AFC Mansfield started this game without influential captain Matt Draper and star striker Carl Haslam in this top of the table clash.Clay Cross started the game very brightly and AFC looked to be on the end of a mauling with the size of the Clay Cross side.Things got worse for AFC as keeper Dale Shepherd had to be taken off through injury and they feared the worst.Ed Eley entered the fray and this meant Mansfield now had three players on the pitch that had not started for AFC before with Keiren Watson and Jason Edwards making their debut.Things did get worse as Clay Cross took a 1-0 lead with a deserved opener.The hosts could have gone further ahead from a free-kick but a fine save from Ed Eley saw the ball tipped over the bar.
However Mansfield were given a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty to draw level.Mark Carter was the penalty taker and with a delay on the spot kick he became nervous and the keeper made a good save.Mark Carter turned from villain to hero later when he scored the equaliser for AFC and the sides went in level at half time.
AFC Mansfield came out with a different approach second half and debutant Keiren Watson soon started to show his qualities skinning the Clay Cross defence and was unlucky on a couple of occasions.Clay Cross however did go into a 2-1 lead and it looked as if AFC would have to settle for a narrow defeat at the hands of their nearest competitors.
This is when Clay became Cross.AFC started to push more men forward and show why they are top of the league and they struggled to keep any control.Clay Cross had a man sent-off for a second offence and they began to lose the plot.It became like the Alomo and it was only a matter of time before AFC got a deserved equaliser through a Dean Rick goal which he put in with his manhood on the goal-line from a tight cross.
Things then became crazy in the final ten minutes as leading scorer Rocky White for Clay Cross was sent of for basically argueing with the ref and anyone around him and left the field on a red card.A further Clay Cross player was sent off for a second lunge at an AFC player as they struggled to control the onslaught.In the middle of this the Clay Cross manager and a sub were removed from the dugout for abusing the linesman as Clay became Crosser.
AFC Mansfield then threw caution to the wind and it looked like they would get a winner as chance after chance fell their way.Keiren Watson turned his man again and just missed the far post and AFC had a dubious claim of handball on the line in a later attack.
Clay Cross did however manage to hang on for the point and AFC remain top of the table.
This game had everything apart form a winning goal and the crowd will have gone home happy with the entertainment value.
THE BULLS MARCH ON !