Lambs silenced by clinical Stags
Goals from Matt Green and Luke Jones earned Mansfield Town a comfortable win over mid-table Tamworth at One Call Stadium.
The Stags went ahead on the stroke of half-time when Green fired home from the penalty spot after being fouled in the area by Scott Barrow.
Defender Jones then doubled the advantage on 62 minutes as he headed home a superb cross from Exodus Geohaghon.
With this victory, Paul Cox’s side have moved up five places in the Blue Square Bet Premier table and are now within two points of fifth-placed Wrexham.
On what was a cool September evening at One Call Stadium, Tamworth created the first opportunity of the game after only three minutes when Alan Marriott smothered a close range shot from Sean Jeffers after Ritchie Sutton had misjudged a low ball down the right flank.
The Lambs enjoyed another shooting opportunity moments later when Barrow curled a free-kick over the woodwork after captain Adam Murray had felled Charlie Collins on the edge of the area.
Tamworth continued to create the better openings in the early exchanges, but nevertheless it was Mansfield who won the first corner after 15 minutes when Tom Marshall headed a dangerous Junior Daniel cross out of play.
From the resulting corner, Murray delivered a back-post cross towards Matt Rhead, who flicked the ball towards midfielder Anthony Howell located in a central position inside the box. Howell hammered a shot towards goal, which was blocked by a defender, before Lloyd Kerry cleared the danger.
Lindon Meikle fired a free-kick high over the crossbar and Green collected a yellow card for a foul on Lambs shot-stopper Tony Breeden as the game developed into a gritty midfielder encounter, with neither side being able to dominate.
Tamworth then came close to an opener on the half-hour mark.
Marriott was quick from his line to ensure that Collins would be unable to connect with a low right-wing cross from Jeffers, but his clearance was met by Kerry lurking dangerously on the cusp of the box, who dipped the follow-up attempt onto the roof of goal.
Meikle fired over from close range on 37 minutes, moments before Green fired a low right-footed shot wide of the target as the Stags finished the first half on top.
As the game looked to be meandering towards being goalless at the interval, Mansfield went ahead from the penalty spot two minutes into additional time.
Rhead picked up possession deep on the left channel and close to the halfway line, after a clearance from Geohaghon. The bustling front man then threaded an intricate ball through towards strike-partner Green, who twisted and turned exquisitely and worked his way into the penalty area.
In a crowded box, the Stags talisman drew a clumsy challenge from defender Scott Barrow and referee Seb Stockbridge showed no hesitancy as he pointed to the spot.
Green remained calm and composed as he stepped up and fired the resulting spot-kick hard into the bottom right corner, beyond the reach of Breeden.
With the One Call Stadium crowd now in full voice, Rhead headed a long throw from Geohaghon wide of the target eight minutes after the re-start.
Mansfield continued to press forward at regular intervals as they searched to extend their advantage and again came close to an important second goal on 57 minutes.
A Geohaghon long throw caused pandemonium inside the Tamworth six-yard box and with Lambs ‘keeper Breeden flapping at thin air, Louis Briscoe saw a powerful shot bravely deflected wide of the post by Marshall.
Less than 60 seconds later, Tamworth launched a swift counter-attack and could have claimed what would have been a highly undeserved equaliser had someone connected to a low ball that George Baldock flashed through the Stags six-yard box.
Nevertheless, Mansfield soon doubled their lead.
Geohaghon delivered one of his trademark long throws towards the near-post, but received possession of the ball again after Tait temporarily cleared the danger.
However, the centre-back then floated a delightful ball high into the six-yard box with his left foot and defensive partner Jones rose highest to powerfully guide the ball beyond a flapping Lambs shot-stopper and into an empty.
After doubling their advantage, Mansfield continued to dictate proceedings and were rarely troubled by their opponents from Staffordshire.
The Lambs continued to struggle in their quest to deal with long throws from Geohaghon, though, somewhat surprisingly, clear-cut chances were at a premium as the game meandered towards its conclusion.
Tamworth came close to claiming a consolation goal, and creating what would have been a grandstand finale, in the penultimate minute of normal time.
Jeffers delivered a fine cross into the area from deep on the right flank, which Marriott was only able to palm straight into the path of Barrow. Having both time and space in abundance, and despite a large target to aim at, the Lambs full-back panicked and fired a harmless shot well wide of goal.
The Stags then saw out three minutes of stoppage time in comfortable fashion to record their third consecutive home win and move to within two points of the Blue Square Bet Premier play-offs places.
Attendance: 2,105 (122 away supporters).