THERE were boos from the home fans at the end as injury-hit Mansfield Town went a fourth game without a win when they were held goalless at home by struggling Lincoln.
Ex-Stags boss David Holdworth, now at the helm at Sincil Bank, would have been far happier with this result last night.
After a tight first half in which Matt Green had an effort disallowed for offside, Mansfield had much the better of the second half with City keeper Paul Farman making good saves to keep out Matt Rhead, Junior Daniel and Jake Speight.
But in the end it was two more precious points down the drain with high-flying Forest Green Rovers in town on Saturday (3pm).
Injury-hit Stags had madeseven changes, including a debut for on-loan Notts County youngster Liam Mitchell in goal and a surprise return for injured midfielder Gary Roberts.
Also in came John Dempster, back from a loan spell at Tamworth, Ryan Tafazolli, Andy Todd, Matt Rhead and Colin Daniel.
Out went injured trio John Thompson, Exodus Geohaghon and Anthony Howell plus keeper Shane Redmond, George Pilkington, Lindon Meikle, and new boy Solomon Taiwo, the latter trio all on the bench.
Lincoln included ex-Stags Adam Smith and Colin Larkin with Gary Mills on their bench.
There were a few boos from the home fans as Holdworth strolled across the pitch before kick-off.
Tafazolli headed clear a Nicolau free kick into the box in the opening minute.
Miller then slid in to rob Speight before he could shoot on the edge of the box after a long Mitchell clearance was helped on.
With no Geohaghon for Stags, it was City who carried the long throw threat with Gray, whose first effort from the right picked out Boyce who planted his header wide.
Green almost snatched Stags the lead with a far post header from Todd’s pinpoint cross from the right, but he guided the effort wide.
Nicolau took City’s first corner on 17 minutes which actually curled and struck the near post before being cleared.
Stags won their second corner soon after which was half cleared and then headed back wide of goal by Tafazolli.
Smith wasn’t too far over the top with a 25 yard free kick in the 20th minute as Lincoln threatened again.
Green blazed over after a great move involving Roberts and Rhead, though an offside flag was up.
Tempers were starting to boil with a succession of decisions going against Stags until Fofana was booked on 25 minutes for hacking down Roberts.
Miller wasn’t too far off with an audacious attempt from distance after spotting Mitchell off his line, though the keeper did seem to have it covered anyway.
Stags were almost caught napping when a corner when pulled back towards Gray, who had made a late run to the edge of the box only to fire low and wide.
On 36 minutes a superb ball over the top from inside his own half offered Green a very difficult first time volley on the run opportunity which he couldn’t connect with properly and bundled the ball tamely to Farman,
Stags did have the ball in the Lincoln net on 37 minutes as a superb pass by the energetic Todd picked out the run of Green, who was offside as he applied the killer finish.
Stags began the second half in much more impressive fashion and it took a vital block from Boyce to deny Green.
On 48 minutes a quickly-taken Murray free kick picked out Rhead whose on-target header was turned over well by Farman.
By now the home fans were finally starting to warm to their side’s efforts and getting behind them.
Another great Todd cross was headed down by Rhead and Green should have shot first time from 16 yards, but delayed and eventually laid the ball off to Murray whose effort was blocked.
There was a momentary worry in the box when Dempster gave the ball away to Smith who was eventually crowded out. Seconds later Smith was too high from outside the box.
Murray was booked for bringing down Smith on the hour, though was screaming at Sutton who he thought should have made the challenge.
Smith was well wide again from distance as Mitchell remained untested.
Mansfield threatened again as Rhead headed down a Roberts free kick on 65 minutes, but Speight lashed well over.
Two minutes later Mitchell had his first save to make as he beat aside a 25 yard Smith piledriver, Gilbert heading over from the ensuing corner.
Murray thought he had won a penalty on 70 minutes but was only given a free kick right on the edge of the box. And Roberts sent the kick into the wall.
With 16 minutes left, Tafazolli headed a Roberts corner goalwards where Green tried a bicycle kick but again didn’t catch it cleanly and saw the ball hit a defender.
Another decent Stags move ended with a shot from 25 yards from Roberts that dipped just too late as it passed over the bar.
On 83 minutes a long Murray cross from the left found Daniel whose fine 20 yard header had Farman scrambling across goal to turn it round the post.
Speight then forced another good save from Farman with a fierce 20 yard shot.
after a burst down the left from Daniel and square pass as time ran out on them and the boos began from sections of the crowd.
Mansfield Town: Mitchell; Sutton, Dempster, Tafazolli, Daniel; Roberts, Murray, Todd; Speight; Green, Rhead. Subs: Pilkington, Meikle, Briscoe, Stevenson, Taiwo.
Lincoln City: Farman, Boyce, Smith, Taylor, Gray, Nicolau, Bore (Sheridan 73), Miller, Gilbert, Larkin (Robinson 77), Fofana. Subs: Robson, Mills, Turner.
REFEREE: Karl Evans, of Wigan.
ATTENDANCE: 2,325 (334).
CAUTIONS: Mansfield - Rhead 14, Murray 60. Lincoln - Fofana 25. Lincoln - Sheridan 79.
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Green