Super sub Danny Rose was Mansfield Town's match-winner this afternoon as he headed home the only goal of the game three minutes after coming on to ensure Stags left Sincil Bank with a 1-0 victory against Lincoln City.
Lincoln had the better of the attacking play in the first half but found it hard to beat a resilient Mansfield defence, centre-half David Mirfin in particular putting his body on the line on several occasions.
With the second half underway, the Stags came out of the blocks the sharper and looked the more likely to take the lead. They did just that 61 minutes through substitute Danny Rose. Right-back Hayden White delivered a ball from the right wing after a terrific run and it found Rose who headed home from four yards out.
That proved to be the winner as Mansfield held firm and left Sincil Bank with three excellent points from a hard-fought affair.
Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans made three changes to his side from Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Wycombe Wanderers. Hayden White came in for Rhys Bennett at right back, winger Alfie Potter replaced midfielder Jacob Mellis whilst bustling midfielder Paul Digby replaced Joel Byrom in the heart of the midfield, who the manager revealed has suffered a foot strain and will be out for two-three weeks.
Meanwhile, Lincoln fielded the strike partnership of Matt Green and Matt Rhead, whilst Ollie Palmer was on the bench with the trio of former Stags looking to have an impact against their old club.
It was Green who got the match underway and the game sparked into life almost instantly. Winger Harry Anderson skipped clear on the right but his pull back could only pick out Mansfield defender David Mirfin and the danger was cleared.
Local derbies are always full of big talking points and the first of this game came with 12 minutes on the clock. Green beat Mansfield 'keeper Conrad Logan to a ball in the right channel, he played a pass across to attacker Billy Knott who took a touch but saw his shot blocked by an excellent diving attempt by Mirfin. Lincoln appealed for what they thought was handball but referee Rob Jones was having none of it.
Green was causing Mansfield problems with his running in the channels and from the right flank, he teed the ball up for Michael Bostwick 25 yards out but Lincoln's marquee summer signing from Peterborough United smashed his shot well over the bar.
Mansfield's first real sight on goal came from a dead ball opportunity after striker Lee Angol, who played on loan at Lincoln last season, was brought down thirty yards out. Winger Alex MacDonald stepped up but his low effort curled wide of the upright.
Lincoln continued to put the Stags' goal under pressure and when Green's cross was knocked down by Rhead, Mirfin had to throw his body on the line to deflect Billy Knott's effort out for a corner. From that resulting set play, defender Rob Dickie saw his header comfortably held by Logan.
Dickie's partner in central defence, Sean Raggett was next to try his luck but his free header was comfortable for Logan.
As Lincoln's pressure started to build near the end of the first half, Mirfin was continuing to do all he could to stop the home side and once again he threw his body on the line, this time to prevent Bostwick getting a shot on goal.
With the deadlock yet to be broken at the interval, both sides would have been aiming to gain the upper hand early in the second half. Angol looked to do just that for the Stags in the 47th minute but after driving into space 25 yards out, he skewed an effort wide of the goal.
Mansfield continued to probe and wide-man Alfie Potter put in a teasing cross from the right but it was just too high for centre-forward Kane Hemmings.
Both sets of supporters were in fine voice all afternoon, creating a terrific atmosphere and they turned the volume up even further in the second half in a bid to make the difference for their respective sides.
Stags' manager Steve Evans moved early to shuffle his pack, bringing on striker Danny Rose just before the hour with Kane Hemmings making way.
The former Bury man was involved almost instantly, being brought down by Bostwick at the expense of a free-kick. MacDonald delivered the ball in but Alfie Potter couldn't keep his volleyed effort down.
Rose then did exactly what he was brought on to do as he opened the scoring. A marauding run from defender Hayden White ended with a clipped cross from the byline which beat the dive of Paul Farman in the Lincoln goal and Rose was left with the easy task of heading into the net from close range to send the away fans into frenzy.
Lincoln were looking to restore parity and came close through a substitute of their own, Josh Ginnelly. His tricky footwork on the edge of the area gave him a yard of space and he fired a low shot which forced Logan into a terrific save down at his near post.
Two strong tackles by left-back Johnny Hunt near the dug outs led to fervent complaints from the Lincoln bench and supporters, however the full-back escaped without a caution.
Rose saw an effort blocked from inside the area before Billy Knott fired a wild shot over the bar from range for Lincoln, with both sides going in search of a goal.
With just under ten minutes to go, Lincoln nearly drew level. Right-back Sean Long delivered a dangerous, whipped ball from the right which central defender Krystian Pearce did well to clear with a Lincoln attacker lurking.
The pressure from the Imps continued and Logan was forced into a flying save to his right, parrying the ball away after a powerful effort by Knott.
Good inter-play between Angol and midfielder Calum Butcher nearly led to a second for Mansfield. The summer arrival from Peterborough United slipped Butcher through down the left but as the former Millwall man looked to pass across to Angol, Paul Farman dived on the ball to smother the opportunity.
Rose was proving to be a thorn in the side of Lincoln since his introduction and he nearly scored a stunning second but his long range strike flew narrowly over the bar after the home side had allowed him space.
In the end, Rose's effort proved to be the difference, extending Stags' unbeaten league run to five and leapfrogging Lincoln in the process, who were unbeaten in five themselves before this afternoon's game.
STAGS' XI: Logan, White, Hunt, Mirfin, Pearce, Digby, Potter, Butcher, Angol (Atkinson 90'), Hemmings (Rose 58'), MacDonald (Anderson 85')
SUBS NOT USED: Olejnik (GK), Diamond, Mellis, Sterling-James
LINCOLN XI: Farman, Habergham (Long 78'), Rhead (Ginnelly 60'), Green, Knott, Dickie, Bostwick, Eardley, Raggett, Anderson, Woodyard (Palmer 78')
SUBS NOT USED: Vickers (GK), Whitehouse, Waterfall, Maguire-Drew
ATTENDANCE: 9,463 (1,459 away)
REFEREE: Rob Jones