Mansfield Town finally halted their goal drought and picked up a rare point at bogey club Accrington Stanley in tonight’s 1-1 draw at the Crown Ground.
Chris Clements managed to get a free kick up and over the wall and in off the bar on 31 minutes – Stags’ first goal for 482 minutes since Matt Green netted at Orient on 27th August.
Mansfield had the best of the first half and were comfortable by half-time.
However, Terry Gornell levelled the match 11 minutes into the second half, and although Accrington had the best of the rest of the game, they rarely looked like achieving a fourth League win on the bounce.
Mansfield goal ace Matt Green was dropped to the bench as Stags boss Adam Murray tried a different combination to try to find an elusive goal.
In his place for a full debut came Irish striker Pat Hoban.
Murray made two other changes with Jamie McGuire and Clements coming into the midfield, defender Alex Iacovitti and midfielder Oscar Gobern dropping to the bench.
Stags started well, forcing three early corners, and Rhys Bennett fired a chance over the bar while Hoban headed straight at keeper Elliot Parish.
But on 31 minutes Mitch Rose was fouled just outside the box, just to the right of centre, and Clements showed the brilliance the side had been missing during his injury lay-off with his finish.
It was almost 2-0 as Kevan Hurst blasted at goal from 25 yards, forcing Parish to save.
Clements had another free kick chance, but this time it was easy for Parish to make the save as Stags went in 1-0 up and in the driving seat at the break.
Accrington came back out with all guns blazing and piled on the pressure.
It paid off on 57 minutes when a Janio Donacien free kick from just inside their own half was flicked on and fell to striker Gornell in the area, who finished well for his first goal of the season.
Stanley thought they had turned it around on the hour when McConville tapped home at the far post after Parish denied Clark but it was ruled offside to Mansfield’s relief.
Clark then saw a looping shot float just over Shearer’s goal onto the roof of the net.
But Stags boss Murray rang the changes to help his side launch a late push and on 83 minutes, Krystian Pearce headed over from a Mal Benning corner in Mansfield’s best period of the second half.
In the 89th minute, Hemmings crisp touchline cross forced Parish to claim at the second attempt.
The home side almost had the last say in stoppage time as sub Boco went forward and fired a shot that flew beyond the post and out for a goal kick.
A point was a decent result for Mansfield, who have seen Accrington do the double over them the last two seasons.
Stags have not won in six trips to Accrington, their last win there coming back in March 1961 and, overall, they haven’t beaten Stanley in their last 10 clashes now.
It was also a sixth game without a win for Mansfield, five in the League, but they will be happy with a point as they prepare to head to Crewe, smashed 5-1 at Wycombe tonight, this coming Saturday.
ACCRINGTON: Elliot, Vyner, Beckles, Pearson, Donacien, McConville (C), Lacey, Hewitt, Clark, Gornell (Boco 80), Kee. Subs not used: Hughes, Davies, Jones, Chapman, Eagles, Sykes.
STAGS: Shearer, Benning, Pearce, Collins (C), Bennett, McGuire, Clements, M. Rose, Hurst (Hemmings 67), D. Rose (Iacovitti 73), Hoban (Green 77). Subs not used: Jensen, Henderson, Gobern, Hamilton.
REFEREE: Darren England of South Yorkshire.
ATTENDANCE: 1,134 (136 away).