FRUSTRATED Stags boss Paul Cox was left gobsmacked after watching his on-song side once again fail to turn attacking dominance into three league points.
Impressive Mansfield created a hatful of chances during a fluid first half display but were unable to find the decisive second goal and were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Gateshead.
Stags, who have now slipped to 10th in the BSP table six points behind Cambridge in the last play-off spot, had taken a 10th minute lead after a superb finish by Ross Dyer.
But confident Mansfield spurned a number of glorious chances to kill the game off with Ross Dyer, Lindon Meikle and Lee Stevenson, who was making only his second start for the club, all failing to the make the most of good chances.
Defender Kieron Freeman was also denied by an acrobatic save after his miss-hit cross nearly crept in under the crossbar on 15 minutes, while top scorer Matt Green also made a hash of two glorious one-on-one chances in the opening 10 minutes.
Loan defender John Dempster also blew a fantastic chance to double the Stags lead on 65 minutes when he diverted a Dyer snapshot over the bar when unmarked six yards out.
It was a very costly miss as Gateshead, who had been reduced to hopeful shots from distance for the vast majority of the game, finally sparked into life as the second half wore on - no doubt given new confidence by Mansfield’s inability to put the game out of sight.
And former Stag Jon Shaw showed his opponents how to finish when he clinically nodded home a Chris Moore cross to earn the north east side an undeserved share of the spoils.
Speaking after the game boss Paul Cox was shell-shocked by the club’s ninth draw in 21 league games.
“I am gobsmacked how we did not win that game, we wasted so many clear cut chances,”he said. “I am gutted for the players and gutted for the fans, they deserved three points.
“The dressing room was very low after that, it is hard when you have played as well as that and not won.
“The fans were magnificent tonight and the players were as well. We had good energy and played some good stuff without finding the end product, I just cannot believe that we did not win.
“Gateshead are a good team with some very good players, but we made them look ordinary. We could have been 3-0 up after 30 minutes and should have put the game out of their reach well before they scored.
“Jon Shaw had one chance and scored from it. We cannot keep missing the chances that we are doing,
“Our points tally should be much better than it is right now. We have got to learn to be more clinical and to finish teams off. If you cannot do that then you will not win football games. The teams that will be at the top come the end of the season will be the teams that are the most ruthless in both boxes.”
Stags will hope to find their first win in five league outings when they entertain promoted Braintree on Saturday.