Giulio Donati's sending off was the major talking point in a game that failed to excite.
First half fails to spark
It was a slow start to proceedings in Mainz, with both sides failing to get any sort of flow into their play. Konstantin Rausch and Jerome Gondorf had the only real attempts of note for Darmstadt, while Julian Baumgartlinger's powerful shot caught the side netting at the other end. Pablo de Blasis' run nearly provided a way through for Jairo, though he had his shot well-blocked.
The Argentine was proving to be a handful for the visitors and another mazy dribble sent him towards goal, only to fire wide. He was the real bright spark in a game that was lacking quality, with the increasingly heavy rain seeming to translate into a poor game on the field. De Blasis had a free-kick chance late on but Christian Mathenia was equal to the task. A half that struggled to get going ended how it started - level.
Donati sending off makes little difference
The second half also started with Mainz in the ascendancy as Yunus Malli did brilliantly well to pick out the run of Jhon Cordoba. The striker was through on goal and faced with Mathenia, only for a poor first touch to deny him a shot at goal. The main moment of interest in the opening exchanges involved Giulio Donati, who kicked out needlessly at Sandro Wagner. Benjamin Brand had little choice other than to produce the red card and send the hosts down to 10 men.
Despite this, the tide did not turn against Martin Schmidt's side. Cordoba's determination won them a free-kick on the edge of the area, which eventually found de Blasis but he was denied by the feet of Mathenia. At the other end, Rausch failed to find the necessary finish after Wagner played him in.
A battling performance in the final few minutes ensured both teams would come away with a point apiece. Darmstadt extended the gap between themselves and the automatic relegation spots to five points, while Mainz moved to within a point of Schalke in fourth ahead of their trip to Borussia Dortmund next week. The Lilies will face fellow relegation battlers FC Augsburg on Saturday.