Kevin Nolan made one change to the side that beat Forest Green Rovers as Shola Ameobi replaced Lewis Alessandra up front.
A punishing wind was blowing around Meadow Lane, making it difficult for either side to get hold of the game. Jon Stead nodded the ball wide at the near post and Liam Noble’s first-time effort went over as Notts pressed for the early advantage. A blizzard descended soon descended on Meadow Lane, causing more issues for both sides, and onlookers had to wait until the 32nd minute for the next meaningful shot of note – Danny Rose seeing his effort comfortably dealt with by Adam Collin. Two minutes later, Ameobi had a golden opportunity to give his side the lead when he was picked out at the back post by Jorge Grant but stags keeper Conrad Logan did brilliantly to save with his legs. But there was nothing the keeper could do from the resultant corner, Ameobi crashing a header off the crossbar and Hawkridge nudging the ball over the line despite the close attentions of a number of Stags defenders. The Magpies headed back into the tunnel ahead and reemerged for the second half unchanged.
It could have been 2-0 on 56 minutes when Stead flashed a low cross across the six-yard box only for no-one to be on hand to turn it home. Hemmings saw a shot deflect into the side-netting for the visitors before former Notts man – and Stags captain – Krystian Pearce received lengthy treatment for an injury.
The onus was on the visitors to score the next goal and Paul Anderson tried his luck on the hour, sending a 25-yard effort swerving a yard wide of the post. Pearce diverted Ameobi’s cross on to the roof of his own net as the Magpies came close to an unorthadox second goal. Mansfield nearly benefitted from a deflection of their own moments later when Alex MacDonald’s strike took a nick off a Notts man on its way into Collin’s grasp. Tensions were beginning to rise at the Lane and a melee ensued when Mal Benning fouled Jon Stead down the flank. Benning joined his team-mate Will Atkinson in the book. Rose bent a shot narrowly wide of the far post shortly before Alesssandra replaced Hawkridge down the right with nine minutes to go. Logan saved a bobbling Grant effort and Rhys Bennett sent a header wide as the side’s exchanged chances during the game’s final throes. Seven minutes of added-on time were signalled and Collin was at his best to palm MacDonald’s header over the crossbar as the Stags pressed for an equaliser and they were given a golden chance to level proceedings when Alessandra was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area in the final minute. Hemmings stepped up and beat Collin, sending the ball into the bottom corner to secure a point for the visitors.
Notts County: Collin, Tootle, Duffy, Hall, Dickinson, Hawkridge (Alessandra 82), Hewitt, Noble (Smith 93), Grant, Stead, Ameobi.
Mansfield: Logan, Anderson (Digby 92), Bennett, Pearce, Benning, Atkinson, King (Angol 62), MacDonald, Hamilton, Hemmings, Rose.
Booked: Benning, Atkinson, MacDonald.