Georgie Lapslie grabs much-improved Mansfield Town a deserved draw with Port Vale

Although Mansfield Town's winless run extended to 13 games tonight, they more than deserved their fine 1-1 home draw with promotion-chasing Port Vale after a much-improved display.

By John Lomas
Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 9:42 pm
Mansfield Town forward Rhys Oates puts the Port Vale keeper under pressure. Pic - Chris Holloway/The Bigger
Mansfield Town forward Rhys Oates puts the Port Vale keeper under pressure. Pic - Chris Holloway/The Bigger

Mansfield were unlucky to be behind to Tom Conlon's perfect 33rd minute free kick and should have been level on 42 minutes when Oli Hawkins had a penalty saved.

But on 64 minutes George Lapslie saved the day with an equaliser and the home side left the field to applause knowing they had more than matched a side that had just won six of their last seven games.

The Stags side showed two chances with veteran midfielder Stephen Quinn back from a six-game suspension and replacing James Clarke.

Forward Rhys Oates had shaken off a chest infection and was given a start in place of Danny Johnson.

However, loanee defender Will Forrester missed out due to his chest infection.

Stephen McLaughlin was still feeling the effects of his ankle injury from Saturday but, with the squad so depleted, soldiered on at left back.

Vale, managed by ex-Stag Darrell Clarke with former Mansfield boss David Flitcroft their director of football, made three changes, including a return to the side for ex-Stags defender Mal Benning.

Another former Stag, keeper Aidan Stone, was on their bench.

Charsley was the first to strike at goal on three minutes, his low effort deflecting wide for a corner which caused a few problems for Vale before Bowery headed tamely into Covolan's hands.

Stags continued to press and Clarke won another corner with a deflected shot on 14 minutes, it was kept alive by Charlsey, who whipped a cross to the far post where Bowery nodded wide.

Clarke was well over from 25 yards on 17 minutes from a half-cleared Charsley cross.

Quinn put in another good cross from the left but Bowery's flicked header was another easy take for the keeper.

It had been all Stags to this point with Bishop largely a spectator.

But when Rawson conceded a free kick, Benning sent it over and Wilson was narrowly wide with a stooping header.

Stags quickly countered and Oates showed good pace and determination to get into the left of the box and flash a shot just over.

On the half-hour a mix up at the back allowed Wilson to run into the right of the box only to be halted by a superb challenge from Hawkins.

A great ball from Pett picked out the run of Lloyd on 31 minutes, but he was brought down just outside the box in a central position by Rawson to earn the night's first booking.

And when Conlon stepped up to take it on 33 minutes he lifted it superbly over the wall and into the top right corner to break the deadlock.

On 39 minutes McLaughlin fed Quinn on the left and he forced Covolan to tip over his fierce angled shot as Stags looked for a way back.

Stags should have been level on 42 minutes from the spot.

A superb curling pass from Quinn sent Oates into the box where he was tugged back by Jones to concede a penalty.

But Covalan guessed correctly and got down to his right to block Hawkins' spot kick.

A minute into the restart and Lapslie snapped up a loose ball and teed up Oates for a shot straight at the keeper.

Then on 54 minutes Hewitt tried his luck from 35 yards but was wide of the left post.

Hewitt sent in a dangerous low ball after overlappng Charsley, but the keeper got a hand to it and Clarke had a shot charged down as Vale survived.

But after that Hewitt limped off to be replaced by J. Clarke.

Stags were finally and deservedly level on 64 minutes. Quinn's flick sent Bowery to the left by-line and his low pull back was turned home by Lapslie.

On 66 minutes Worrall looked to gave pushed Quinn in the back in the box, but no penalty was awarded as the Stags man hit the deck.

On 70 minutes Martin was booked for a late challenge on Oates as Stags pressed.

Johnson took over from Oates on 77 minutes at which point Vale withdrew Benning to huge applause from his old fans.

On 80 minutes Conlon clipped the top of the home bar with another magnificent free kick from 20 yards.

Stags resumed their pressure and forced two more corners.

Six minutes were added, but neither side could find a winner.

Smith was booked in the fifth of those minutes for hauling down Lapslie on a break down the right.

STAGS: Bishop, McLaughlin, Hewitt (J. Clarke 59), Rawson, Charsley, O. Clarke, Bowery, Hawkins, Quinn (Sinclair 89), Oates (Johnson 77), Lapslie. SUBS NOT USED: Shelvey, Burke, Ward, Law.

PORT VALE: Covolan, Jones, Smith, Worrall, Garrity, Wilson (Rodney 57), Conlon, Benning (Gibbons 77), Martin, Lloyd (Politic 57), Pett. SUBS NOT USED: Stone, Taylor, Amoo, Amos.

REFEREE: Will Finnie.

ATTENDANCE: 4,203 (733 away).