Mansfield Town are now without a win in five games but picked up their third straight draw this evening, drawing 0-0 with manager-less Bury. The Stags played the final 28 minutes with ten men after captain John Dempster was dismissed just after the hour for violent conduct following a late challenge, however despite playing with ten men, the Stags should not be satisfied with a point after wasting numerous chances during the first period.
Up against a struggling side it should have been like taking candy from a baby for Stags, however the lack of killer instinct seemed evident in the first half as they failed to beat former Burnley keeper Brian Jensen in the Bury goal.
The Stags first chance came just two minutes in as Matt Rhead provided the flick for Ollie Palmer however the young striker was beaten by the wise old head of Jensen who reacted quicker, racing off his line to collect the loose ball.
Next up it was the turn of debutant Jack Blake, brought into the line up at the expense of Kerian Murtagh. The Nottingham Forest loanee linked up well with Sam Clucas before unleashing a 25 yard drive which was palmed behind by the active Jenson for the games first corner, which was then punched away.
A rare mistake between the shakers gloves-man and his defender saw Stags handed a real chance on 21 minutes, however Matt Rhead couldn’t turn Ollie Palmers pinpoint cross into a goal as he flicked wide from six yards.
Managerless Shakers then had two chances in three minutes as Danny Hylton weaved his way into the box before teeing up Tom Soares, the Bury front man failed to keep his effort down minutes before Alan Marriott sprung into action, denying former Burton Albion striker Shaun Harrad who squeezed an effort through a crowd of bodies.
Ollie Palmer was then felled as he looked to latch onto Sam Clucas’ central pass on 33 minutes, the resulting free kick from James Jennings failed to inspire as it bounced back off the wall.
The first half’s chances concluded on 41 minutes for Stags as James Jennings’ deep free kick was crossed back in to the box by Beevers. Junior Daniel controlled expertly but was denied by an equally fine save by Jensen, his opposite number Marriott was also called into action second later at the other end as Harrad connected with a well hit volley from Sean Beeley’s right sided cross – Mansfield withstood two consecutive corners to go into the break level.
The second half began a drab affair as the two sides battled it out in the centre of the park, only Jack Blake dared change things as he hit an early dipping effort however it did nothing bar awake the ball boys.
On 62 minutes Jensen made a rare fumble to gift the Stags an unexpected corner, Jennings delivery failed to test the hosts and as they countered, John Dempster appeared to lunge into a rash challenge which led to a 22 man brawl, before the Stags captain was shown a straight red card for violent conduct.
Ritchie Sutton soon replaced Ollie Palmer to keep the back four, with his feet barley on the turf, keeper Alan Marriott pulled off a fine save to deny Chris Sedgwick as the hosts looked keen to take advantage of the extra man.
Marriott again was called into action as the ten men were pulled apart down the left hand side, this time Danny Mayor pulled the trigger as Mansfield, without leader Dempster and with Riley struggling with injury, began to crumble.
On 74 minutes, Martin Riley limped off injured being replaced by Godfrey Poku, making his debut a year and roughly three months after signing from Luton. The former Hatter slotted in as an emergency centre half and was settled in as Marriott again saved from Mayor.
At the other end a forceful run from Rhead saw Jennings given the chance to take a dangerous set play, the only danger however was Bury’s counter attack following the weak delivery – Godfrey Poku soon put a stop to that with a solid clearance.
Alan Marriott again proved the hero with a one handed save to deny a 25 yard curler from Tom Soares, again after a teasing run from substitute Mayor – the Stags soaked up the building pressure from the resulting corner, watching on as Harrad’s cross was nodded over by Hylton with the seven minutes to go.
A final throw of the dice was made a minute later as Calvin Andrew replaced Matt Rhead, however the action was all at the other end as Bury romped forward searching for a late winner, James Jennings collected his fourth booking of the season following a mistimed challenge in the centre circle.
Bury pilled on the pressure in search of a winner, somehow the Stags clung onto the point through seven anguishing minutes of additional time. To end a disappointing night, boss Paul Cox was sent to the stands where a fan came across to have words, stewards intervened to stop any potential trouble.
FULL TIME: Bury 0-0 Mansfield Town
Referee: Andy Haines
Attendance: 2,571 (351)
Stags: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers, John Dempster ©, Martin Riley (Godfrey Poku 74), James Jennings, Sam Clucas, Jamie McGuire, Jack Blake, Junior Daniel, Ollie Palmer (Ritchie Sutton 64), Matt Rhead (Calvin Andrew 84)
Unused Subs: Kieran Murtagh, Lee Stevenson, Lindon Meikle, Ben Hutchinson.
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