Cheltenham Town were held to a goalless draw at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium as Mansfield Town were keen to stifle the hosts throughout an equal encounter.
Alfie May returned to the starting line-up as he replaced the injured George Lloyd, but the forward was left frustrated with two second-half chances that went a-begging in a well balanced match-up.
Visitors Mansfield took to the field having failed to win in ten attempts this season, losing six times in all competitions this term.
Earning a hard-fought point away at Morecambe on Tuesday evening was the Stags’ fourth point of the League Two campaign. Graham Coughlan’s side travelled to Cheltenham with similar intentions.
Cheltenham were keen to make their superior league position count in the early stages as the hosts won a succession of corners and throw-ins to probe Mansfield’s defence.
Mansfield’s Harry Charsley matched Cheltenham’s early threats by going close with a long range effort of his own, narrowly missing Josh Griffiths’ far post after 20 minutes had passed on the clock,
Griffiths was being made to work the harder of the two goalkeepers to preserve a clean sheet before the interval. The on-loan West Bromwich Albion stopper has now kept 8 clean sheets in 11 appearances for the Robins.
In a first half lacking goal scoring chances for either side, Duff’s side came out to the second period with more attacking impetus.
On the hour mark, May’s goal-bound volley was blocked off the line by Charsley as the ball kindly dropped to the Robins forward inside the box.
Mansfield put bodies on the line in hope of keeping their third clean sheet of the season, but the visiting Stags were let off the hook by May’s missed chance five minutes after squandering his first.
Combining with Chris Hussey on the left flank to work an effective one-two, the hosts picked the Mansfield lock for the first time in the second half. Bearing down on goal, May placed the ball wide of Štech’s far post, missing the game’s best chance to the frustrations of the home side.
Mansfield boss Coughlan made two forward-thinking alterations with the introduction of Nicky Maynard and Jamie Reid to disrupt Cheltenham’s late poise.
Cheltenham will travel to Vale Park on Tuesday evening (kick-off 19:00) to contest another three points against Port Vale.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): J Griffiths (Gk) C Raglan, B Tozer, W Boyle, L Sercombe, T Sang (A Addai ’83), C Clements, C Hussey, M Blair (C Thomas ‘58), A May (A Williams ’68), R Reid.
Subs not used: M Harris (Gk), E Chapman, L Freestone, G Horton.
MANSFIELD TOWN (3-5-2): M Štech (Gk), R Sweeney, F Rawson, R Menayese, K Gordon, J Perch, G Lapslie, G Maris (N Maynard ’77), S McLaughlin, H Charsley, A Cook (J Reid ’77).
SUBS NOT USED: A Stone (Gk), A O’Driscoll, J Clarke, T Sinclair, J Bowery.
REFEREE: Neil Hair
ASSISTANT REFEREE: Louis Marks, John Flynn. Fourth Official: Ollie Williams