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League Two

Plymouth Argyle spirit pleases manager John Sheridan

1 February 2014

Plymouth Argyle manager John Sheridan praised his players' never-say-die attitude after stunning Mansfield Town with a late goal for the second time this season in a 1-1 draw.

Pilgrims' striker Lewis Alessandra netted a dramatic equaliser in the sixth minute of stoppage-time to earn a point from a 1-1 draw after Matt Rhead had given the Stags the lead with 16 minutes left.

It was another bitter blow for Mansfield manager Paul Cox, who had seen his side beaten 1-0 by Argyle at the One Call Stadium earlier in the season when Pilgrims' defender Neal Trotman headed home a winner four minutes into stoppage time.

"The good thing to come out of the game is that we didn't give in, again," said Sheridan. "We went to the final minute. We kept battling until the end and we didn't get beat, which is a positive sign.

"We've battled again, which we've done a few times this season. We've battled until the final whistle and shown great resilience. It was a difficult game - Mansfield made it very difficult for us."

Alessandra fired home after being played in by substitute Nathan Thomas to keep alive Plymouth's outside hopes of making up the 11-point gap between them and the play-offs.

"We need to win our home games if we're going to climb up the table," said Sheridan. "We've drawn our last three at home now and to get anything back from these games, we have to go and win two away games.

"Draws are not what we after, but we didn't get beaten, and we did have a go late on. We've just got to try and get points as quickly as possible."

Mansfield boss Cox admits the result felt like a defeat.

"It almost feels like we've lost the game and in the dressing room I've had to pick the players up," he said.

"Over the 90 minutes I thought we were the better side and deserved to win the game, but we've got to see through those six minutes of injury time.

"I thought we were excellent, especially in the second half, but the result should have been out of sight before the six minutes of injury time.

"We've worked hard, we passed the ball excellently, created some good chances and ([the equaliser) was a sickener."

Dead-ball specialist Luke Young twice went close for Argyle in an uneventful first half, firing a first free-kick over the crossbar before a second set-piece saw him shoot straight at Stags goalkeeper Alan Marriott.

Mansfield stood up well to playing into the teeth of a fierce wind in the opening half and turned round level, but were lucky to remain ahead in the early stages of the second half when Alessandra wastefully headed Conor Hourihane's cross wide.

Argyle lost goalkeeper Luke McCormick to a hand injury midway through the second half and his successor Jake Cole was beaten within 10 minutes of coming on when James Jennings' cross fell nicely for Rhead to fire home.

It looked like being enough for Mansfield to clinch victory until Alessandra's last-gasp equaliser.

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