Imps 1 Mansfield 1

Caretaker manager Grant Brown said he was disappointed his side could not hang on for a win as they conceded a late equaliser against Mansfield at Sincil Bank.

Taking charge of his third game since the sacking of Steve Tilson last, Brown could only watch as Matt Green struck with four minutes remaining to cancel out Gavin McCallum’s second half opener.

Brown said: “A point is always good but when we get as close as we did tonight there is a tinge of disappointment that we didn’t see the game out.

It wasn’t really like a local derby, it seemed a bit tentative because both teams have lost their last game but it’s disappointing when you get so close and not get the three points.”

The heroics of goalkeeper Joe Anyon had kept Mansfield at bay on numerous occasions in the second period until the goal and the City stopper came in for special praise from his manager.

“He’s pulled off a great double save that ended up being offside but it was fantastic goalkeeping because they had some good delivery from wide areas and set pieces and Joe’s reactions were very good tonight,” he added.

City made three changes from the side that were beaten at home by Fleetwood last Friday with Tony Sinclair, Ali Fuseini and Karl Cunningham all handed starting berths.

Stags boss Paul Cox named two former City players in his starting line-up – goalkeeper Alan Marriott returned to Sincil Bank for the first time since leaving in 2008 while ex-Imp Paul Connor started in attack.

Mansfield’s Adam Murray registered the first effort on target; his half volley though was straight at home custodian Joe Anyon in an otherwise uneventful opening quarter of an hour.

The game needed a spark and it so nearly came when Imps full-back Sinclair ran almost half the length of the field before his effort was snuffed out by visiting defender Martin Riley.

From the resulting corner, Town only half cleared their lines and Alan Power’s centre found McCallum who headed straight at Marriott from six yards.

Perhaps the only saving grace for McCallum came moments later when Karl Cunningham squandered an even better chance when he nodded over Nicky Nicolau’s left wing cross on 18 minutes.

Brown’s men nearly fell behind when Lindon Meikle’s delivery was headed into the clutches of Anyon by the unmarked Green.

And only the frame of the goal prevented Meikle from giving the Stags the lead five minutes before the break; his excellent curling effort rattled the post and City managed to scramble the ball clear.

Four minutes into the restart, Cunningham fired wide of Marriott’s post and lone frontman Sam Smith had an effort comfortably saved by the former Lincoln stopper.

Anyon had to be alert to fist away an inviting Luke O’Neill centre but the save of the night came when the former Port Vale stopper parried Riley’s goal-bound header onto the post.

And Mansfield were made to rue those missed opportunities when McCallum ran onto Anyon’s long punt up field and volleyed low past Marriott in the 76th minute.

The Stags almost hit back immediately through Connor who beat the offside trap but lifted his effort onto the roof of the net.

Mansfield found an equaliser three minutes from time with Green turning home Connor’s ball from close range in the 86th minute.

Neither side could find a winner in three minutes of stoppage time which means Lincoln remain in the bottom four in the Blue Square Premier in 21st.

The Imps visit Cambridge United in their next league fixture on Friday night for a 7:45pm kick off.

Lincoln City: Anyon; Sinclair, Watts, Nelson, Nutter (capt), Power, Fuseini (Christophe 50), Cunningham (Thomas 85), Nicolau, Smith (Perry 83), McCallum. Subs (not used): Hone; Draper.

Mansfield Town: Marriott; O’Neill, Sutton, Riley, Kendrick, Bolland, Murray (capt), Dyer
(Briscoe 78), Meikle (Todd 90), Connor, Green. Subs (not used): Worthington; Day, Redmond.

Attendance: 2944

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