Exeter City come from behind to extend Mansfield Town’s winless run
Oli Hawkins’ first goal in 10 games could not stop Mansfield Town’s winless league run stretching to 12 games at Exeter City this afternoon.
The Stags defender rose highest to head the Stags into a 50th-minute lead and put Mansfield on course for a first win since mid-August.
However, Timothee Dieng headed Exeter level in the 61st minute before Matt Jay broke Mansfield hearts in the 83rd minute, leaving the visitors without a win in 14 games in all competitions.
It left Nigel Clough’s side still desperately searching for a first win on the road this season.
Ollie Clarke produced a smart block to deny Kyle Taylor as Mansfield comfortably held their own in the opening stages.
The Stags did suffer a momentary scare in the sixth minute after Clarke’s slip saw Owura Edwards race, clear only for Farrend Rawson to come to the rescue with a crucial clearance.
The visitors threatened in the 11th minute, James Clarke delivering a dangerous cross towards Jordan Bowery, but Josh Key was in the right place to clear the danger.
With precious few opportunities during the opening half an hour, a swift counter-attack by the visitors ended with Harry Charsley rolling a tame effort straight at Grecians’ goalkeeper Cameron Dawson.
At the other end, Jay burst forward only to see his deflected effort bring a sprawling save out of Nathan Bishop.
The best chance of the half arrived in the 36th minute, as Charsley swung over a cross from the right and Bowery rose highest to head narrowly wide.
Seemingly fired up by a half-time team-talk, Exeter started the second half brightly and Jay forced Bishop into a smart save low down to his left.
The let-off proved pivotal as the Stags went up the other end and took the lead.
Stephen Quinn curled in an inviting free-kick and Hawkins found the bottom corner with an inch-perfect header.
Bowery then wasted a chance to double the Stags’ lead just past the hour mark after sprinting clear, only to dwell on the ball and allow Key to recover.
Exeter used the let-off as motivation to haul themselves back into the game with a well-worked equaliser.
Padraig Amond made an instant impact after coming off the bench, hooking a cross to the back post where Dieng sent a free header into the back of the net.
Even worse was to follow when Archie Collins crossed for Jay to send a header past Bishop at the far post as Mansfield suffered that sinking feeling again.
EXETER CITY: Dawson, Key, Sweeney, Hartridge, Daniel, Collins, Dieng, Taylor (Amond 60), Edwards-Owura (Brown 65), Jay (Ray 90), Nombe. Subs not used: Brown, Caprice, Atangana, Coley.
STAGS: Bishop, J Clarke, Rawson, Hawkins, Burke, Lapslie (Johnson 85), Charsley, O Clarke, Quinn (Sinclair 87), Bowery (Maris 63), Oats. Subs not used: Shelvey, Forrester, Law, O’Toole.
REFEREE: Sam Purkiss.