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Football: LOVE-LEE JUBBLY; BLUE SQUARE PREMIER LEAGUE Ebbsfleet 2 Mansfield 2.

MANSFIELD came from two goals down to snatch a point in a thrilling opener to the new Blue Square Premier campaign.

First-half goals from Fleet's record signing Michael Gash and midfielder Stacy Long, were cancelled out by second-half replies by Michael Blackwood and veteran frontman Jason Lee.

Fleet's early pressure paid off when, after just eight minutes, Gash broke through the visitors' defence to slot the ball beyond the reach of on-loan keeper Paddy Gamble.

The hosts were the dominant side throughout the first half and Long saw a left-foot volley sail over the bar after 15 minutes.

Long went one better in the 26th minute, curling a 25-yard shot into the back of the net after good work through the centre from Luke Moore. Gash could have had a second from the centre of the penalty area, but saw his effort blocked by Mansfield striker Alex Jeanin, who was back helping out his defence.

It took until the 40th minute for McEwan's men to have their first shot on target when Mark Stallard drilled a right-foot shot straight into the arms of Fleet keeper Lance Cronin.

An early second-half goal from Michael Blackwood gave the Stags hope, a brilliant strike curled into the top right corner.

And in a thrilling finale, Mansfield brought the scores level after 89 minutes when Blackwood turned provider for Lee, who headed home from six yards.

The Stags still had one last chance to nick it, but defender Aidie Moses saw his long-range strike sail high and wide.

CAPTION(S):

LEE-WAY FOR TOWN: Mansfield's Jason celebrates his late equaliser against Ebbsfleet; SCORER: Stacy Long
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 10, 2008
Words:270
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