Mansfield Town 1-1 Port Vale (EFL League Two) 19.10.21
A hard-earned draw against promotion chasers Port Vale is little consolation for a match Nigel Clough’s men dominated, the Stags now thirteen without a win which dates back to mid-August.
A bright start by Mansfield saw Harry Charsley’s shot deflected wide for a corner on three minutes before Bowery fired over on six, no signs of the home side lacking confidence in their attacking play early-doors.
On fourteen Bowery again missed the target with a second attempt, heading wide from Charsley’s cross before Olly Clarke shot over, the Stags starting to rue missed opportunities in not taking advantage of their pressure.
Another Bowery header forced Covolan in the Vale goal to make a save before the away side had their first attempt at the target, James Wilson heading wide from a free kick on 26.
As Ryan Oates blazed another opportunity inches over the frustration took its toll on 33 as Conlon then put the away side in the lead, against the run of play, Vales first and only shot on target in the half.
Mansfield might have thought that lead would be short lived, an effort by McLaughlin was again saved, tipped over by Covolan, inspired form on 38 before a penalty awarded to the home side four minutes before the break. Hawkins stepped up, only for the goalkeeper to save again.
Covolan would continue with his human shield early in the second half, a minute in denying Oates who tried his luck from long range before Hewitt did the same, this time far wide.
Mansfield though would get their reward for persistence, on 64 minutes Lapslie latched onto the ball to fire into the far corner and put the Stags level, nothing more than they deserved.
The Stags might have had another penalty when Quinn went down inside the area but the Referee this time was unmoved, and as in the first half, against the run of play, Conlon went close to making it 2-1 to Vale when he hit the post from a free kick with ten minutes remaining.
Luckily that time, it wasn’t to be for Vale, but a point earned was one that frustrated on an evening of missed opportunity.
Mansfield Town: Bishop, Charsley, Hewitt (J. Clarke 59), Rawson, McLaughlin, Lapslie, O. Clarke, Quinn (Ward 89), Oates (Johnson 77), Bowery, Hawkins.
Port Vale: Covolan, Martin, Smith, Jones, Worrall, Garrity, Pett, Conlon, Benning (Gibbons 76), Lloyd (Politic 56), Wilson (Rodney 56).
Venue: Field Mill (4,203)
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc Jordan Bowery tussles for the ball during a tough night.