Grimsby Town earned a valuable point on the road as they battled to a goalless draw with play-off-chasing Mansfield Town.
Both sides created plenty of chances in an open, end-to-end first half, with Luke Waterfall and John McAtee both going close for the Mariners.
After the break, Town were forced to do more defending as the hosts probed in search of a breakthrough but they held firm to keep a clean sheet and ensure a share of the spoils.
Five changes were made to the Grimsby starting line-up after the FA Cup quarter-final at Brighton on Sunday, with Josh Emmanuel, Bryn Morris, McAtee, George Lloyd and Ryan Taylor coming into the team as Michee Efete, Kieran Green, Harry Clifton, Otis Khan and Danilo Orsi dropped out.
Max Crocombe lined up in goal behind an unchanged back three of Andy Smith, Waterfall and Niall Maher, with Emmanuel and Anthony Glennon filling the wing-back positions. Gavan Holohan and Bryn Morris were in the centre of the park, with McAtee behind Lloyd and Taylor in attack.
Efete, Khan, Clifton and Orsi were all named on the bench, along with Alex Hunt, Mikey O’Neill and Evan Khouri.
Mansfield came into the game just outside the Sky Bet League Two play-off places in eighth and Nigel Clough’s Stags were looking to go within goal difference of a return to the top seven with a victory.
Smith tried his luck with an early low strike from 25 yards which home goalkeeper Christy Pym comfortably stopped, before Maher was in the right place to deal with a low cross from Rhys Oates at the other end.
McAtee showed good skill to beat his man on the edge of the penalty area on three minutes and hit a shot which was pushed behind for the game’s first corner, although Glennon’s low delivery was cleared at the near post.
A foul on Holohan by James Perch gave Town a free kick inside the Mansfield half two minutes later and after it was played short to McAtee, he made progress down the right before finding Maher, who could only steer his shot wide of the far post.
An Oates header was deflected wide for the home side’s first corner on 10 minutes but they too were unable to make it count, as Davis Keillor-Dunn’s cross drifted past the far post.
Glennon won a Town corner as the open, end-to-end start to the game continued and this time, the ball from the flag caused problems as it was headed on by defender Lucas Akins, although Waterfall did not have much opportunity to react and sliced his volley wide.
Another corner followed soon afterwards and Pym made a great save from Waterfall’s far post header to tip the ball over the bar but this time, the flag-kick from Glennon was cleared.
Glennon’s next corner on 20 minutes was cleared as far as McAtee and he was inches away from opening the scoring as his chip from the right of the box bounced off the far post before being cleared.
Town had created most of the danger so far but the hosts had a chance on 23 minutes after Akins did well to get down the right and find Hiram Boateng. He worked an opening on the edge of the box but fired harmlessly over the bar.
Keillor-Dunn was brought down by Waterfall to give Mansfield a free kick in a central position soon afterwards, although he was unable to test Crocombe as his shot curled off-target.
The home side won a corner on 34 minutes when a low cross was cut out by Waterfall but the ball from the flag was comfortably dealt with, before another ball from the home right went out for a Town throw-in.
After the Mariners had enjoyed plenty of pressure in the early stages, Mansfield were starting to get on top as half-time approached and a corner from their right was headed away by Waterfall, before the return ball into the box was put behind for another one. Again, Waterfall headed clear.
Town’s latest corner came on 39 minutes and after Glennon’s ball was half-cleared, the visitors retained possession and Emmanuel sent it back into the box. Smith saw a shot blocked and the ball broke for Waterfall but his attempt missed the target at the near post.
A first-time, 25-yard effort from McAtee was blocked, before another chance came and went as McAtee slipped when shaping to shoot from inside the box.
No added time was played at the end of an open first half where both sides had created opportunities but neither was able to break the deadlock, meaning the score remained goalless at the interval.
No changes were made before the restart and Town won the first corner of the second half two minutes in when a Maher long throw was headed behind. Glennon’s delivery was headed away as far as Morris, who brought the ball down on his chest and hit a volley from 20 yards which was blocked.
Maher was shown the first yellow card of the evening for bringing Oates down as he cut in from the right towards the penalty area. Boateng’s resulting free kick was deflected wide for a corner, which led to Perch firing over the bar from distance.
Mansfield were looking for a breakthrough and when a shot from Akins was well-blocked, the ball fell into the path of former Mariner Elliott Hewitt, who sent a powerful drive just over the bar.
Town were starting to see more of the ball as the hour mark passed but most of the opportunities were going the way of the hosts, with Smith putting in a good block to deny Keillor-Dunn before Emmanuel was pressured into conceding a corner. The flag-kick caused no problems, however.
A promising break from Lloyd ended when he was unable to find Taylor on the left, then a foul by Maher gave Mansfield a free kick but they could not profit from it as an Oates cross beat everybody.
Clifton replaced Taylor as Town made their first substitution on 70 minutes, before Jordan Bowery set off on a run down the home left, cut inside and hit a shot which Crocombe managed to push out of the reach of Akins.
Town’s next opportunity saw Clifton drill a low shot just wide from 20 yards after a Maher throw broke for him, then an attempt by Oates at the other end took a deflection and rolled just wide of the target for a corner, which was punched away by Crocombe.
Emmanuel won a corner 12 minutes from time after a great ball from Morris looked to have created an opening for McAtee but Glennon’s delivery from the right dropped wide of the far post.
O’Neill replaced McAtee and Khan came on for Lloyd as the Mariners changed their front two with eight minutes remaining, while Danny Johnson and Jason Law replaced Perch and Boateng in a Mansfield double-substitution at the same time.
Khan immediately linked up with Clifton on the left but the ball into the box was cleared before O’Neill could bring it under control.
Bowery won a corner at the other end on 86 minutes and it eventually turned into another one on the opposite, right flank. Law’s ball from the flag was headed away and Glennon completed the clearance.
Keillor-Dunn lifted a shot over the bar seconds later as Mansfield continued to attack but they were given just two additional minutes to find a way through the Town defence.
And with no further chances coming before the final whistle, the Mariners were rewarded for a determined display with a point which extends their unbeaten run in the league to four games.
Town are next in action on Saturday, when Walsall are the visitors to Blundell Park.