MANSFIELD Town had to be satisfied with a point on their return to league action following a two-week lay-off at struggling AFC Telford this afternoon.
An otherwise uneventful afternoon will be best remembered by a large away following for a sterling overdue debut from summer signing John Thompson.
But, despite good spells of possession in both halves, Mansfield lacked any cutting edge up front, home keeper Ryan Young enjoying a comfortable afternoon.
Indeed, the Bucks engineered the better chances with Richard Davies wondering how he didn’t finish with a hat-trick, putting a great early chance wide, hitting the bar from distance and seeing Alan Marriot smother another effort.
But Thompson slotted in perfectly as the back four turned in a decent display on an afternoon when defences ended up on top.
Telford almost sneaked into a fourth minute lead when Farrell helped on a Salmon free-kick from the right which left Davies with sight of goal from 10 yards, only to bundle his finish wide.
Stags defended a home corner, then Sharp curled an attempt well over the far angle as Telford enjoyed the early edge.
It took 18 minutes for Stags to test home keeper Young, and that came from a ball in by Freeman that looked more of a cross than a genuine long range goal attempt.
Hegarty got in a glancing header from a Meikle right wing cross which lacked enough strength and direction to seriously test Young as we reached the 25 minute mark.
But on 28 minutes Howell allowed Davies to outmuscle him for the ball 40 yards from goal and Davies then ran on unchallenged to curl a fine effort against the crossbar, Sutton quickly heading the rebound for a corner for safety.
Two minutes later play swept up to the other end with O’Neill’s dangerous cross half-cleared to Green who pulled a firm, low first time finish just wide.
Dyer, who had swapped with Meikle and was now up front, was too high with an off-balance header from a Freeman cross as Mansfield finally began to knock the ball around with some purpose.
Davies was booked for going in hard with foot up on Meikle six minutes from the break.
Three minutes later Newton was also shown the yellow card as he left a foot in to take out O’Neill after the full back had sent over a right wing cross.
The half ended with a 25 yard blast from O’Neill straight at Young as the sides went in goalless.
Connor replaced the disappointing Hegarty for the second half, Dyer dropping back to right wing.
But it was the Bucks who produced the first threat as Farrell had a 12 yard blast deflect wide for a corner from which he headed wide.
Dyer then slipped a great ball through for Green to chase only to see Young get down well as the forward, under pressure from a defender tried to flick the ball past the keeper.
Mansfield again began to construct a lengthy spell of possession with Green looking a handful.
He burst into the box after a great run down the right only to see his final ball cleared, then he had a shot charged down and soon after flicked a header over the bar from a Meikle cross.
Jones replaced Farrell and with his first touch forced Marriott to his right to keep out a 20 yard attempt.
Two more home corners followed, the second seeing Newton crash a rising drive over the top.
Davies once more came close on 67 minutes as he beat Howell to a Smith free-kick inside the box only to see Marriott quickly out to smother his attempted finish.
The game was then held up for a change of linesman after one of them appeared to pull a muscle.
In Telford’s next raid Jones lifted the ball into Marriott’s arms when trying to hoist it over him while sandwiched between two defenders.
Murray was booked for bringing down Davies just outside the box, giving Telford an inviting free-kick, the wall doing its job to thwart Davies.
That was Davies’ final chance as he made way for Adams, making his 200th appearance for the Bucks for the final five minutes.
There were five minutes also added on at the end, but, although Murray and Meikle had shots blocked, there was no be no late twist as the sides shared the spoils.
AFC TELFORD: Young; Salmon, Whitehead, Killock, Valentine; Newton, Smith, Davies (Adams 85), Cain; Farrell (Jones 61), Sharp (90). Subs: Preston, Robinson.
STAGS: Marriott; O’Neill, Thompson, Sutton, Freeman; Dyer, Murray, Howell, Hegarty (Connor HT); Meikle, Green. Subs: Redmond, Day, Bolland, Moult.
REFEREE: Darren Bond of Lancashire.
CAUTIONS: AFC Telford – Valentine 39, Newton 42, Davies 51. Stags – Murray 78.