Our second-string slipped to a 3-0 defeat at local rivals Chesterfield tonight.
Despite a brave performance from our side, which was made up of youngsters, Danny Whitaker opened the scoring for the Spireites with a sumptuous volley on 53 minutes.
Jacob Hazel then netted a brace for the hosts, who emerged as comfortable winners in front of around 300 supporters at Chesterfield’s Proact Stadium.
The Spireites created more in the early exchanges and twice came close to an opener as Jack Waddle and Scott Boden both fired wide of Ryan Hopkins’ woodwork.
Boden was again off-target with a speculative volley on 11 minutes, whilst Craig Clay came no closer with an effort from the edge of the area.
Chesterfield finally registered their first attempt on target on the quarter-hour mark, when Hazel fired low at Hopkins after some excellent build up play involving Waddle and Boden.
Spireites trialist James Dance was another to be off-target, with an acute long-range drive, whilst Clay blazed over from the hosts’ seventh corner of the clash.
Stags shot-stopper Hopkins then produced two saves in quick succession midway through the first period, as Chesterfield were again left frustrated.
His first was a routine stop from Whitaker’s speculative 20-yard shot, but for his second, the youngster had to expertly re-adjust his body in order to deny an unmarked Boden.
The Spireites continued to press forward with menace, but lacked a distinct cutting-edge as they remained foiled by the resolute Stags back-line.
Clay trickled a right-footed drive across the face of the target, whilst Waddle, Boden and Whitaker all lacked accuracy with further attempts prior to half-time.
In the Stags’ only attack of the first period, winger Jake Green beautifully cut inside from the right flank, but saw his powerful drive smartly saved by Josh Barrington.
Ross Lamb almost latched onto Jack Hawkins’ through pass early in the second period, before Chesterfield finally made the all-important breakthrough on 53 minutes.
Jonathan Wafula’s pin-point ball down the right flank was met inside the area by Whitaker, who produced a stunning first-time volley, to beat Hopkins at his near-post.
Hazel and Dance wasted chances to extend the Spireites’ one-goal advantage, before Hazel screwed a low shot well wide of the target from close-range on the hour-mark.
The Stags, having soaked up so much pressure, almost grabbed an equaliser on 62 minutes when Joe Flint was denied by an advancing Barrington following Jack Thomas’ through pass.
However, the hosts doubled their lead on 69 minutes, as Hazel latched onto Waddle’s defence-splitting ball and slid beyond Hopkins at a tight angle.
Matt Harris replaced Lamb as Mansfield searched for a route back into the game, and the substitute combined well with Flint in as the visitors created an opening in the late exchanges.
Chesterfield Clay hit the concrete in the Karen Child Stand with a vicious 30-yard strike in the last five minutes, before the creative midfielder turned provider for Hazel.
His precise through pass released Hazel, who brilliantly retained his composure in a one-on-one with Hopkins and slotted into the bottom-left corner to seal the win.
Mansfield: Hopkins, Simpson, J.Jones (Chambers), Robinson, Birch, Marsden, Thomas, J. Green, Flint, Lamb (Harris), Hawkins. Unused Subs: Coupe, Pursglove, Ganyiwa.