10:10pm Friday 18th April 2014
Mansfield Town must be sick of the sight of Kal Naismith. After scoring twice in a 3-2 win at Field Mill in December, the Scot popped up with another stoppage time strike to deny the Stags a win at the Store First Stadium.
Naismith kept his cool to despatch a 94th minute penalty and cancel out a Jake Speight goal to give Stanley a share of the spoils.
A tight game between two wholehearted sides with contrasting styles saw opportunities for both teams with Martin Riley nodding over early on for the visitors before Lee Molyneux was first denied a penalty and then thwarted by a last ditch tackle at the other end.
Mansfield goalkeeper Lewis Price made the first meaningful save of the game, getting down well to block a low Shay McCartan drive with his legs just past the half hour mark.
But Marcus Bettinelli was required to reply in kind, turning an Oliver Palmer shot round the post before blocking excellently from Matt Rhead.
Price made it two fine saves apiece before the break when he prevented Peter Murphy from netting his 10th goal of the season.
The Stanley midfielder flicked the ball into the air and smashed it goalwards with his left foot forcing the on loan goalkeeper to turn the ball over the bar at full stretch.
The second half continued in a similar vein with Mansfield’s direct style bring them some joy and Stanley trying to get the ball down and play. Adam Murray shot wide and Riley headed off target either side of Price keeping out a strike from Will Hatfield.
Buoyed by a late goal at York Shay McCartan headed a corner over at the near post before visiting sub Sam Clucas shot into the side netting.
Another one of Paul Cox’s subs, Speight, then had the ball in the net but saw the effort ruled out for offside.
Moments later there was no such reprieve. Clucas can take much of the credit for the goal, beating two men on the right and crossing for Speight to smash home from six yards.
Stanley battled for a way back into the game but could only muster a free kick wide from Luke Joyce and an effort scuffed off target by Naismith following his introduction in place of Hatfield.
They were handed a reprieve when a blocked clearance flew beyond a stranded Bettinelli and struck the base of the post and when four minutes of stoppage time went up there was hope around the ground of another late show.
Auxiliary centre forward Tom Aldred flicked the ball over his own head into the box with time disappearing and James Gray was clear favourite to get their first only to be stopped by an errant Mansfield arm.
Referee Richard Clark pointed to the spot and despite a lengthy delay Naismith was calmness personified to stroke home his 10th goal of the season.
Unlike in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season the Reds couldn’t manage a winner in the dying seconds but Naismith’s key contribution ensured they banked another point into their safety total.
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