MATCH REPORT: Notts County 1-1 Mansfield Town - Late drama as Stags salvage a point

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A dramatic penalty equaliser by Kane Hemmings in the ninth added minute of today’s big derby saw Mansfield Town steal a late 1-1 draw at snowbound Notts County.

On an afternoon of heavy snowfall throughout the game, both sides struggled to produce much quality football on the difficult surface.

But there was honesty, endeavour and passion in abundance from both teams, though few chances created at either end.

With Notts three points ahead of Stags in the third and final automatic promotion spot, this was a game Stags coulod not afford to lose, but they trailed at the break to Terry Hawkridge’s 35th minute strike.

However, Mansfield went up a gear after the break, pressed hard, and were rewarded right at the death as ice cool Hemmings slotted home from the spot after Elliott Hewitt has handled.

It was an eighth League visit in a row without defeat for Mansfield at Meadow Lane, their last defeat there coming back in September 2017.

And it was a perfect end to the afternoon for a travelling army of 4,164 away fans.

It was a third 1-1 draw in a row for new boss David Flitcroft and a fair reflection of the afternoon.

Heavy snowfall before kick-off eased off and, with the lines, cleared, the game began in bright sunshine, though it was still freezing cold. But the snow returned often and heavy throughout the game.

After a scrappy opening on the difficult surface, Notts were first to fashion a chance on six minutes as Dickinson played the ball long and high into the box where Stead stooped to guide a header wide of the left post.

On 10 minutes Logan left his line to punch clear and the ball flew to Logan who tried an intelligent lob back towards the empty net from 20 yards but was just too high.

Stags responded with a couple of corners while Hall did well to clear a low MacDonald cross before Rose could turn it home.

The conditions continued to dominate, though Rose did get a shot on the turn on target on 32 minutes which lacked the power to trouble Collin.

It took 35 minutes to force a serious save from either keeper. But it also led to a goal.

Notts broke well down the left and Grant sent over a perfect low cross for Ameobi, who looked a certain scorer. But Logan stretched his legs out to deny him.

However, from the corner Notts went ahead. Initially Ameobi got a powerful header on target which Logan managed to push up onto the bar. But, as it fell, Hawridge was on hand to help it over the line from close range.

On 39 minutes Anderson swung a great cross over from the right into the heart of the Notts box where Hemmings should have done better as he failed to make proper contact with his head from six yards.

But Stags went in behind with much work to do.

Mansfield cleared an early Notts corner after the break before Atkinson saw the derby’s first booking on 53 minutes for a sliding challenge that saw him upend Tootle.

Stead saw a low ball skid through everyone in the Mansfield box before Stags broke upfield and Hemmings had a fierce shot deflect into the sidenetting.

On the hour Anderson screwed a finish wide from a half-clearance from 25 yards as the visitors continued to press hard.

On 61 minutes Stags stepped up their firepower by bringing on forward Angol for midfielder King.

Two minutes later Pearce was a relieved man as Ameobi bustled his way down the right and crossed hard and low where Pearce somehow lifted it onto the roof of his own net with the goal gaping.

MacDonald got away a powerful low, skidding shot from outside the box that Collin took care to gather firmly.

Tempers rose on 71 minutes after a trip by Benning saw players race in, pushing and shoving and MacDonald send Noble sprawling and was lucky not to join Benning in the book.

With nine minutes to go, Rose was narrowly wide with a shot across the keeper after being cued up by Atkinson’s pass.

Grant cut inside from the left to shoot straight at Logan, but it was the visitors who were building up a head of steam, roared on by over 4,000 travelling fans, racking up the corner count.

But when Notts tried to break with two minutes left, MacDonald’s cynical trip saw him finally booked.

In seven added minutes Anderson was replaced by Digby, sand MacDonald forced a great save from the keeper with a powerful header.

But the game went into a ninth added minute which saw Stags dramatically level.

MacDonald poked the ball into the box where Hewitt handled. Hewitt was booked and Hemmings calmly slammed home a low penalty to the diving keeper’s right to spark wild celebrations.

NOTTS: Collin, Tootle, Dickinson, Hewitt, Duffy, Ameobi, Grant, Hawkridge (Alessandra 81), Noble (Smith 90+3), Hall, Stead. Subs not used: Fitzsimons, Virtue, Brisley, Husin, Jones.

STAGS: Logan; Anderson (Digby 90+2), Bennett, Pearce, Benning; Atkinson, King (Angol 61), MacDonald, Hamilton; Rose, Hemmings. Subs not used: Olejnik, Sterling-James, Byrom, Miller.

REFEREE: Andy Woolmer of Northants.

ATTENDANCE: 12, 514 (4,164 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Krystian Pearce.