Mansfield Town 1-1 Port Vale: a superb free-kick from captain Tom Conlon and a fabulous penalty save from goalkeeper Lucas Covolan helped Vale earn a hard working draw on Tuesday evening.
Manager Darrell Clarke made three changes from the win over Barrow with Aaron Martin, George Lloyd and Mal Benning starting in place of Lewis Cass, Jamie Proctor and James Gibbons. Striker Devante Rodney was on the bench.
The home started strongly putting the Vale defence under pressure but without creating any real clearcut opportunities. It was a largely defensive display by the Valiants with much of the play in their own half. There were some hearts in mouth moments but the Vale defenders held firm under pressure. It was an energetic display from the home side who were the better side for the opening third of the game.
It took almost 25 minutes before Vale had a chance with Wilson putting a header wide and then a shot blocked. Wilson’s striker partner George Lloyd was then brought down right on the edge of the box. The free-kick brought a superb opening goal from the captain Tom Conlon as he blasted his side into the lead very much against the run of play.
Mansfield countered with a chance from Quinn which brought a good save from Covolan. The ref then gave what looked to be a soft penalty when Jones’ foot clipped Oates heel. However, Covolan produced a fine save from Hawkins’ spot-kick to keep the Valiants in the lead at the break.
Half-time: Mansfield Town 0-1 Port Vale
The second-half began in the same fashion as the first with Mansfield putting the Vale defence under severe pressure. The Valiants made an early change bringing on a new strikeforce in Devante Rodney and Dennis Politic. Moments later, Mansfield came close to drawing level only for desperate defending from Pett and Covolan to keep the ball out.
However, the home side did get the goal they deserved as Lapslie turned the ball home on the hour mark. It was nearly two moments later only for Martin to head over his bar. In a period of intense pressure for Vale there was a penalty shout which was turned down.
The Valiants countered with another free-kick from Conlon which rattled the woodwork. It was however, largely a backs to the wall performance from the Vale who did well to earn a point considering the pressure they were put under at times during this game.
There were good performances across the board with Tom Pett putting in a real shift in the midfield. Lucas Covolan also bounced back from Saturday with a solid display and an eye catching penalty save. Things are still looking good for the Valiants right now as they remain very much in the League Two promotion picture.
Full-time: Mansfield Town 1-1 Port Vale
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Port Vale: Covolan; Smith, Martin, Jones; Worrall, Garrity, Pett, Conlon, Benning (Gibbons); Wilson (Rodney), Lloyd (Politic)
Subs: Stone, Amoo, Walker, Amos
Port Vale bookings: Martin, Smith