CJ Hamilton the late hero as Mansfield Town steal a draw with Port Vale

CJ Hamilton was the Boxing Day hero with a stoppage time equaliser to give Mansfield Town a 2-2 home draw with Port Vale at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.

Thursday, 26th December 2019, 2:28 pm
Updated Sunday, 29th December 2019, 8:42 am
Port Vale's James Gibbons competes for the ball with Mansfield Town's Willem Tomlinson.
Port Vale's James Gibbons competes for the ball with Mansfield Town's Willem Tomlinson.

Two goals inside 13 second half minutes from Nathan Smith and Leon Legge had Vale in charge.

But Nicky Maynard's 81st minute reply gave home hope and then Hamilton pounced with a low cross-cum-shot inside the far post on 93 minutes to steal a share of the spoils.

Earlier, Danny Rose had missed two gilt-edged chances, one in each half, for Mansfield.

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It was a hard-earned point though Stags are now eight games without a win and without a home league win in five outings.

New Mansfield manager Grahan Coughlan will now be hoping to make it third time lucky for his first win at Bradford City on Sunday afternoon.

Unchanged Stags threatened in the opening minute as Cook brought down a Benning cross for Rose to smash a shot over the near post from a tight angle.

Then on six minutes Tomlinson floated a ball into the centre of the box where Sweeney could not get over the ball and saw his header float harmlessly over from a promising position.

Rose then picked up a long forward ball to the right of the box and turned to set up the incoming Hamilton for a shot that was always rising over.

On 15 minutes, after Montano had been booked for a foul, Benning was just too high with a free kick just outside the box after Cook had robbed Smith and tried to race away only to be tripped by Worrall.

Clarke was booked on 19 minutes after preventing a Vale break with a pull.

Rose really should have broken the deadlock on 29 minutes after Clarke had exchanged passes with Cook on the right and crossed. Hamilton failed to get a shot on target with the first contact, but the ball reached Rose at the far post who, with more time than he realised, lifted his finish over.

Vale finally fashioned a chance of their own on 32 minutes when Clarke failed to cut out a pass to Worrall whose near post cross saw Amoo head wide when he should have forced Olejnik into some work.

Seven minutes later a Joyce shot from 25 yards saw Olejnik only parry and Stags were relieved no other Vale players were on hand to tuck away the loose ball.

MacDonald put in a decent cross to the near post soon after which saw Smith do just enough to hinder Cook and the striker poked tamely to the keeper.

Benning's ball then almost sent Hamilton clear, Legge coming in with a crucial, mighty tackle, before Benning's crucial block stopped Burgess testing Olejnik at the other end as the half ended goalless.

Vale began the second half well but Mansfield created the first chance as Bishop controlled a half-clearance and whipped a half-volley just wide.

But Vale swept ahead on 53 minutes. Amoo sent in a low ball from the right and Smith stretched out a leg to poke home past Olejnik from six yards.

Five minutes later Rose wasted another golden chance as Hamilton pulled a low cross back from the left and an unmarked Rose sidefooted wide from 10 yards.

Cook tried his luck with a low shot from outside the box which Brown stopped but allowed to squirm away and had to grab at the second time of asking.

However, Vale were 2-0 up and in full command on 66 minutes.

Stags failed to clear Worrall's right wing corner and, amid an almighty scramble in the six yard box, Legge was finally able to force the ball over the line.

Stags quickly sent on Maynard and Khan for Rose and MacDonald and, soon after, Bishop was replaced by Mellis.

With 11 minutes to go Stags won their first corner of the game and Khan sent it long for Tomlinson to volley into the sidenetting at the far post.

Maynard gave Mansfield a lifeline on 81 minutes as Montano's poor attempted clearance went straight into the path of Maynard, who instinctively whipped a low finish inside the right post.

Four minutes were added and in the third of those, Stags were remarkably level.

Mellis slipped a pass out to Hamilton on the left and he drilled a low cross-cum-shot through everyone and inside the far post to spark unlikely celebrations.

STAGS: Olejnik; Clarke, Preston, Sweeney, Benning; MacDonald (Khan 68), Tomlinson, Bishop (Mellis 74), Hamilton; Cook, Rose (Maynard 68). Subs not used: Logan, Pearce, Davies, Knowles.

PORT VALE: Brown, Gibbons, Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Pope (Archer 86), Montano, Atkinson, Smith, Amoo, Burgess. Subs: Maddison, Cullen, Pugh, Browne, Evans, Lloyd.

REFEREE: Martin Coy of Durham.

ATTENDANCE: 5,565 (953 away).