ROSS Dyer’s equaliser earned Mansfield Town a Tuesday night FA Cup replay at big-spending Fleetwood Town after today’s tense fourth qualifying round tie ended 1-1 at Field Mill today.
In a tight first half, the Cod Army had a sixth minute Richard Brodie effort chalked off for offside while Gareth Seddon also hit the bar before Jamie Milligan’s free kick found the back of the net two minutes from the break.
But, with their first on-target effort of the game, Dyer put Stags level on 70 minutes, touching home as Stoke loanee Louis Moult drilled a shot across the face of goal.
The high-flying visitors looked the more likely to snatch it as Nathan Pond headed against the bar, Jamie McGuire clipped the angle, and Alan Marriott pulled off a brilliant save to deny Jamie Vardy.
The draw means Thursday’s scheduled televised visit by Cambridge will be moved back to next Saturday.
The visitors thought they had snatched a sixth minute lead as Brodie turned home a Milligan free kick from the left in the middle of a crowded six yard box, but Mansfield were relieved to see a raised offside flag.
That stunned Stags into attacking action and they won three successive corners.
Then, breaking forward, Green drew two defenders before cueing up Howell, who should have shot first time, but delayed and was quickly crowded out.
Soon after, Sutton crossed from the left, a defender slipped and Meikle was in front of goal alone only to miscontrol the ball on his chest and his eventual low ball in saw keeper Davies there ahead of the sliding Green’s outstretched leg.
Brown, who had been limping from an earlier challenge, was replaced by Goodall on 15 minutes.
Fleetwood broke on 16 minutes, ending with Seddon dragging a low shot at goal which, although it lacked real venom, still beat Marriott and clipped the outside of the post.
Murray’s 18 yard drive deflected narrowly over for a corner on 19 minutes.
Brodie went on a powerful run and threatened to get goalside of Riley. But Riley stuck to his task and stayed with him, Brodie eventually tumbling in the box and furious not to get anything.
Howell then made a great interception just inside the Fleetwood half and raced on, squaring the ball to Green at the last minute only to see Davies there first to gather before Green could shoot.
Brodie was continuing to complain to the official and there were huge cheers when he was finally booked on 42 minutes.
But the visitors were all smiles a minute later as the deadlock was broken.
Vardy won a free kick on the edge of the box, just right of centre and, with Marriott across towards his right post, Milligan stepped up to curl the ball over the wall and inside the keeper’s left post.
Beeley rolled around as if he had been shot right on half-time but was up quickly and running well once he knew he wasn’t going to get anything.
The half-time whistle then saw him pulled away from the referee as they left the field.
It was one hot shot for another at the break as Brodie was replaced by Brazilian ace Vieira for the Cod Army.
O’Neill blazed wildly over for the home side after his long throw was cleared back to him.
Then Vardy was wide from 25 yards with a powerful low effort at the other end.
Meikle produced a moment of magic on 59 minutes as he tricked his way between two opponents on the left and cut in to curl the ball inches wide of the far post with Green just unable to turn it home.
With Stags showing little threat, Paul Cox switched things round on 62 minutes, sending on forward Moult for midfielder Bolland and going 4-4-2.
And within six minutes the sides were level.
O’Neill pumped the ball long from the left towards the far post where Moult tried to turn it home across goal. The ball was going wide but Dyer raced in to sweep home from close range.
It was almost a short-lived parity as two minutes later Pond got up to meet a Milligan free kick and saw his header clip the top of the bar.
Then Vardy got into a dangerous position inside the right hand side of the box and tried a low shot that Marriott blocked with his knees.
Futcher twice came close to a home winner, first just inches away from getting his head on an O’Neill cross and then, from Meikle’s ball in, flicking a back header just wide.
Sutton was warned for dissent after a foul was given against Murray, one of several contentious decisions by the man in the middle, and when O’Neill was booked for what barely looked a foul soon after, Sutton was also yellow-carded for adding his comments.
Milligan saw a free kick deflect wide with Marriot wrong-footed.
Then Marriott saved Stags with four minutes left as Vardy went past Futcher top go one-on-one down the centre only to see the keeper get a hand to his vicious finish and manage to get it over the bar.
Fleetwood were looking to win this at the first time of asking and won three corners near the end, then from Vieira’s pass, McGuire’s finish clipped the angle.
Vieira dragged another effort wide of the far post as we entered the final minute of normal time.
STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Riley, Futcher, O’Neill; Bolland (Moult 62), Murray, Howell; Dyer, Green, Meikle. Subs: Somes, Redmond, Connor, Bell, Todd, Day.
FLEETWOOD: Davies; Beeley, McNulty, Pond, Brown (Goodall 15); Vardy, McGuire, Milligan; Mangan (Clancy 81), Brodie (Vieira HT), Seddon. Subs: Louis-Hamilton, Briggs, Cox, Brown.
REFEREE: Martin Smedley of Staffordshire.
ATTENDANCE: 1,725 (134 away).
GOALSCORERS: Stags – Dyer 70mins. Fleetwood – Mulligan 43mins.
CAUTIONS: Stags – O’Neill 84mins, Sutton 84mins. Fleetwood – Brodie 42mins.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ben Futcher.