Mansfield Town let two precious points slip through their fingers in this afternoon’s 1-1 home draw with 10-men rivals Coventry City.
Amid a red hot atmosphere, City had Jordan Willis sent off as early as the 14th minute and when the resulting free kick deflected home off Kane Hemmings the Stags were in charge.
But, despite a string of chances, the home side failed to kill off the visitors and paid a big price when Alex MacDonald fouled Jonson Clarke-Harris in the box on 71 minutes and the Coventry striker rocketed home the spot kick.
It was a highly entertaining game with plenty of incident for the big crowd.
But it ended in frustration that three points that looked in the bag had ended up as only one.
After two big wins and two clean sheets it was no great surprise that Stags boss Steve Evans named an unchanged starting XI and unchanged bench.
Stags reserves had won 5-0 in midweek with a number of eye-catching performances. But they were not enough to persuade Evans to shuffle his in-form pack today.
City, on a run of four defeats, welcomed back skipper Michael Doyle and Rod McDonald.
Their bench included ex-Stags loanee Peter Vincenti.
Before kick-off there was a well-observed minute’s silence for Coventry brothers Corey (six) and Casper (two) Platt-May who were killed when they were struck by a car as they crossed a road this week.
City began the game on the front foot, forcing three quick corners. From the second McDonald was afforded a free header at the far post which Logan did well to beat away on two minutes.
The game then evened out for a while, though Logan had to get down well to block a low Clarke-Harris shot from McNulty’s set-up on 14 minutes.
But the game erupted on 14 minutes when Rose got goalside of last man Willis and was brought down.
An automatic red card was shown and Stags had a free kick on the edge of the box in a central position.
MacDonald stepped up to drill it low and the ball took a deflection off Hemmings, who turned to celebrate as the keeper dived the other way and was helpless to stop it creeping over the line inside the post.
Doyle was booked for a foul which saw Stags again get the ball into the City box, reaching Hamilton, whose low cross evaded everyone.
Soon after MacDonald was wide after a good series of passes as Stags began to warm to their task.
After an encouraging spell of home pressure and possession, Stags’ first corner on the half-hour saw Bennett head over from Potter’s flag kick.
On 34 minutes McNulty did well to stop the ball going for a goal kick and managed to hook it back on target from the tightest of angles to force Logan to tip over and pull off another important save.
Six minutes later, from a Coventry corner, Stags broke well with Hamilton’s pace down the right, getting away a low shot that Burge had to turn away for a corner.
Hemmings should have doubled the lead on 43 minutes. Anderson put over a near post from the right and Hemmings’ guided a free header wide from seven yards.
Four minutes after the restart King was booked for his lunge on Doyle.
The half began slowly but Mansfield eventually started to wind up the pressure on the visitors without testing Burge.
They finally brought Burge back into action on 62 minutes as Hamilton pulled the ball back low for Hemmings to sidefoot a finish the keeper turned away.
Then MacDonald was just wide from 20 yards after more home pressure.
City created their first chance of the half on 69 minutes as Haynes’ flashing shot saw Logan’s fingertips turn it into the sidenetting.
But when Stags failed to clear the corner, City took their chance to level.
MacDonald brought down Clarke-Harris with a clumsy challenge just inside the box and a spot kick was awarded, Clarke-Harris dispatching it with venom to send the travelling fans wild with delight behind that goal.
Stags threw on Miller and Mellis for Hemmings and King with time slipping away and two vital points in danger of being lost.
With eight minutes to go MacDonald shaped to cross from a free kick but instead tried a cheeky low shot which Burge saved at his near post.
Stags had a penalty shout on 87 minutes when Miller went down, but the referee added him to the book for simulation instead.
Four minutes were added, but Stags failed to find a winner as the afternoon ended in disappointment.
STAGS: Logan; Anderson, Pearce, Bennett, Benning; Potter, King (Mellis 79), MacDonald, Hamilton; Rose, Hemmings (Miller 74). Subs: Olejnik, Spencer, Diamond, Penney, Atkinson.
COVENTRY: Burge, Grimmer, Willis, McDonald, Haynes, Bayliss, Doyle, Kelly (Hyam 21), Shipley, McNulty (Ponticelli 67), Clarke-Harris (Biamou 81). Subs not used: O’Bryen, Stokes, Vincenti, Reid.
REFEREE: Michael Salisbury of Preston.
ATTENDANCE: 6,105 (1,523 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: CJ Hamilton.