Matt Green was the hero from the bench for a third game in a row as he stole an 81st minute equaliser to earn Mansfield Town a 1-1 home draw with Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon.
It had seemed Matt Bloomfield’s 23rd minute strike had settled a poor game that contained few clear chances for either side.
But Green, on the bench for a fifth game in succession, again came on to make the difference at half-time and produced the goods with his seventh goal of the season and his fourth in three games.
Wycombe had not won away all season but Stags have still to beat them at home in five attempts, the last being back in 2007.
It was a far cry from the previous week’s excitement of the home win over Notts County with Stags not at their best.
But Stags dominated the second half, Scott Shearer without a save to make, and deserved a point in the end.
They might have stolen all three had Jamal Blackman not denied Darius Henderson in stoppage time with a flying save.
Jamie McGuire, who suffered a nasty leg injury in training and ended up at hospital, was missing, while Kevan Hurst was dropped to the bench.
But Green, last week’s two-goal hero, wasn’t well early in the week so boss Adam Murray elected to keep him on the bench.
Into midfield came Oscar Gobern while Kyle Howkins had recovered from an injury picked up at the end of August to make a return into a three-man central defence for a 3-4-1-2 formation.
Stags survived a first minute corner as Wanderers went straight on the offensive.
Mansfield settled and Clements overhit a free kick while an offside flag denied Danny Rose from a Clements pass.
But Stewart had to defend superbly to prevent Mitch Rose getting a shot away from a great Hoban through ball on eight minutes.
On 11 minutes Stags almost went ahead as Hoban slid into a tackle to win the ball and Danny Rose fed the loose ball back into Hoban’s path to put him in on goal.
Hoban took the ball wide of the keeper to his right only to see Rowe back to clear his finish off the line.
From the corner Howkins sent a header wide.
On 18 minutes Shearer had his first save to make as Stags struggled to clear their lines and the ball bounced to the edge of the box where Gape fired through a crowd of players at goal, Shearer doing well to parry and Collins clearing the loose ball for a corner.
On 21 minutes Wycombe came even closer as Hayes stabbed an inviting low ball across the box, Bloomfield slid in and missed it and Cowan-Hall reached it at the far post but could only turn it wide.
However, two minutes later the visitors were ahead.
Hayes sent Bloomfield away clear down the centre with the defence split wide open and he calmly slotted the ball past Shearer from 12 yards.
The giant Akinfenwa was winning most of his aerial battles and on the half-hour mark was too high with a header from a free kick.
A minute later and Akinfenwa was there again at the far post to get a header into a long Rowe cross and force Shearer to claw it out from under the angle.
On 39 minutes Hoban wasn’t far wide with a well hit shot after Stags had broke well and Mitch Rose had cued him up to his right.
A late tackle by Pearce on Cowan-Hall earned the Stags man a 42nd minute booking.
Rowe turned well in midfield to lose two opponents and let fly from 25 yards but was too high with the finish on 44 minutes.
Stags made a double change at the break with Green and Thomas, making his first appearance of the season, on for Gobern and Danny Rose.
The home side were sent back out very early from their break and were soon on the attack when the game resumed, winning a corner.
On 52 minutes Green had his first chance, sending an overhead kick wide after a Clements free kick had been helped on.
Two minutes later Bennett powered a header wide from a Benning corner from the left.
Green then failed to get any direction onto a 10 yard header as the home side continued to press.
On 67 minutes Henderson replaced Hoban up front for the home side.
Soon after Benning fizzed a first time shot over the bar from 20 yards after some neat passing.
On 71 minutes Bloomfield was booked for dissent as he argued over a foul on Collins.
Another first time effort from Benning on 74 minutes forced Blackman to turn it wide for a corner from which Pearce headed tamely wide.
Cowan-Hall was too quick for Collins on 79 minutes, the late tackle earning the Stags skipper a caution.
But the Stags were finally level with nine minutes to go – and once again it was that man Green.
Benning floated in a free kick from the left, Henderson got the knock-down and Green lashed a right-footed finish home from 10 yards.
On 88 minutes Gape was booked for a foul.
Mansfield pressed for a winner and Blackman saved from Bennett while Benning curled another effort into the sidenetting.
In stoppage time Stewart headed a far post header into the sidenetting from a corner for Wycombe
In the last minute of added time, Henderson’s header was pushed away in a superb save from Blackman after a long Thomas cross as Stags had to settle for a point.
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Benning, Collins (C), Pearce, Clements, Hoban (Henderson 67), Howkins, M. Rose, Gobern (Thomas HT), D. Rose (Green HT). Subs not used: Jensen, Hurst, Hamilton, Hemmings.
WYCOMBE: Blackman, Harriman, Jacobson, Stewart, Pierre, Rowe, Bloomfield (Wood 90), Gape, Cowan-Hall, Hayes (Thompson 78), Akinfenwa. Subs not used: Richardson, Jombatti, Bean, Weston, Freeman.
REFEREE: Brett Huxtable of Devon.
ATTENDANCE: 2,898 (252 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Green.