Tom Conlon’s stunning free-kick was cancelled out by a Stags equaliser in the second half but we take a point in Mansfield.
Three changes to the side that was victorious over Barrow on the weekend with George Lloyd receiving his first start in the league since joining on loan from Cheltenham Town. The first chance of the night came at the other end with Jordan Bowery heading wide from close range after a cleared corner was sent back into the box on the quarter-hour mark.
The hosts had failed to win since the middle of August but they were the side creating the chances early on. Captain Ollie Clarke launched an effort from 30-yards which ended up way over Lucas Covolan’s goal on 17 minutes. Five minutes later Bowery got a header on target following a cross from the left but it was tame and caught easily by Covolan.
The Valiants were without top scorer Jamie Proctor and it showed in the early stages with Vale struggling to make keeper Nathan Bishop work. James Wilson had our first chance of the game from a free-kick won by Lloyd. Wilson won the header inside the area and powered it across the keeper but it just went wide of the far post.
Rhys Oates came close to the opener on 26 minutes. He got past Aaron Martin as he ran towards goal but Martin’s pressure ensured Oates’ shot went wide of the goal from inside the area.
After soaking up all of Mansfield’s pressure in the first half-hour Conlon gave us the lead. Lloyd won a free-kick right on the edge of the area, with it being so close to goal it would have taken some strike to get it up and over the wall and back down so he went to the keeper’s side and struck it into the top right corner giving Bishop no chance.
Three minutes before the half and Mansfield were awarded a penalty controversially as the Stags forward went down in the area when it looked like Dan Jones had not touched him. Oli Hawkins stepped up but his penalty was saved by Covolan who dived to his right and stopped the ball with a big left hand before Nathan Smith headed the danger away.
The hosts came out of the half-time break sharp. Tom Pett was disposed and the loose ball fell to Oates who shot on the turn from 25-yards but his effort was saved comfortably by Covolan inside the first minute of the restart. A few minutes later Elliot Hewitt tried an ambitious effort from 30-yards out but it went high and wide of the goal.
64 minutes played and the hosts got back level through George Lapslie. Bowery got past Smith on the left and played a ball low across the face of goal which was tapped home by Lapslie. 11 minutes left to play and substitute James Gibbons won a free-kick around 22-yards out, Conlon’s effort this time hit the crossbar and bounced out of play over the goal.
A scrappy end to the game with neither side creating much in the later stages as the game stayed all-sqaure.
Mansfield Town: Bishop, Mclaughlin, Hewitt (59’ J.Clarke), Rawson, Charsley, O.Clarke, Bowery, Hawkins, Quinn (89’ Sinclair), Oates (77’ Johnson), Lapslie
Subs not used: Shelvey, Burke, Ward, Law
Port Vale: Covolan, Jones, Smith, Worrall, Garrity, Wilson (57’ Rodney), Conlon, Benning (77’ Gibbons), Martin, Lloyd (57’ Politic), Pett
Subs not used: Stone, Taylor, Amoo, Amos