REPORT: Crewe Alexandra 2-2 Mansfield Town
Mansfield opened their League Two account with a hard-fought point in an action-packed opening day 2-2 draw at Crewe Alexandra.
The Stags were forced to come from behind twice as goals from Danny Rose and new boy David Mirfin earned them a point from a thoroughly entertaining encounter at Alexandra Stadium.
Crewe’s Chris Porter made it a dream debut as he bagged a brace with headers either side of the break.
Manager Steve Evans handed out seven debuts to his new-look side.
It was a fairly even first half to the season, but the hosts deserved to be in front at the break.
Rose headed Mal Benning’s pinpoint cross over early on, before Conrad Logan was called into action to deny George Cooper.
Minutes later Logan was tested low by Perry Ng, after a silky one-two between the defender and Chris Dagnall.
On the stroke of half time Crewe went in front. The hosts were able to get the ball back into the box after the initial corner was half cleared with Porter powering home from eight yards out.
Evans’ team talk got the Stags going as they came out with renewed vigour after the restart.
Rose equalised nine minutes into the second half as he diverted Benning’s ball into the bottom corner.
Minutes later Rose fired agonisingly wide after Mellis did well to play him in.
Down the other end the Stags went behind again as Porter got his second with a glancing header just after the hour mark.
But the hosts’ lead was short lived as Mirfin got on the end of Joel Byrom’s finely struck free kick to level once again.
Both sides pushed hard for a timely winner late on. A flying Anderson was kept out with a stunning stop from Garratt, before Logan denied Dagnall with his legs right at the death.
In stoppage time the Stags had shouts for a penalty turned down after Omari Sterling-James’ shot struck a defender.
Crewe: Garratt, Ng, Walker, Raynes, Nolan, Ainley (Bowery, 80), Wintle, Lowery, Cooper, Porter, Dagnall.
Subs: Richards, Pickering, Sass-Davies, Dale, FInney.
Mansfield: Logan, White, Diamond, Mirfin, Benning, Atkinson, Mellis (Digby, 77), Byrom, Anderson, Angol (Sterling-James, 71), Rose (Hamilton, 83).
Subs: Olejnik, Bennett, Pearce, Potter.
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire)
Attendance: 4,933 (1,392 away)