After questioning his side’s desire in midweek, Adam Murray’s Stags answered emphatically with a 3-1 win at Barnet in a game in which both sides ended up with 10 men.
Blair Adams showed early intent with a strong run, but his shot was low and easily collected by Jamie Stephens. The best chance of the opening stages fell to Craig Westcarr with a side-footed effort that Stephens did well to parry.
With most of the early play being compressed into the middle third of the field, both sides tried with little success to play the ball over the top, and this helped Barnet settle briefly, albeit without any shots on Brian Jensen’s goal.
Mansfield showed some bite, and a flowing move culminated in a Westcarr cross forcing a corner.
The inevitable goal came with a well-worked move on the break. Matt Green finding Chris Clements before Reggie Lambe finished skilfully past Stephens.
Clements almost doubled the score with a 30-yard effort that Stephens stretched to keep out. Things went from bad to worse. Josh Clarke got a second yellow card with 37 minutes on the clock that even Martin Allen did not criticise. Striker Aaron McLean moved to emergency right-back as Barnet weathered the storm.
Barnet were better after the restart, but lacked any cutting edge and Mansfield took advantage. Westcarr fed Green whose drive whipped past Stephens for 2-0 on the hour.
Jensen was finally tested by Michael Gash, but the experienced keeper kept the effort out with his legs.
Matt Green had a chance to make it 3-0 but Stephens was again equal to the effort, and John Akinde was introduced for Gash. Akinde was a presence throughout, and headed just wide, before being taken down by Jensen for a penalty which the target man converted himself.
Jensen had some measure of redemption after beating away Elliot Johnson’s long drive, the rebound causing Clements to foul and get his second yellow card.
The game was killed off in 88th minute after a scramble caused an own goal from Barnet for a deserved away win.