Yoann Arquin rescued Mansfield Town an unlikely point in a crazy 4-4 thriller against bogey side Accrington Stanley at the One Call Stadium tonight.
The sub bagged a 90th minute leveller just as Stags fans looked set for heartbreak at Valentine’s Night to spark wild scenes.
Twice the struggling visitors opened out two-goal leads, but Mansfield, despite never hitting their recent heights and showing some uncharacteristic poor defending, also displayed a never-say-die attitude in a thriller.
Stags’ other scorers were Rhys Bennett, Hayden White and a Shaq Coulthirst penalty.
There was little love lost on Valentine’s Night with 10 bookings, six for Stanley, whose spoiling tactics won them few friends but who looked menacing every time they went forward.
Alex MacDonald was given a full debut. The winger, who signed in last month’s transfer window, made a big impact in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Hartlepool United, scoring one and making one after coming on as a substitute.
His inclusion in place of Alfie Potter was the only change as Stags aimed for a ninth League game unbeaten.
They had failed to beat struggling Stanley in their last 11 meetings with the last victory way back in 1961 before the club was reborn into its current guise.
Young midfielder Lewis Collins was added to the bench with James Baxendale missing out with illness.
The first threat came from the home side on four minutes as White sent the ball long from right back and Coulthirst controlled and made space before shooting low straight to keeper Rodak.
However, it was bogey side Stanley who snatched a shock lead after just five minutes.
McConville sent in a free kick from wide right and when no one was able to clear, the ball sat invitingly for Beckles to ram home from eight yards.
The referee had to calm tempers down soon after when McCartan appeared to go down in the box looking for a penalty.
On 12 minutes Whiteman met a far post free kick from the left by Byrom with a firm header that Rodak took above his head.
Stanley soon began to waste time when they could and on 18 minutes McCartan was booked for lobbing the ball goalwards after being caught offside.
Accrington wasted a great chance to double their advantage on 20 minutes.
McConville sent in a corner from the left, Kean failed to intercept and the ball was hooked over an inviting goal from six yards by Pearson.
MacDonald was booked on 27 minutes for bringing down McConville, McCartan wide of the far post with the free kick.
But Accrington were 2-0 up on 29 minutes. Collins allowed the ball to bounce in the box and McCartan showed good composure to turn and slot home a low finish inside the right post.
Mansfield’s reply was almost immediate as a Byrom corner from the right was headed goalwards by Pearce at the far post. It seemed to be blocked on the line, Bennett then apparently helping it over before it was cleared again with the referee deciding it had already crossed.
Byrom was added to the book for a late challenge on Conneely on 41 minutes.
At this stage Stags looked back in the contest but they were shaken by a spectacular goal by former Mansfield striker Kee a minute from the break.
There seemed little danger as ball down the right sailed towards Kee. But he used his physique to shrug off Bennett 20 yards out and then turned to send a magnificent dipping shot over Kean and under the far angle with the keeper clawing at thin air.
The thrills continued as Mansfield pulled another back in stoppage time. Byrom put in a superb free kick from the right and White was there at the far post to head over.
Even deeper into stoppage time a half-cleared Byron free kick reached MacDonald 20 yards out and the keeper pulled off a superb save to turn his shot round the post.
The battling Stags left the field to a tremendous ovation from their fans, despite the scoreline.
However, within five minutes of the restart the visitors should have netted again.
Beckles headed a corner goalwards, Kean let it go thinking it was wide and it came back off the post, Pearson heading the rebound over.
Bennett was booked for a foul on 51 minutes, then on 61 minutes Beckles was added for a bodycheck on Rose.
Mansfield were finally back level on 64 minutes from the spot. Conneelly stretched into a tackle on Pearce and caught him, the referee pointing to the spot and Coulthirst stepping up to coolly send the keeper the wrong way.
Incredibly, within two minutes Stanley were ahead again from a penalty of their own. Pearce’s block on Kee gave the kick away and Kee sent Kean the wrong way.
McCartan was inched over with a dipping 20 yard shot as this amazing game ebbed and flowed.
Matt Green was sent on for MacDonald on 71 minutes and two minutes later Hamilton sidefooted against the post from Coulthirst’s low cross.
On 78 minutes McConville’s free kick down the centre was pushed onto a post by Kean as Stanley went so close again.
As Arquin was sent on for Rose for the final push, Kee, now sporting a bandage from a cut head, became the night’s 9th booking for time-wasting.
Collins, soon after a warning, was deemed to have fouled McConville and out came card No.10.
With Kean out of position near the end, Boco slotted wide of an empty net.
But Stags fans were sent wild in the final minute of the 90 as White helped a long ball on and sub Arquin dipped a 25 yard half-volley over the keeper into into the net.
There were seven added nervy minutes in the end but the score was a fair one in the end.
STAGS: Kean; White, Bennett, Pearce, Benning; Lee Collins; Whiteman, Byrom (Hamilton HT), MacDonald (Green 71); Coulthirst, Rose (Arquin 79mins). Subs not used: Shearer, Potter, Arquin, McGuire, Lewis Collins.
ACCRINGTON: Rodak, Pearson, Hughes, Beckles, Clark, Brown, McCartan (Boco 72), McConville (Clare 90+5), Conneely, Kee (Edwards 82), Donacien. Subs not used: Chapman, Davies, Husin, Rodgers.
REFEREE: Mark Heywood of West Yorkshire.
ATTENDANCE: 3,226 (58 away). CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Hayden White.