League Two leaders Doncaster Rovers fought back to earn a 1-1 draw after Matt Green had put Mansfield Town in control of this afternoon’s tense derby at One Call Stadium.
A tight first half saw neither keeper forced into a save and Stags keep up their record of never having scored at home in a first half all season.
But Steve Evans’ men were rewarded for a gutsy start to the second half when Green guided a low Mal Benning shot out of the keeper’s reach on 59 minutes – his 10th of the season.
However, on 77 minutes Rovers were level from the spot as Liam Mandeville sent Scott Shearer the wrong way after the keeper had brought down Tommy Rowe.
The visitors poured forward in search of a winner against the tiring Stags and Rowe hit the post with two minutes to go, but it would have been cruel on a Mansfield side that had matched their high-flying visitors all afternoon.
Mansfield made four changes. Pat Hoban, Ashley Hemmings and Jamie McGuire were all left out on the bench and Darius Henderson left out altogether.
In up front came Danny Rose to partner Matt Green after some excellent displays off the bench in recent weeks.
With McGuire rested, Lee Collins took over as defensive midfielder with Mal Benning back in the side at left back after suspension.
James Baxendale and CJ Hamilton came back into the side midfield.
Rovers included ex-Stags winger Matty Blair.
The game kicked off amid an excellent atmosphere with neither keeper tested in a tight opening few minutes.
On 15 minutes Stags won a free kick on the left which Clements rolled square to Benning only to see his firm shot strike a defender.
Stags thought they had a good shout for a penalty as Danny Rose was shoved in the back from a Hamilton cross on 20 minutes. But the referee disagreed and then gave offside anyway.
When Rovers finally got into the home box on 22 minutes Benning slid in with a great tackle before Mandeville could line up a shot.
It took 31 minutes for the first corner of the first half, which Williams nodded tamely wide of the near post for the game’s first real goal attempt.
Rovers then cleared the home side’s first corner on 37 minutes.
Seconds later Green charged down an attempted clearance from keeper Marosi but, with the keeper out his box, the home side were unable to capitalise before he was back in front of his goal.
On 39 minutes Williams headed a left wing cross over the home crossbar, while Stags also survived a scramble after a poor header away by Howkins as an ultra-tight half ended goalless.
Within three minutes of the restart Stags defender Pearce was booked for a foul.
On 49 minutes Stags forced the first save either keeper had made as Hamilton’s fierce drive was turned aside by Marosi at his near post.
Hamilton then burst into the box on the left and pulled back a high cross which Bennett headed well over in what was a promising start to the second half for Mansfield.
Butler and Green were lectured after a c lash by the referee and Butler booed when he refused to shake hands afterwards.
Seconds later Rose fed Green and Baudry, just back on the pitch with his head bandaged from a cut, did well to get in the way of Green’s shot and concede a corner.
Stags were rewarded for their fine start to the half with the opening goal on 59 minutes.
Baxendale’s corner was cleared out to Benning, who drilled the ball back towards goal and Green deftly guided it low just inside the left post.
On 63 minutes, with the home fans in full cry, Hamilton forced Marosi to smother his near post effort with Green trying to pounce on any loose ball as the keeper grabbed it at the second attempt.
A poor header away by Howkins on 69 minutes put the home defence under pressure, but Marquis crashed his finish into the sidenetting.
At the other end Clements slipped a pass through for Rose to turn and prod just wide.
Danny Rose was booked for his protests to a linesman over a throw-in decision on 71 minutes.
On 72 minutes Baxendale gave the ball away and allowed Mandeville a curling effort from 18 yards that went wide.
Middleton was booked for hacking Green down in full flight on 74 minutes.
However, the visitors were level from the spot on 77 minutes.
Marquis ran onto a pass in the box and Shearer came to meet him and blocked his initial shot.
The ball ran to Rowe and Shearer tried to smother at his feet but brought the player down for a cast-iron penalty.
Mandeville stepped up and sent Shearer the wrong way to the delight of the away following behind that goal.
Hoban replaced Rose up front for Stags before the game restarted.
With four minutes left Mitch Rose and Hurst came on for Clements and Baxendale in one last push for a home win.
But with two minutes left from a corner Rowe flicked a header that hit the inside of the near post and rolled into Shearer’s grateful hands.
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Benning, Collins (c), Pearce, Clements (M. Rose 86), Green, Baxendale (Hurst 86), Howkins, Hamilton, D. Rose (Hoban 79). Subs not used: Jensen, Hoban, Thomas, Hemmings, McGuire.
ROVERS: Marosi, Mason, Alcock (Middleston 63), Butler (c), Baudry, Rowe, Blair, Houghton, Mandeville (Keegan 85), Marquis, Williams. Subs not used: Jones, Wright, Keegan, Beestin, Calder, Longbottom.
REFEREE: Stephen Martin of Staffordshire.
ATTENDANCE: 5,042 (1,618 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Danny Rose.