Mansfield Town's penalty hoodoo disappeared as they converted two spot kicks during a comfortable 4-1 win against Grimsby Town at One Call Stadium this afternoon.
In a game which contained three penalties – two for the hosts and one for the Mariners – Stags were deserved winners. The deadlock came midway through the first half when Grimsby's Zak Mills tripped defender David Mirfin in the area and striker Lee Angol converted the resulting spot-kick, silencing the strong away support.
Defender Krystian Pearce doubled the Stags' advantage shortly after the restart, flicking the ball past James McKeown to give Stags a more secure lead.
It was the skipper again who was in amongst the action in the third goal as Grimsby goalkeeper James McKeown produced a wonderful reaction save from right-back Rhys Bennett, only for Pearce to blast the ball home via a strong deflection from Karleigh Osbourne.
Further ill discipline from the visitors resulted in another penalty for the Stags and Angol once again made no mistake, despite McKeown getting a strong hand to his effort.
A third penalty call, this time against the hosts, saw Sam Jones score a mere consolation goal for the Mariners who gave their away support something to cheer on what proved to be a miserable afternoon for the visitors.
Boss Steve Evans made three changes to the side that drew away to Carlisle United last weekend with winger Alex MacDonald, left-back Johnny Hunt and midfielder Calum Butcher coming into the starting XI in place of Paul Anderson, Mal Benning and Will Atkinson, respectively.
Stags almost got off to the best possible start in the opening seconds when Lee Angol darted in the area but he saw his effort pushed wide by James McKeown.
Grimsby skipper Nathan Clarke and frontman JJ Hooper combined for the visitors and the ball whipped across to the near post, but Hooper was unable to find the target.
Alex MacDonald's brilliantly weighted pass then gave striker Kane Hemmings the perfect opportunity to break the deadlock, but he fired straight at the onrushing McKeown before Grimsby were able to clear.
In what proved to be a feisty first 45 minutes, Calum Butcher entered the referee's book after a poor challenge from behind on Mariners' midfielder James Berrett while stopping a Grimsby counter-attack.
As the game struggled to really get going, goalkeeper Conrad Logan was nearly left red-faced after Karleigh Osbourne pumped the ball forward from 40 yards out for the visitors and the effort narrowly avoided looping over the Stags' shot stopper, as the former Rochdale man tipped it behind for a corner.
Midfielder Jacob Mellis' sloppy pass in the centre of the pitch was picked up on by Siriki Dembele but after a mazy run, he couldn't find a way past the solid Stags' defence and his shot was blocked by the impressive Pearce.
Grimsby continued to press as Zak Mills blasted over from close range shortly before the half -hour mark. But it was the hosts who struck first, the opener coming courtesy of the penalty spot.
Mills clumsily tripped David Mirfin in the area and referee Paul Tierney had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Mirfin had made a good run on the left wing before being stopped in his path by Mills' trailing leg.
Lee Angol took what was the Stags' fourth spot kick of the season – the previous three being missed by different takers – and the former Peterborough United man made no mistake as he whipped the ball home from 12 yards, giving McKeown no chance.
As the visitors looked to find a way back into the game, Martyn Woolford was presented with a chance in the penalty area but his strong strike was easily saved by Logan after a scramble on the goalline.
Stags kept the pressure on and looked for their second goal, but Mellis was unable to make sufficient contact with Butcher's cross as he sliced horribly wide.
In the last action of the first half, an in-swinging free-kick almost caught out McKeown before the visitors cleared their lines.
Straight after the re-start Grimsby almost caught the hosts napping after Dembele was tripped on the edge of the area. The quickly taken free-kick was played to Berrett, but he was unable to keep his effort, the visitors' best of the second half, down from just ten yards out.
Kane Hemmings then had a fantastic chance to double the hosts' advantage after he beat the offside trap, but he was just beaten to the ball by the Grimsby 'keeper who swiftly cleared.
The resulting counter-attack saw Dembele glide into the Stags' area unchallenged and with plenty of space, the Stags defence were relieved as the shot was sliced well wide.
Stags then doubled their lead in the 54th minute when captain Krystian Pearce volleyed home Joel Byrom's corner from around six yards out.
Stags had their tails up and winger Alex MacDonald found the ball at his feet in the area but opting for power rather than placement, saw his shot fizzle past the wrong side of the post.
The Mariners had few opportunities as Stags limited the visitors to possession in midfielder, and Scott Vernon's half chance was wasted.
The afternoon got even better for the hosts – and for captain Krystian Pearce – as Stags went 3-0 ahead from another corner.
McKeown had pulled off a sublime reaction save to deny Rhys Bennett, but Pearce pounced first to strike the ball across goal, deflecting in off Karleigh Osbourne.
Mansfield were then in cruise control and a class above the visitors and found themselves with a four goal cushion on the 80 minute mark.
Referee Paul Tierney awarded another spot-kick when Lee Angol danced into the penalty area and was upended after gliding past a Grimsby defender.
Angol stepped up and slammed the ball home for his second of the game, despite McKeown getting a strong hand to it.
Grimsby went up the other end and had a penalty shout of their own, and Tierney was once again pointing to the spot.
Substitute Diallang Jaiyesimi cut in from the left and was brought down by Rhys Bennett. Striker Sam Jones took control of the situation and rolled it under an unlucky Conrad Logan, who guessed the right way but dived over the ball.
Osbourne was then booked for a late challenge on Angol late in the game.
Just before entering the four minutes of stoppage time, Grimsby almost had another goal for their efforts but former Stag Mitch Rose saw his powerful 25-yard strike superbly tipped over the bar by an alert Logan.
Rose saw another chance go begging with the last chance of the game but his effort was over the crossbar yet again – this time by a much bigger margin as Stags held onto their three goal lead in an excellent victory at One Call Stadium.
STAGS' XI: Logan, Bennett, Pearce ©, Mirfin, Hunt, MacDonald (Anderson 71), Byrom, Mellis (Potter 87), Butcher (Atkinson 82), Hemmings, Angol
SUBS NOT USED: Olejnik (GK), Diamond, Rose, Spencer
GRIMSBY XI: McKeown, Mills (Davies 61), Clarke, Osbourne, Dixon, Rose, Berrett, Woolford, Dembele (Jaiyesimi 74), Hooper (Jones 58), Vernon
SUBS NOT USED: Killip, Matt, Collins, Summerfield
ATTENDANCE: 4,625 (1,252 away)
REFEREE: Paul Tierney