Lincoln manager Danny Cowley was proud of his players as they battled back from an early deficit to draw 1-1 at Mansfield and extend their lead at the top of League Two to six points.
John Akinde’s penalty – his 15th league goal of the season – matched Krystian Pearce’s fourth-minute opener for the Stags and stretched City’s unbeaten run in the league to 15 games
“We were disappointed with ourselves in the first half, we started too passively,” admitted Cowley. “It was a terrible goal to concede and we have to go back and learn from the mistakes we made.
“It gave ourselves a mountain to climb and we didn’t play well for the first 25 minutes or so. We had to stick together and see the bad period through and we did much better in the second half.
“I am really proud of the players’ response, but am disappointed we didn’t execute the performance we wanted to. We showed a lot of the mental qualities that have got us to this point, the willingness never to give up.
“If you refuse to lose and you are willing like our players are then you’ll always stay in matches and give yourself an opportunity. We haven’t lost once since October without having a lot of fortitude in the group.
“For me, we wanted to execute technically and tactically, but if you can’t do that then you have to fight really hard and we did that.”
Mansfield skipper Pearce rose to head home Jorge Grant’s corner in the first serious attack of the match.
City were handed a lifeline after 75 minutes when winger Harry Anderson was taken out by home goalkeeper Conrad Logan as he latched on to a pass from sub Tom Pett and Akinde made no mistake from the spot, sending Logan the wrong way.
Stags boss David Flitcroft was philosophical afterwards and admitted a stalemate was probably a fair result, although the point did little to boost their automatic promotion hopes.
“It probably was a fair result, although I would probably have to see that penalty again,” he said. “Lincoln coming here and just scoring a penalty shows how well we have done tonight.
“I am absolutely gutted we have not won but we had high energy, high octane and the players were up to it. It was a fully committed performance and I thought we played well.
“In the first half when we were on top, that’s a missed opportunity in terms of us really dominating the game.
In the second half, though, Lincoln made it physical, they got on top and you have to withstand that and we did that for long periods, limiting them to a couple of shots. We didn’t crack, we didn’t crumble. We ran tonight for the people of Mansfield.”