Stags’ youngsters slipped to a 3-1 defeat away to Hartlepool United on Saturday afternoon.
Midfielder Cain Smith continued his fine goalscoring season from the middle of the park with a first-half opener, but the Stags couldn’t resist the spirited second-half fightback from the hosts.
After a bright start by John Dempster’s men, the young Stags bagged the opener when forward Jason Law exchanged passes with fellow attacker Devante Reittie before rolling the ball into the path of Smith, who saw off a challenge and curled a shot past Pools’ stopper Ryan Catterick from just inside the area.
The home side responded immediately to the opening goal and within moments of the restart, defender Kane Baldwin thwarted Liam Travers with a last-ditch tackle inside Mansfield's goalmouth.
Full-back Charlie Shaw linked up with Reittie as the Stags pushed forward again, but he shot over from the return pass.
Shortly afterwards, Josh Hawkes tried unlocking the Mansfield defence with a diagonal pass, but defender Kieran Harrison had the situation covered and cleared the ball up-field.
Hartlepool forward Jordan Jewson held off the attentions of two visiting defenders and got a shot in on the turn, but Adam Bishop got down to his left and smothered the ball just inside the post.
Once again, Shaw provided the ammunition for Reittie with a measured pass deep inside the home side's half, however Fielding got a touch on the ball and nudged it away to the edge of the area where it fell nicely for Smith, who crashed the ball against the crossbar as the first half drew to a close.
Half-time: Pools 0-1 Stags
Goalkeeper Adam Bishop was called into action to make a stop from Travers inside the opening minute of the second half, whilst Catterick denied striker Zayn Hakeem once again, claiming a cross before the latter could get his head to it from defender Teddy Bloor's cross.
However, Hartlepool soon equalised as Travers and Jack Blackfield combined on the right flank and the former crossed into the Stags’ six-yard-box to Josh Hawkes, who nudged it past Bishop from close range.
Within two minutes, the game was turned completely on its head when Hawkes again scored from close range thanks to a low right-wing cross from Travers.
From the restart, Hartlepool nicked the ball and attacked down the right yet again and Travers was allowed the time and space to deliver a testing ball into Mansfield's goalmouth, but Bishop went to ground and held on to it well.
Forwards Surafel Behailu and Nyle Blake were introduced from the bench and offered the Stags more options going forward, but the hosts extended their lead when Turnbull hurled a long throw to Jordan Jewson, who knocked the ball past Harrison and finished well.
Looking to halve the deficit, Hakeem was forced to run across the home side's 18-yard-line, looking for an opening in defence to exploit and flicked the ball to Blake, whose attempt nestled into the side netting.
With time ticking on, Travers hooked a long pass out wide to Blackfield on the left, who used his pace to charge past the Stags’ defender, but he rattled a stinging shot against the bar with only Bishop to beat.
Midfielder Tom Marriott was trying to inject some pace down the visitors’ left-flank, but Hartlepool were almost over the finishing line and they could afford to sit back and absorb any pressure Mansfield applied.
The Stags now lie second in the Football League Youth Alliance, two points behind leaders Scunthorpe United.
Full-time: Pools 3-1 Stags
Hartlepool United: Ryan Catterick, Jason Owen, Jack Turnbull (C), Ethan Wood, Jordan Fielding, Nathaniel Skidmore, Jack Blackfield, Josh Hawkes, Jordan Jewson, Dylan Elliott, Liam Travers
Unused subs: John Neirs, Jacob Bramley, Cameron Halliday, Lewis Orrell
Mansfield Town: Adam Bishop, Teddy Bloor, Louis Danquah, Cain Smith, Kane Baldwin, Kieran Harrison, Charlie Shaw (Tom Marriott 66), Cameron Healey (C), Devante Reittie (Nyle Blake 60), Jason Law (Surafel Behailu 58), Zayn Hakeem
Unused subs: Sam Wilson, Alistair Smith