MATCH REPORT: Precious point at Crawley Town lifts Mansfield Town back into the top three

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Crawley Town v Mansfield Town; 12/3/2019  KO 19.45; The People's Pension Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Crawley keeper Glenn Morris saves from Mansfield's Tyler Walker
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Crawley Town v Mansfield Town; 12/3/2019 KO 19.45; The People's Pension Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Crawley keeper Glenn Morris saves from Mansfield's Tyler Walker

Mansfield Town moved back into the automatic promotion places in League Two but will feel they should have left Crawley with three points after tonight’s 0-0 draw.

But, with rivals MK Dons losing 4-2 at Morecambe, it proved to be a precious point as it saw them leapfrog the Dons on goal difference.

Manager David Flitcroft reacted to a third successive away defeat at Port Vale on Saturday with five changes and his re-shaped side created the better chances, particularly in the first half.

The Stags weren’t as threatening after the break but they nearly won it at the end when Tyler Walker’s glancing header bounced back off the post into the hands of Crawley’s grateful keeper Glenn Morris.

Alex MacDonald dragged his shot wide inside 30 seconds during a lively opening which saw Manchester United loanee Matty Willock clear the bar by inches from 20 yards for the hosts.

Clear-cut chances were rare all evening but the Stags squandered two of the best of them in the space of 60 seconds.

CJ Hamilton saw an angled drive miss the target by inches on 28 minutes then Hamilton played Tyler Walker in but Morris made a superb save to deny the Stags’ top scorer.

Conrad Logan was called into action six minutes before the break when he pushed out as shot from ex-Stag Ollie Palmer and then showed outstanding reflexes to block the follow-up effort by Lewis Young.

Jorge Grant often looked the player most likely to unlock the home defence and it needed a desperate block by George Francomb to deny him 12 yards out in first-half stoppage time.

The second period was a cagier affair, although Mansfield looked the more threatening until Logan was almost surprised by Willock’s volley from distance in the 76th minute.

Crawley finished strongly, but Walker had the best chance of winning it when his glancing header hit the post a minute from time after Gethin Jones picked him out with a great cross from the right.

CRAWLEY TOWN: Morris, Francomb, McNerney, Dallison, Young, Payne (Bulman 66), Camara (Morais 75), Willock, Sesay, Grego-Cox, Palmer.

STAGS: Logan, Benning, Turner, Pearce, MacDonald (Tomlinson 82), Mellis, Jones, Bishop, Hamilton, Walker, Grant.

ATTENDANCE: 1,909 (219 away).

REFEREE: Lee Collins of Surrey.