Mansfield Town secure hard-earned point at promotion hopefuls Exeter City
Exeter City 0 Mansfield Town 0
Mansfield Town’s winless run might have extended to seven League Two matches, but the Stags impressed on the road in an entertaining goalless draw at play-off hopefuls Exeter.
The Stags will continue their search for a first away success since January, but they gave Exeter a real run for their money in this one and manager Nigel Clough will surely take heart from his team’s overall performance.
The Stags made a hugely positive start to the game in sun-drenched Devon, and almost struck in the opening minutes.
Stephen Quinn crossed in for George Lapslie, and he flicked an effort inches off target.
Jordan Bowery was looking lively, and he saw a goal-bound effort blocked as the Stags maintained their impressive early momentum.
Mid-way through the opening period the Stags almost went in front in spectacular style as Quinn’s cracking volley from distance only just cleared the crossbar.
Boss Clough will have undoubtedly been pleased with the start his side had made, but Exeter went close on the half-hour mark when Lewis Page’s shot was narrowly off target.
Back came the battling Stags, and in the 33rd minute full-back Stephen McLaughlin drilled in a strike which Icelandic keeper Jokull Andresson saved competently.
Shortly before the interval Stags’ ‘keeper Aidan Stone was called upon to push a diving header from Matt Jay round the post.
It had been an encouraging opening 45 minutes from Clough’s men, but they couldn’t find what would probably have been a deserved breakthrough against an Exeter side whose promotion tilt has faltered of late, thanks to four defeats in their previous five games.
Just before the hour mark the Stags went close following a rapid break out of defence.
The ball was worked out to Bowery, whose smart cross was headed inches off target by the unfortunate Ollie Clarke.
Referee Carl Brook then faced strong penalty claims from the Stags players after Tyrese Sinclair looked to have been bundled over in the Exeter area, but the man in the middle remained unmoved.
Sinclair then forced Andresson into another decent stop, but the victory wouldn’t quite come, though a clean sheet will also surely please Clough.
Exeter: Andresson, Key (Caprice, 76), Sweeney, Parkes, Page, Willmott (Seymour, 83), Taylor, Collins, Sparkes (Williams, 46), Bowman, Jay. Subs not used: Atangana, McArdle, Lee, Kite.
Stags: Stone, Perch, Rawson, Sweeney, McLaughlin, Maris, O Clarke, Lapslie, Quinn, Bowery, Sinclair (Reid, 83). Subs not used: Stech, Benning, Charsley, Gordon. Ward, Law.
Referee: Carl Brook.