Grimsby Town recovered from going a goal down to claim a share of the spoils in an entertaining contest against play-off-chasing Mansfield Town at Blundell Park.
The visitors controlled the early part of the game and took a deserved lead through striker Jordan Bowery.
But the Mariners improved after the break and after Otis Khan’s penalty was saved by keeper Christy Pym, George Lloyd reacted the quickest to head the rebound into the net and restore parity.
Both sides created chances to win the game but ultimately, neither was able to force a decisive goal and so both had to be content with a point.
Michee Efete, Owen Gallacher, Otis Khan and Lloyd came back into the Grimsby starting line-up as boss Paul Hurst made four changes following the Easter Monday victory at Doncaster Rovers. Luke Waterfall missed out, while Josh Emmanuel, Anthony Glennon and John McAtee all moved to the bench.
Max Crocombe started in goal, with Efete, Andy Smith, Niall Maher and Gallacher forming a four-man defence. Kieran Green sat at the base of a diamond in midfield, with Harry Clifton and Bryn Morris ahead of him and Khan supporting strikers Lloyd and Ryan Taylor.
Glennon, Emmanuel and McAtee were joined among the substitutes by Gavan Holohan, Alex Hunt, Danilo Orsi and Evan Khouri.
Mansfield began the day eighth in the Sky Bet League Two table, one point behind Salford City in the final play-off position. Nigel Clough’s side were looking for a victory to boost their promotion bid, with Bowery and fellow striker Lucas Akins aiming to be among the goals.
A foul by Efete on Stephen Quinn earned him the first yellow card of the afternoon inside the opening minute, although the resulting free kick from wide on the left beat everybody and went out at the far post for a goal kick.
Gallacher linked up well with Lloyd on the left as Town mounted their first attack but Mansfield looked the more comfortable of the two sides in the early stages and controlled possession over the first 10 minutes.
Khan was brought down by Hiram Boateng as he looked to break over the halfway line but the free kick caused no problems and the visitors brought the ball away from danger.
A cross-field ball to Efete set up another Town attack and this time, a cross from deep was met by Lloyd but the striker was not able to direct his header towards goal.
The game’s first corner came on the Mansfield left but the delivery from it was flicked wide at the near post by Callum Johnson, then Akins curled an effort wide from 20 yards as the away side went forward again.
Mansfield won another corner on the left on 18 minutes but it was caught by Crocombe, then a strong run through the middle by Clifton led to an opening for Khan, although he opted not to shoot and instead, looked to play the ball back to Clifton and it was intercepted by Boateng.
A free kick from Davis Keillor-Dunn on the right was headed clear by Smith, who was also first to a follow-up cross from the midfielder.
Crocombe then caught a cross from Quinn as the visitors continued to control the game, before a nice move by the Mariners led to a corner on their right after Khan had linked up with Efete. Morris’ delivery from the flag was met by Green but he could not direct his header towards goal and when he went down amid a scramble, the referee waved play in.
Former Town defender Elliott Hewitt was booked after catching Efete in an aerial challenge, then Taylor was penalised for a foul on defender Alfie Kilgour as they battled for the ball on the edge of the Mansfield box.
Bowery won a corner on the away right on 33 minutes and it led to another one when Lloyd got the ball away following a short delivery. Again, it was played low into the box but after it was half-cleared, a handball decision went in Town’s favour.
Goalmouth action had been in short supply as both sides struggled to keep the ball but when the visitors created a chance six minutes before the break, they took it to break the deadlock. A throw-in on he left was worked to BOWERY an he turned before hitting a low shot which found the bottom corner of the net, despite Crocombe getting a strong hand to the ball.
A snap-shot from Kieran Wallace went off-target as Mansfield immediately looked for a second goal, before a Maher long throw at the other end was cleared before it could reach Lloyd.
Three added minutes were played at the end of the first half and Boateng escaped punishment for pulling Khan back as the referee allowed play to go on until Keillor-Dunn fired over the bar from distance.
A Mansfield corner was headed clear by Green and with no further opportunities coming for either side, the away side retained their single-goal advantage at half-time.
Glennon replaced Gallacher before the restart and an early Maher long throw was held up inside the box by Taylor but his attempted pull-back was blocked and cleared.
Akins was caught offside at the other end as he ran onto a through-ball, then a shot from Clifton was blocked after Khan had pulled the ball back for him and a follow-up strike from Morris was also blocked.
Town were given their opportunity to get back on level terms on 52 minutes, when Lloyd burst into the box and was brought down by the advancing Pym. The referee pointed to the spot and after the keeper was booked for the foul, he dived to keep Lloyd’s penalty out, although LLOYD got to the rebound first to head it into the net for 1-1.
The equalising goal galvanised the Mariners and the home crowd, with the men in black and white immediately pushing forward in a bid to complete the turnaround. Lloyd saw a shot saved by Pym, before a driving run through the middle by Khan ended with him firing just wide.
Boateng was off-target with a free kick at he other end, before Clifton sent a ball across the six-yard line after good hold-up play by Taylor but nobody could get on the end of it.
A low shot by Green was blocked after Khan pulled the ball back from the left, before a free kick from Hewitt was headed clear but another one followed after a foul by Khan on the Mansfield right. Keillor-Dunn’s delivery was not fully dealt with but when Boateng eventually let fly with a shot from 20 yard, Crocombe got down to stop it.
Khan missed the target with a shot from 20 yards, then Lloyd produced a great save from Lloyd, diving to his left to punch the striker’s volley away for a corner. Glennon’s ball from the flag was flicked on and put out for a Town throw-in.
Keillor-Dunn lifted a strike over the bar after a spell of Mansfield possession, before the home side made a double-substitution as Orsi and Holohan replaced Taylor and Morris.
Brave defending by Maher saw him head clear after Quinn had chipped the ball across the six-yard line, then a cross from Bowery was caught by Crocombe as the away side attacked again.
Maher was booked for bringing Bowery down on the edge of the penalty area on 72 minutes but Keillor-Dunn’s strike from the free kick bounced back off the Town wall and when the ball was worked back into the box, Quinn headed harmlessly wide.
A Maher throw two minutes later was eventually dealt with and Mansfield broke through Akins but after taking the ball from the halfway line, his low shot from 20 yards was pushed away from danger by Crocombe.
Orsi prodded wide from close range after Clifton had done well to keep the ball in on the right, then Orsi was caught offside from Town’s next attack as the game remained in he balance.
Keillor-Dunn beat Efete to make his way into the box on 80 minutes but he could not beat Smith, who blocked his shot for a corner.
Another strike by Keillor-Dunn was blocked by Smith and Clifton completed the clearance as he got the ball away for a throw-in.
Khouri and McAtee were sent on in place of Green and Khan with six minutes to go and McAtee’s first involvement was to win a corner on the right. Glennon’s delivery to the near post was headed away by Hewittt and a follow-up cross was also cleared.
A foul on Khouri gave the hosts a free kick in a promising, central position on 88 minutes but Glennon was unable to take advantage as he sent his shot over the bar.
Jason Law replaced Boateng, James Gale came on for Keillor-Dunn and Stephen McLaughlin was sent on in place of Quinn as the away side made a triple-substitution with a minute left in a bid to force all three points.
The fourth official then signalled five additional minutes and Holohan had a shooting chance from 25 yard after being picked out by McAtee, although the midfielder’s effort was caught by keeper Pym.
Bowery went down inside the box under a challenge from Glennon but the referee ignored the appeals of the travelling Mansfield supporters and pointed for a goal kick.
Both sides kept looking for a winning goal but it was not to come, with the game ending all-square.
Town are next in action on Tuesday, when they host Barrow at Blundell Park.