Davis Keillor-Dunn's first-half strike was enough to see Mansfield emerge victorious from the Nottinghamshire derby.
In a first half when we had a chance cleared off the line and hit the woodwork twice, it was Keillor-Dunn's excellent 20-yard finish that proved the difference as the Stags held firm from there to claim the points.
Stuart Maynard made one change to the side that played out a 1-1 draw with Barrow in his first game in charge, the injured Richard Brindley making way for debutant Jaden Warner.
That meant Kyle Cameron and Aden Baldwin played alongside the Norwich loanee in front of goalkeeper – and former Stag - Aidan Stone, with John Bostock partnering Scott Robertson once again in central midfield.
Out wide, in-form pair Jodi Jones and Aaron Nemane were tasked with supplying an attacking trio of Dan Crowley, David McGoldrick and Macaulay Langstaff.
Lewis Macari was welcomed back on to the bench following a one-month absence, joining Luca Ashby-Hammond, Connell Rawlinson, Will Randall, Tobi Adebayo, Jim O’Brien and Sam Austin in providing options off the bench.
New signing Charlie Colkett and Alassana Jatta had to wait for their debut, the former having only had one opportunity to train with his new team-mates following his arrival from Crewe and the latter awaiting visa approval for his move from Danish top-flight side Viborg.
Maynard decided to start with Nemane on the left and Jones on the right and it nearly paid dividends inside two minutes as the former raced away and saw his cross reach the latter in the area. Jones’ shot was blocked and it fell nicely for McGoldrick, who had plenty of time to fire the ball goalwards - only to be denied by a sprawling defender on the line.
Six minutes later, we were made to rue that missed chance as we couldn’t get the ball clear on the edge of our own area and saw the ball eventually present itself for Keillor-Dunn to curl it into the top corner from 20 yards.
McGoldrick had a half-chance to equalise on 15 minutes when Keillor-Dunn conceded possession to Crowley, who scampered into the Mansfield half and played it to the forward on his left. His shot was diverted behind by a defender.
Shortly afterwards, McGoldrick had another opportunity as he took Robertson’s pass neatly on the turn and flashed a low, 20-yard effort just wide of the post – rejecting the pass to Crowley, who had made a run into the area to his right.
We continued to look the more likely side to score next and so nearly did on 28 minutes when Jones, still playing down the right, sent a superb cross into the area which just evaded Langstaff and rebounded off the post with Christy Pym stranded.
And, after Langstaff had seen a shot diverted behind by a defender, the woodwork was rattling again as Aden Flint headed Nemane’s corner against his own crossbar – and breathed a sigh of relief as it bounced the ‘wrong’ side of the line.
Flint’s fellow defender, Baldwin, had a nervy moment of his own before the break as his attempted flicked pass to Warner inadvertently sent Will Swan through on goal. Baldwin had the pace to recover, though, ensuring we only had a one-goal deficit to overcome in the second half.
We re-emerged unchanged and McGoldrick wasted no time in pushing for an equaliser, making a brilliant run into the area and seeing his cross-shot pushed behind by Pym at his near post.
Shortly before the hour mark, we survived a goalmouth scramble before seeing Keillor-Dunn scuff a volley wide and have a shot saved by Stone in quick succession.
But we were presented with a huge chance on 69 minutes when substitute Aaron Lewis inadvertently played Jones, now on the left, clear into the channel. The wing back decided to take the shot on from a tight angle and couldn’t keep the ball down, firing it over the bar and taking a late challenge from a defender in the process. The referee was unmoved and a big opportunity was gone.
With time ticking down and the game becoming stretched, we had Baldwin to thank for a crucial challenge on Akins and then Stone for an excellent save from Will Swan with his feet at the near post.
A minute later, big penalty appeals were waved away as Langstaff went down under a challenge in the area.
And that proved to be our final sniff at goal as we left north Nottinghamshire empty-handed.
STARTING XI: Stone; Cameron, Baldwin, Warner; Jones, Nemane; Bostock, Robertson; Crowley, McGoldrick, Langstaff
SUBS: Ashby-Hammond, Rawlinson, Macari, Randall, Adebayo, O’Brien, Austin
ATTENDANCE: 8,667 (1,659)