Stech saves from the spot to salvage a point as Town fight back

James Collins pulls a goal back for the Hatters during this afternoon's 2-2 draw
James Collins pulls a goal back for the Hatters during this afternoon's 2-2 draw

League Two: Mansfield 2 Luton 2.

Where to start!

With 10 minutes to go, Luton were looking down the barrel of their second away defeat of the season this afternoon, with what had been shaping into a bitterly disappointing contest at Mansfield.

Then, out of nowhere, James Collins made it 2-1 with five minutes to go, before Danny Hylton stooped to head home in the 89th minute, as the strike pairing looked like they had rescued a point, or given Town a platform to steal a stunning victory.

However, the action didn't stop there, as in stoppage time, Scott Cuthbert was penalised for handball inside the area, giving Mansfield the chance to win it from the spot.

But, Marek Stech proved to be Hatters' hero yet again, as he repelled Jimmy Spencer's tame spot kick, with Danny Rose volleying the rebound over, as Luton emerged with a point on what became a truly breathless 90 minutes at the One Call Stadium.

Going into the game, Town made one change to the side who beat Colchester, with Cuthbert returning for Glen Rea, while new signing Luke Berry was handed a place on the bench.

Both teams were heavily tipped by the bookies to be promotion challengers in the summer, but it has to be said, the Stags lived up to their billing of title favourites during the first half, with a direct display that Luton failed to deal with.

The visitors were the architects of their own downfall at times, giving away free kick after free kick, as they were just never able to impose themselves on a physical and clearly up for it Stags.

Mansfield had a sighter on four minutes, new signing Kane Hemmings rifling over the top, before Lee Angol just couldn't quite reach Rhys Bennett's cross, Jack Stacey's clearance hitting Paul Anderson and fortunately missing the target.

It took Luton a good 20 minutes to fashion a chance, with the ball rebounding into Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu's path, but his effort was wayward, with Collins screaming for a pass.

Mansfield then got the goal they fully deserved on 22 minutes, although Town will not be pleased with the ease in which they did, a free kick swung into the area where Rhys Bennet poked it beyond Stech.

Stags looked for a second, Angol's free kick straight at Setch, as Alan McCormack and Jacob Mellis's constant nibbling at each other eventually wore out the patience of referee Ross Joyce, who booked the pair for some off the field argy bargy.

Finally Town made their former keeper Conrad Logan work on the stroke of half time, Andrew Shinnie's shot easily gathered.

After the break, Luton tried to gain some immediate momentum, Hylton nutmegging his man on the byline and crossing for Collins to volley over.

Stech had to remain alert though get a strong hand behind Mellis's drive though, but Luton already looked like they had more about them, with their opponents already beginning to retreat.

Shinnie's cross shot parried by Logan and put behind, with Dan Potts powering a header over from the corner, while Jones introduced Berry for a hugely impressive cameo in a double switch, as Glen Rea came on too, Shinnie and McCormack making way.

Town now had a monopoly of possession, Mansfield only offering the meekest of threats, with Angol trying to run the play down in the corner, despite a full 20 minutes of play remaining.

It looked like Luton's chances of gaining anything from the game were blown on 71 minutes though as Rea's heavy first touch saw him give the ball away with his second, and Angol was sent away to slide the ball under the advancing Stech.

That looked like it would be that, but Mansfield hadn't reckoned for Luton's fighting spirit, with Stacey sprinting down the wing and his inviting cross was turned home by Collins on 85 minutes.

Now with their tails up, Luton sensed a leveller and they got it just four minutes later as Dan Potts sent over the most perfect delivery for Hylton to nod home from a yard out.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu wasn't far away from making it an ever better turnaround, before Luton were thankfully to their giant Czech in goal, after Cuthbert was adjudged to have handled.

Stech got down low to repel Spencer's penalty, and then saw Rose waste the rebound to ensure Luton left with a point to their name, which in the end, felt like all three.

Stags: Conrad Logan, Rhys Bennett, Mal Benning, Krystian Pearce, Jacob Mellis (Paul Digby 75), Lee Angol (Jimmy Spencer 89), Paul Anderson (C), Will Atkinson, David Mirfin, Kane Hemmings (Danny Rose 82), Joel Byrom.

Subs not used: Bobby Olejnik, Alex MacDonald, George Taft, Omari Sterling-James.

Hatters: Marek Stech, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Scott Cuthbert, Alan Sheehan, Alan McCormack (Glen Rea 58), Olly Lee (Harry Cornick 75), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Andrew Shinnie (Luke Berry 58) Danny Hylton, James Collins.

Subs: James Shea, James Justin, Elliot Lee, Luke Gambin.

Booked: Potts 22, McCormack 33, Mellis 33, Sheehan 56, Benning 67, Hemmings 72, Byrom 73, Angol 82, Berry 90, Stech 90, Spencer 90.

Referee: Ross Joyce.

Attendance: 4,665 (987 Luton).