Mansfield Town’s winless streak stretched to an unlucky seven with a fiery 2-1 defeat at Hartlepool United.
Two Billy Paynter penalties proved the difference but the Stags, down to 10 men for over an hour after Krystian Pearce’s red card, fought ferociously in a game full of effort and honesty.
The first-half was all about former Stags winger Nathan Thomas, now at Pools, who caused problems galore for his former club – and angered the travelling fans in the process.
The Stags can be proud of their efforts at Victoria Park – Colin Daniel levelling at one point in the second half – but they left disappointed.
After a slow start to the game it was on 21 minutes it caught fire.
Nicky Featherstone broke from deep, Scott Shearer came out to block but centre-half Pearce made up the ground, only to wipe out the midfielder.
Referee Graeme Salisbury red-carded Pearce and awarded a clear penalty.
Billy Paynter sent it low into the corner and, despite Shearer getting a hand to it, he couldn’t keep it out.
Thomas infuriated the 314 travelling Stags fans by celebrating in front of them, and skipper Lee Collins angrily grabbed his former team-mate. Both players were booked.
The left winger has been flourishing at Pools since his January switch and caused havoc throughout while at the other end Collins hacked a shot over the bar.
The Stags played with intent in the second-half, feeling an injustice at trailing and trying to prove a point to Thomas.
Pools’ keeper Carson made two fine saves in a minute to keep out a leveller.
First he went one-handed to deny Green from close range, before he somehow got down low at his far post to claw out a goalbound Ryan Tafazolli header.
And the deserved leveller came on 75 minutes, when a long Chapman throw in ended with Daniel flashing a fine volley high into the net.
But Pools edged ahead controversially 10 minutes later as left-back Mal Benning tripped Carl Magnay in the area – the Stags felt it was outside the box – and Paynter slammed home his second spot kick for the victory.
HARTLEPOOL UNITED (4-4-2): Carson; Magnay, Jackson, Bates, Carroll; Gray (Woods 81), Featherstone, Hawkins; Thomas (Jones 69) Paynter, James (Bingham 83). Subs not used: Bartlett, Walker, Oates, Richards.
MANSFIELD TOWN (4-3-1- 2): Shearer; Collins, Pearce, Tafazolli, Benning; Chapman, Clements (Daniel 39), J Thomas; Blair; Green, Dieseruvwe (Alfei 29 (Beardsley 86)). Subs not used: Jensen, Rose, Lambe, Baxendale.
REFEREE: Graham Salisbury of Preston.
ATTENDANCE: 3,893 (314 away).