That elusive first win still won’t come for David Flitcroft, as the Mansfield Town manager’s winless run was extended to eight games after the Stags salvaged a 1-1 draw at Stevenage tonight.
A Will Atkinson equaliser rewarded an improved second-half display from the Stags, but they couldn’t find the second goal that would have given their ailing promotion hopes a timely boost after nine games without a victory.
However, thanks to Swindon conceding a late goal to draw at Yeovil, the gap between them and the top seven is down to just one point with four games left.
Kane Hemmings had Mansfield’s first chance of the night, with his attempted lob over Tom King from a narrow angle coming off the Stevenage goalkeeper.
But the Stags were hopelessly caught napping after 15 minutes when Joe Martin snuck in a low corner to Danny Newton at the near post, and his first-time effort flashed past Conrad Logan.
It was proving to be an open game, with Hemmings heading Hayden White’s cross over before Newton had an effort blocked at the other end, following some more questionable defending.
Newton again threatened just before half-time when his low strike from outside the area forced Logan into a good save, turning the ball around the post.
The Stags had the perfect start to the second half when White did well to cross on the stretch from on the left, with Hemmings leaving the ball for Atkinson to finish superbly past King.
But they almost fell behind again after Luke Amos burst through the middle for Stevenage, only for Logan to stand strong against his powerful effort.
The Stags ‘keeper was called upon again when he did just enough to claw away a shot from Tom Conlon that was deflected awkwardly into the air.
A mistake by Dale Gorman gave Hemmings the chance to snatch the points with six minutes left, only for King to deny him with a flying save.
STEVENAGE (4-3-3): T. King, Henry, J. King, Wilkinson, Martin, Amos, Sheaf (Gorman 54), Whelpdale (Conlon 58), Godden (Goddard 77), Revell, Newton
Subs not used: Fryer, Franks, Wakefield, Vancooten.
MANSFIELD TOWN (3-5-2): Logan, Bennett, Pearce, Hunt, White, MacDonald, Byrom (Mellis 52), Atkinson, Hamilton (Potter 58), Rose, Hemmings
Subs not used: Olejnik, Digby, Diamond, Angol, King.
Referee: Seb Stockbridge.