A spirited second half performance wasn’t enough as Mansfield Town were consigned to a 1-0 home defeat to Bury in Sky Bet League Two.
The only goal in the match came midway through the first half when Chris Hussey’s dangerous free-kick was headed home by Nathan Cameron.
Boss Adam Murray made just one change to his starting line-up as young midfielder Jack Thomas replaced Simon Heslop in the centre of the park.
In the opening five minutes, the Stags threatened to breach the Shakers’ defence as striker Vadaine Oliver proved difficult to handle. The home side went on a positive attack after some good link up play on the left flank between winger Junior Brown and left-back Callum Elder resulted in a corner, which unfortunately came to nothing.
The Stags continued to have the better of the possession even though neither team was able to gain ascendency. Bury had an opportunity to put the ball into the penalty area from an attacking free-kick in the 13th minute. They did exactly that as Nicky Adams delivered the ball on to the head of striker Nathan Cameron, who put the ball over the crossbar despite heavy appeals for a corner by the away side.
David Flitcroft’s men had another opportunity from a free-kick in the 21st minute and were this time able to capitalise. Hussey curled the ball into the penalty area from the left side. Heavy traffic awaited the delivery and the ball ended up dropping in the back of the net following a glancing header from Cameron.
Bury had another chance in the 25th minute as debutant Tom Eaves managed to evade Tafazolli and play the ball out to winger Nicky Adams whose attack was cut short by the offside flag.
Mansfield played the ball forward with intent shortly after as midfielder Chris Clements played a 20-yard pass to Brown who continued into the penalty area and won a corner. Clements fed Brown again off the corner, but the winger was unable to get his shot away in time as defender Jimmy McNulty went in with a tackle.
The Stags would have gone a further goal down in the 36th minute had Eaves not been flagged offside when he put the ball in the back off the net after getting on the end of a pin-point Adams cross.
Referee Darren Sheldrake brandished his yellow card for the first time in the 41st minute after Jack Thomas pulled back his opponent in the centre circle.
As the first half neared its conclusion the match was delayed for a short period as right-back Lee Beevers had to receive attention after heavy contact from a Bury player. In time added on, Bury ‘keeper Nick Pope had a nervous moment as he had to tip Thomas’ 30-yard deflected shot over the crossbar.
As the second half began, the Stags were the first to attack when Reggie Lambe on the left side of the field cut the ball into Thomas who attempted to use his skill to evade the Bury defenders but to no avail. This would be the youngster’s last action of the match as he was soon replaced by striker Billy Kee.
It proved difficult for the Stags to get the ball out of their own half as Bury continued to press forward. Hussey remained dangerous from the Shakers’ attacking set-pieces, but the home side was able to remain resilient at the back.
Bury boss Flitcroft made his first substitution as he went with the option of Craig Jones in place of Danny Mayor, who had had an indifferent afternoon.
The belief remained with the Stags that they could get something out of the match and manager Adam Murray was intent on doing this as he introduced Jeffrey Monakana in place of Brown midway through the half.
Mansfield thought they got what they desired moments later as Oliver used his power and strength to hold off his opponent on the left side of the penalty area and play in the well-placed Lambe, who hit his shot low from six yards and forced a vital save from Pope
The home side made their final change in the 73rd minute and brought on another attacking option in striker Rakish Bingham in place of Lambe.
However, at the other end, Pidgeley was called into action shortly afterwards as he dived well to his right to save a goalbound shot from Adams.
The home crowd raised the volume inside the stadium as their team pressed forward for the equaliser. Elder’s cross from the left side found the head of Kee who couldn’t find the space he wanted. Judging by the intent, the Stags were confident they could get back into the match.
As the Shakers looked to hold onto their slender lead they made two further changes with midfielder Chris Sedgwick and striker Hallam Hope coming on to replace Adams and Eaves respectively.
As the second half entered four minutes of time added on, Oliver had a sight on goal as he latched onto a long ball forward. Pope advanced forward and the Stags striker was unable to get his looping shot on target. This would prove to be the last opportunity of the match as Bury held on to record a win.
Attendance: 2,868 (411 away supporters).