points were shared.
Graham Coughlan signalled one solitary change from Tuesday’s trip to Oldham as CJ Hamilton made way for Neal Bishop.
Amidst tricky conditions in Nottinghamshire, the away side developed a foothold in the early exchanges.
Mike Jones thumped towards goal as the Stags flicked clear an initial long throw but skipper Krystian Pearce threw his body towards the effort.
Mansfield, though, were beginning to settle into a rhythm as they battled against the wind throughout the first period. Joe Riley moved centrally in order to feed Maynard but the intended pass carried too much weight.
Nathan Thomas was next to test his range for the visitors with a fizzed set-piece that Bobby Olejnik was able to safely touch above the bar.
And on 20 minutes, Alex MacDonald withdrew from the field of play.
The midfielder – despite his best efforts to continue after receiving treatment – was replaced by Will Tomlinson after seeming to clutch his hamstring.
Clear-cut chances were not evidently forthcoming with Nick Anderton recognising this as he forced Olejnik into a low save from distance.
Ryan Sweeney then rose highest at the far post to meet Mal Benning’s delivery, yet the angle proved too tight with Adam Collin able to claim.
Alert, resolute defending in the latter stages of the opening period kept the Cumbrians at bay and brought a goalless first half to its conclusion.
Mansfield appeared from the tunnel and were evidently enjoying better spells of possession early on.
A snapshot from Tomlinson had be quickly turned behind by Collin – before Pearce nodded the subsequent delivery onto the roof of the net.
And the home side’s dominance produced the opening goal to send Mansfield supporters into collective noise.
Maynard worked enough space on the edge of the area to power his low drive beyond Collin, who had little time to thwart the striker.
Carlisle showed glimpses of retaliating with several deliveries from wide areas that were eventually cleared by Coughlan’s men. Thomas tried to work space for a shot, or cross, but was crowded out for neither.
But Mansfield ultimately took advantage of the spaces that appeared and duly tucked home for a two-goal lead.
Maynard – who had only found the back of the net 14 minutes beforehand – capped a fine string of passes to sweep into the bottom right corner after latching onto Harry Charsley’s lay-off.
However, the goals continued to flow at One Call Stadium as the visitors pulled one back in remarkable fashion.
Watt sought to deliver the ball into the area but his misjudged cross caught everyone out, including goalkeeper Olejnik, who could only see the ball creep underneath his crossbar.
And the visitors would soon completely wipe away the arrears as the clock ticked into stoppage time.
From a set-piece on the right flank, Kayode was in the right place at the right time to smash home amongst a crowd of bodies, rescuing a point for the away side.
Mansfield travel to the Globe Arena next Saturday as they face Morecambe in Sky Bet League Two.
STAGS XI: Olejnik (GK), Benning, Pearce ©, Bishop, MacDonald (Tomlinson 20’), Maynard (Preston 88’), Watts, Sweeney, Riley, Charsley (Hamilton 77’), Rose.
UNUSED SUBS: Stone (GK), Davies, Clarke, Knowles.
CARLISLE XI: Collin (GK), Hayden, Thomas (Scougall 86’), Jones, Alessandra (McKirdy 59’), Watt, Jones, Webster, Bridge (Guy 59’), Kayode, Anderton.
UNUSED SUBS: Gray (GK), Iredale, Charters, Hunt.
REFEREE: Jarred Gillett
ASSISTANTS: Shaun Hudson & Mark Pottage
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Nik Barnard
ATTENDANCE: 4,272 (368 away)