Exeter battled hard for a point despite having Neil Whitworth sent off half way
through the second half. Both sides created plenty of chances and will feel that
they could have won the game.
A goalless draw was the last thing that could have been expected. Neither
team had previously managed a clean sheet, Mansfield had conceded 11 goals and
scored 9 in their opening four league games, but failed to find the back of the
net. Exeter started brightly and Alex Inglethorpe had an early chance to
put his side ahead. He controlled Graeme Tomlinson's cross inside the box. His first shot was charged down and he struck the rebound over the bar.
Mansfield looked dangerous on the break and only Andy Roscoe's superb sliding
tackle denied Darrell Clarke as he met Shayne Bradley's cross and prepared to
strike at close range. Exeter continued to press forward and Christian
Roberts just failed to connect with Chris Curran's deep cross. Exeter
should have found themselves a goal down following some suspect marking midway
through the half. Wayne Cordon whipped in a low cross which found Chris
Greenacre in yards of space inside the box. He struck a powerful shot from 10
yards which was superbly turned away by Stuart Fraser. Greenacre continued
to look lively and struck a powerful shot just past the post. Inglethorpe
again had a good chance for Exeter but was denied by veteran goalkeeper Bobby
Mimms. Inglethorpe found himself with only Mimms to beat as he took the ball
into the box, but as he attempted to go past the keeper Mimms managed to smother
the ball. Mansfield always looked dangerous in attack and Stuart Hicks
struck a powerful free kick straight at Fraser and Clarke headed Bradley's cross
inches past the post. Blake brought on Steve Flack after the restart in a
bid to boost Exeter's firepower. Inglethorpe again squandered a fine
chance just before the hour mark. He managed to connect with Christian Roberts'
fine pass, but scooped the ball over the bar from close range. Greenacre twice hit the woodwork for Mansfield, first his low shot from eight
yards rebounded off the foot of the post with Fraser well beaten.
Greenacre then struck the bar with a fine header from Bobby Hassell's
cross. In the closing stages both teams had the chance to snatch victory
but had to settle for a draw in a lively contest.