Mansfield Town came away from Meadow Lane with all three points, a goal either side of half time doing the damage for the visitors.
Nathan Thomas received an early caution for The Stags after a rash challenge on Civard Sprockel.
It was Thomas who almost opened the scoring two minutes later. Matt Green broke forward, turned the last defender and fed it to Thomas. With Only Roy Carroll to beat, the midfielder struck it low but Carroll did well to get a hand to it, deflecting it into the ground, the ball bouncing up onto the bar and dropping clear.
A determined run forward from Scot Bennett found Kyle De Silva in space, the winger ran at the defence, getting past two tackles before finding Julian Jenner who tricked his way into the box before firing wide.
Matt Green looked to get in behind the hosts’ defence soon after, the ball bouncing up onto Sprockel’s hand, the referee cautioning the defender. Before the free kick could be taken, Ryan Tafazolli picked up the third caution of the match after an altercation with Notts ‘keeper Carroll.
Stanley Aborah was growing into the game as the match approached the half hour mark. A skilful turn in the middle of the park gave the midfielder space, from there he played the ball to Curtis Thompson on the wing, his cross was almost turned in by Krystian Pearce but Brian Jensen in the visitors goal dived low to claim.
Both sides had their chances, but with 10 minutes until half time the away side took the lead. After some trickery on the edge of the area, the ball came to Chris Clements who held off his marker and slotted past Carroll and into the far corner.
The goal only increased the intensity in the game and Mitchell Rose picked up a booking just minutes after the restart for a high challenge on Liam Noble as the midfielder broke forward.
HT Notts County 0 Mansfield Town 1
At half time County introduced Jimmy Spencer and Graham Burke for Curtis Thompson and Kyle De Silva as they went in search of the equaliser. With just two minutes of the second half gone, Ricardo Moniz was forced into his third and final change. Civard Sprockel picked up an injury on the edge of the hosts’ box and Haydn Hollis took to the field to replace the defender.
Brian Jensen had to be quick off his line on 48 minutes, a ball forward almost finding Jenner on the far side of the area but the keeper did well to collect at his feet.
Substitute Spencer made himself available from a quick throw in, controlling the ball before flicking it over the head of Mitchell Rose, but the striker could only fire over the bar.
County started to dominate the play, Jon Stead sliding an inch perfect pass behind the defence to Jenner, Jensen again doing well to claim the ball.
As the game passed the hour mark, Matt Green had a golden chance to double The Stags’ lead. He beat Roy Carroll to a deep cross, but his header flashed wide of the post.
Straight down the other end and County almost had an equaliser. From wide on the left Graham Burke swung a low ball into the back post for Jimmy Spencer, the defender sliding in to get a toe on the ball and move it just out of Spencer’s reach.
From the resulting corner The Pies again came close. Burke’s low corner pinballing around before it found Haydn Hollis, but the defender fired over on the turn when well placed.
As the game entered the last ten minutes Mansfield secured the three points. Bennett was penalised for a foul just inside the Notts half. The free kick came deep to the back post where Ryan Tafazolli headed it down past Roy Carroll and into the corner.
Notts couldn’t find their way back into the game and the referee blew for full time, signalling County’s first loss of the season.
FT Notts County 0 Mansfield Town 2