Picture slideshow: Saturday, 22nd March 2014: Mansfield Town 0, Chesterfield 0

A tight local derby ended scoreless and honours even as Mansfield Town dug in to earn a vital point and hinder bitter local rivals Chesterfield’s title challenge.

Chesterfield had the most chances over 90 minutes and, at times, played the better quality football.

Sam Clucas' shot is blocked on it's way to goal -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Sam Clucas' shot is blocked on it's way to goal -Pic by: Richard Parkes

But Paul Cox will be proud of the way his side dug in and scrapped and they had some great chances of their own after the break with Tommy Lee making a great double save from Sam Clucas and Ollie Palmer slotting a great chance wide at the end in stoppage time.

That left Stags unbeaten in their two League Two clahses with their rivals after that 1-0 win at the Proact Stadium in September.

Stags made two changes. With Darryl Westlake suspended at right wing back, Lee Beevers won the race with Ritchie Sutton to replace him.

Paul Cox also opted for a battling central midfield with Lee Stevenson left out and Jamie McGuire returning.

Top scorer Sam Clucas, back from illness, could only make the bench, with striker Jake Speight also a welcome sight on there after coming through a midweek reserve game.

The afternoon built up perfectly with a great pre-derby atmosphere, Spireites boss Paul Cook on the pitch to rouse the visiting fans just before the teams emerged.

The electric atmosphere was rewarded with an electric start as Tafazolli almost gifted the visitors a second minute lead with a short backheader. That put Richards in one-on-one with Marriott but, after rounding Marriott to the right, Tafazolli made amends by getting back to clear Richards’ finish over the bar before it could cross the line.

Stags then cleared two huge throws from Humphreys from the left.

Jennings drew huge applause from the home fans for dispossessing Spireites ace Roberts and sending McGuire on a run only for the midfielder’s control to let him down.

The visitors replied with their second corner on seven minutes which Stags cleared at the second time of asking as well as the subsequent Humphreys throw as the visitors asked all the early questions.

It took two defenders to shut down Palmer as he tried to boost into the box as he chased an acrobatic forward ball from McGuire.

And on 14 minutes the Stags finally threatened the visiting goal as a left wing Jennings cross was cleared out to Beevers who rifled a 20-yard shot inches over the angle.

On 21 minutes the home side might have won a penalty as Dempster’s shirt appeared to be pulled as he tried to get on the end of a Jennings free kick. The defender ended up on the turf looking at the referee, but nothing was given.

McGuire was well over with a hopeful 35 yard half-volley, but the build-up to it earned warm applause with Stags trying to play some football after what had been a frantic start.

Roberts got to the left by-line to win the Spireites next corner on 27 minutes which saw a Kearns shot deflect wide for another.

That was half-cleared and launched back in to Richards, who controlled well and spun, but fired a rising shot over from eight yards.

Banks tried an audacious long lofted shot from inside his own half soon after when spotting Marriott off his line. But the Stags keeper watched it all the way and was in perfect position to gather.

Dempster took both Richards’ legs very late on 31 minutes 25 yards from goal to earn the first booking and give away a free kick in a very dangerous central position.

Roberts got the ball up and over the wall but straight at Marriott.

A half-cleared Stags free kick then saw Murray fluff his first shooting chance when he reached him but recover to get away a half-volley that Lee confidently gathered to his right.

The rain was coming down by now and the wind really getting up in Mansfield’s faces with a free kick and a goalkick really holding up in the air.

An extra minute produced no threats at either end and a thoroughly absorbing half ended scoreless.

Shirebrook-born Bennett replaced Banks for the second half.

And he almost made an instant impact as he took a pass just inside the box from Morsy, wrong-footed Dempster and blazed just over the near angle.

The pitch was now immersed in bright spring sunshine, though the wind was bitterly cold.

On 51 minutes the visitors were close again as a poor Dempster header out was smashed inches over the top by Darikwa from 12 yards.

A minute later Palmer’s persistence won Stags their first corner of the game, but Howell’s flick on Jennings’ kick into touch beyond the far post.

It took a great tackle from Murray to halt Darikwa’s mazy run into the box after he had already sidestepped two opponents, Tafazolli then clearing the corner.

Another promising Chesterfield move ended with Kearns blazing a wild cross-cum-shot high into the North Stand.

Riley was given a final warning for a trip on Bennett.

On the hour Palmer and Howell worked a shooting chance for McGuire which he flashed wide of the right post.

At this point the home side were down to 10 men with Jennings off the pitch injured.

Murray was very late on Bennett on 62 minutes to take the game’s second booking.

Stags made a positive attacking double swap on 62 minutes as Meikle and Clucas came on for McGuire and Dempster as Stags went 4-4-2.

Soon after Murray dinked a delightful ball across the face of goal with no one quite able to get a finishing touch and a goalkick ensuing.

On 69 minutes Roberts played in Bennett for a low shot that took a deflection, but Marriott was to readjust and turn the ball round for a corner.

Chesterfield pepped things up with a double sub of their own on 70 minutes, sending on Gnanduillet and Doyle for Kearns and Richards.

Evatts sent a looping header straight at Marriott from a Roberts corner on the restart.

On 74 minutes Stags created a rare chance soon after a period of pinball in the away box.

Meikle launched a long cross in from the right and Clucas met it with a flying header that he was unable to direct on target.

Two minutes later Roberts tested Marriott with a 20-yard half-volley that flew at him, the keeper forced to turn it over.

Back came Mansfield and a Jennings free kick was headed away for a left wing corner on 80 minutes.

Rhead headed that down and Clucas saw Lee pull off two magnificent point blank range saves to deny him twice.

Chasing a through ball, Palmer got away down the centre and, Lee having left his line, saw Palmer take the ball past him but well wide and the moment’s hope was gone for Mansfield.

Tafazolli’s 86th minute foul on Darikwa made him the fourth home player booked on the day.

Gnanduillet was on target with a 30-yard free kick which Marriott gathered at the second attempt.

Soon after, Bennett held off a couple of challenges on the edge of the box to zip in a low shot, again on target and Marriott again well placed.

In the last minute Roberts sent over a corner from the right, Gnanduillet met it with an on-target header, but Marriott grabbed it diving to his right.

Four minutes were added on and in the third of those palmer should have won it as Clucas found him with a nod down on the edge of the six yard box, but his low finish was wide of the far post and it ended honours even.

STAGS: Marriott; Dempster (Clucas 62), Tafazolli, Riley; Beevers, Murray, Howell, McGuire (Meikle 62), Jennings; Rhead, Palmer. Subs not used: Sutton, Stevenson, Speight, Clements, Daniel.
CHESTERFIELD: Lee, Banks (Bennett HT), Hird, Morsy, Cooper, Darikwa, Richards (Doyle 70), Roberts, Humphreys, Evatt, Kearns (Gnanduillet 70). Subs not used: Smith, O’Shea, Ryan, Bennett, Dunbavin.
REFEREE: Darren Bond of Lancashire.

ATTENDANCE: 5,931 (1,497 away).