Ryan Bowman’s penalty earned York City all three points on a controversial night at One Call Stadium.
The York frontman slotted home a 32nd minute spot-kick – awarded by referee Darren Drysdale who judged John Dempster to have fouled Josh Carson inside the area.
The Stags, who battled throughout but created little in the final third, should have been awarded their own spot-kick after the re-start when a York player handled inside the area.
Nevertheless, it was York who were awarded a second spot-kick on the brink of added time, when Ryan Tafazolli was harshly penalised for the very same offence.
Wes Fletcher had his effort saved by Alan Marriott on this occasion, but it didn’t matter as the Minstermen saw out four added minutes to record a 1-0 victory.
Manager Paul Cox made four changes to his starting line-up as Martin Riley, James Jennings, Lindon Meikle and Jamie McGuire were all included in the xi.
Meanwhile, the Minstermen – searching for their fourth straight away victory – named an unchanged team from their 1-0 win at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
It was the visitors who enjoyed the better of the possession in the opening 10 minutes and they had the first chance when Adam Reed hit a tame 20-yard shot at Alan Marriott.
Jennings had the Stags’ first opportunity moments later when his superb corner missed Riley at the near-post and then evaded everyone inside a packed six-yard box.
The hosts started to look bright and lively and their biggest threat came through Jennings, who whipped a number of left-wing crosses into the mixer, which York dealt with.
Nevertheless, Mansfield were forced to make a change just before the half-hour mark when Darryl Westlake, who had already received treatment from the physio, was replaced by Lee Beevers.
Despite having not created much in the first 30 minutes, York were soon given a great chance to break the deadlock when Josh Carson went to ground inside the area under a challenge from John Dempster.
Referee Drysdale, located over 30 yards away, was hardly in a great position to make a decision but with no assistance from his linesman, he opted to award a controversial spot-kick.
Very few supporters in One Call Stadium agreed with Drysdale’s decision and there were near-deafening boos of disapproval, before Bowman prepared himself to face Marriott.
Eventually, when the penalty was taken, Marriott guessed incorrectly and Bowman slipped the ball along the floor to his left-hand side to put the Minstermen 1-0 up.
The Stags were still absolutely furious about the penalty decision by the time McGuire had a dipping 25-yard volley saved by Nick Pope on 35 minutes.
Pope played a long ball downfield and the mood of the home faithful again erupted as Dempster was felled by Bowman in an off-the-ball incident, just yards away from the touchline.
Following a long delay whilst Drysdale consulted with his assistant, the official opted to give Bowman a stern talking to, rather than book the York player.
Martin Riley was then cautioned for a challenge on Michael Coulson shortly before the break as the visitors went in 1-0 up – and the officials were roundly booed off by the home faithful.
The Stags came out with the grit between after the re-start and created a chance within a minute as Rhead struck an effort from the edge of the area straight at Pope.
Lindon Meikle was also denied by the York custodian from a very similar position on 52 minutes, following Rhead’s clever flick on from Riley’s long header.
The sense of injustice that the Stags players felt went up a notch on the hour mark, when Jamie McGuire hooked the ball over a York defender, who then handled inside the area.
Incredibly, the referee, who was just a matter of feet away on this occasion, waved play on and York, to their relief, cleared the ball downfield and away to safety.
Striker Ollie Palmer was soon thrown into the mix in favour of Dempster, as Mansfield changed shape in search of a much-needed equaliser.
Mansfield’s onslaught continued and they had another penalty waved away on 68 minutes, despite Keith Lowe having both arms wrapped round Rhead when Jennings played a set-piece into the area.
Cox then made his last substitution as Michael Cain replaced skipper Adam Murray in midfield.
On 77 minutes, Meikle went close with a teasing delivery towards the far-post which almost caught out a back-peddling Pope, who clattered into the woodwork when he grabbed the ball.
Lanre Oyebanjo headed away Jennings’ corner moments later as the Stags continued to be foiled by a resolute York backline, who were giving everything to the cause.
The Stags soon tried a different approach with Clucas taking responsibility with the next flag-kick, but his high ball drifted out towards Jennings, who couldn’t get another ball back into the mixer.
Minutes slowly ebbed away and on the brink of four minutes of stoppage-time, York were handed a great opportunity to seal the victory when Tafazolli was judged to have handled inside the area.
Wes Fletcher stepped up and hit a low effort to Marriott’s left-hand side, but on this occasion the Stags’ shot-stopper saved – and the hosts were still in the game.
Nevertheless, the Stags couldn’t find an equaliser as a controversial night ended with York claiming maximum points.
Attendance: 2,865 (466 away supporters).