Report: Stags 0-1 Barnet
Mansfield Town slipped to their first home league defeat of the season after John Akinde's second half strike saw Barnet claim maximum points in this Sky Bet League Two contest.
Akinde's fourth goal of the season separated the two sides in a contest which yielded few clear cut chances.
Stags did create opportunities, however, but were unsuccessful in testing the Barnet goalkeeper on the majority of occasions in the final third.
In the home camp, three changes were made to last week’s line-up which faced Cambridge United.
Alex Iacovitti, the 19-year-old defender on loan from Nottingham Forest, made his debut in defence.
Winger Ashley Hemmings also gained a start while there was the surprise inclusion of Danny Rose, who had been recovering from a fractured eye socked.
Stags began the match with real gusto, with the visitors having to clear two right-flank crosses within the opening minute.
Barnet’s first charge came on three minutes. Powerhouse forward John Akinde sped away into space before delivering an inviting right-flank cross towards Shaun Batt, However, Stags met it first to avert the danger.
Seven minutes later, Akinde slipped it to Alex Nicholls only for his poor cross to be easily claimed by Stags’ ‘keeper Scott Shearer.
At the other end, Mal Benning swept a cross into the box from the left, allowing Mitchell Rose to blast the ball goalwards, but Bees’ skipper Michael Nelson made a good block on the edge of the six yard box.
On 21 minutes, George Taft was unable to continue after picking up a knock and had to be replaced by CJ Hamilton, who made an instant impact.
It meant that Benning reverted to his usual left-back slot, with Hamilton ahead of him in midfield.
Barnet then enjoyed a spell of possession, but a combination of cute defending and poor final entries, prevented Scott Shearer from being tested.
But it was Mansfield who were to end the first half the stronger of the two sides, with Rose and Hamilton at the heart of the Stags’ impressive moves.
Adam Murray’s men chalked up their second corner on 31 minutes. Danny Rose roamed forward to lay it out to Hamilton, whose left-wing cross forced a flag-kick.
Less than a minute later, the pair linked up again, almost to deadly effect.
But Hamilton’s final entry was much deeper this time, into the goal area, allowing Josh Vickers, the Barnet goalkeeper, to smother.
Causing more problems for the visitors, Hamilton skipped in between two defenders and registered another corner after his shot had to be cleared behind.
Matt Green then headed forward, claimed on the line by the goalkeeper, after Mal Benning acted as left-wing architect.
Stags continued to probe, largely on the left side as Hamilton teed-up Benning with a short in field pass on 38 minutes. On the edge of the box, Benning struck low, right-footed, and had to be denied by the right palm of Josh Vickers at full stretch.
From the resulting corner, Barnet had a man on the line to deny Matt Green’s goalbound header.
Hamilton was at it again on 43. Scott Shearer played a goal kick directly to Mal Benning, who fed Hamilton on the left, but after driving into the box, he was unable to force Vickers into a save.
Stags flew out of the traps at the beginning of the second period.
Green powered an effort towards goal and after being blocked it fell kindly into the path of Hemmings, whose well-hit curling effort from 25 yards sailed over.
On 53, Shaun Batt did well to turn away from two Stags’ players on the right-side, but his teasing cross was just too deep to convert for the outstretched Luke Gambin.
Stags then pressed through Danny Rose, in fine form, who knocked it to the advancing Green. Spotting the ‘keeper off his line, the Stags’ marksman attempted an audacious chip from a wide angle, but it flew into the side netting.
But after Stags' promising start, it was Barnet who netted the opener on 57 minutes.
Mitchell Rose conceded possession midway inside the Barnet half, allowing Martin Allen’s side to break forward. And after Akinde got away from Krystian Pearce, he surged into the box to plant his shot beyond Shearer.
Stags looked to respond four minutes later.
Benning’s searching pass found Hamilton on the left, and after a good delivery Green rose into the air but was unable to hit the target with a header.
On 63, Kevan Hurst climbed off the subs’ bench to replace Ashley Hemmings.
His first duty was the taking of a free-kick, 30 yards from goal, which flashed wide of the right post.
With 72 minutes played, Darius Henderson replaced Mitchell Rose as Stags’ chief Murray made his final change.
Directly after the change, Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro, a second half substitute, turned to shoot at Scott Shearer from inside the Stags’ box.
With nine minutes of normal time remaining, Lee Collins was bundled to the ground by Jamal Campbell-Ryce, 25 yards from goal.
Up stepped Mal Benning to curl it over the angle.
Hurst then carved out an opening when he scampered towards the goalline. His cross was pin-point onto the head of Henderson, but his downward header was stopped by Vickers.
Stags were offered brief hope of a comeback when fourth minutes of added time were allotted, but Barnet held firm to claim the points.
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Pearce, Taft (Hamilton 21), Iacovitti, Hemmings (Hurst 63), Collins, M.Rose (Henderson 72), Benning, D. Rose, Green
UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, Hoban, Baxendale, McGuire
BARNET: Vickers, Johnson, N’Gala, Nelson, Weston, Akinde, Gambin (Campbell-Ryce 70), Togwell, Batt (Akpa-Akpro 60), Nicholls (Sesay 75), Vilhete
UNUSED SUBS: Stephens, Watson, Taylor, Tomlinson
REFEREE: Sebastian Stockbridge
ATTENDANCE: 2,523 (122 away fans)