Neal Bishop scored the only goal of a pulsating fixture as Mansfield Town emerged from the Globe Arena as 1-0 victors against Morecambe.
On his return to the starting line-up following suspension, the Mansfield midfielder expertly struck a half-volley on 36 minutes into the back of the net.
There were an abundance of chances for the away side to extend their lead throughout the 90 minutes, but ultimately Bishop’s solitary goal was enough to see Mansfield over the finish line.
There were only two changes to the evening’s starting line-up that would face Morecambe at the Globe Arena.
David Flitcroft welcomed back Neal Bishop in place of Will Atkinson, after the left wing-back was shown red at Swindon on Saturday, while Timi Elsnik was replaced by Tyler Walker.
CJ Hamilton began to cause problems on the right wing in only the second minute of the contest. Making a yard for himself, the flying winger was able to dig out a cross that took a wicked deflection and was palmed away by Barry Roche in the Morecambe goal.
The Shrimps sought to catch out the Stags on numerous occasions in the early stages but every time Bobby Olejnik was off his line quickly to reclaim possession.
Olejnik was then called into action again when A-Jay Leitch-Smith arrowed an effort towards goal that was deflected – allowing the Stags’ goalkeeper to pluck the ball out of the air.
Roche then found himself counting his lucky stars on 12 minutes. Otis Khan found Mal Benning with a neat ball over the top, and the left wing-back struck the inside of the far post from what was evidently an attempted cross on the side of the 18-yard-box.
The ball dropped to Kevin Ellison in the middle of the park moments later as he fed Vadaine Oliver who was unable to deliver with any real danger. But Morecambe came back once more when first Ryan Sweeney and then Olejnik had to send two crosses over the bar.
Then, in the 21st minute, the home side edged ever closer to the game’s opener. This time it was Zak Mills who had the opportunity to deliver, but his low cross somehow evaded everybody waiting and emerged out the other side for a throw-in.
Jacob Mellis had a chance to break after he intercepted a loose ball – however, the midfielder’s through ball towards Tyler Walker was slightly overhit.
This came moments before Leitch-Smith drilled a shot towards Olejnik’s goal, which the shot-stopper got down well to keep his side on level terms.
Flitcroft’s side found themselves under immense pressure at the Globe Arena when Khan was adjudged to have given away a foul on the edge of the area. Liam Mandeville curled the subsequent shot towards goal but it was hit with too much power as it sailed over.
The away side could have so easily taken the lead on the half-hour mark, though, when a succession of around 15 passes took the Stags from defence to attack. Walker ended the move with a delicate delivery via the outside of his boot, but it was well defended by Sam Lavelle.
Jordan Cranston took aim from an ambitious 35 yards following a clearance and almost had Olejnik scrambling, had it not been for a deflection off his own teammate.
A minute later, it was the Stags who found the breakthrough – courtesy of Bishop. Returning to the starting line-up, the midfielder latched onto a corner than bounced over several heads before striking the ball with his laces into the bottom left-hand corner.
Khan had a chance to double his side’s lead just four minutes before the interval. He lined up to finesse an effort into the back of the net, but unfortunately for the midfielder, it fell straight into the arms of Roche.
Danny Rose then fired over the crossbar from seven yards in what probably was the best chance of the evening thus far.
The Mansfield defence looked to have allowed Mandeville a yard too much space when the midfielder curled the ball towards the far corner. Luckily for everyone in yellow and blue it rose above the crossbar.
This virtually signalled the last action of the first period where Flitcroft’s men found themselves a goal to the good ahead of a big second-half.
The second 45 began in similar fashion to the first as both sides set a high tempo.
Benning and then Oliver both had efforts that fell off target before Cranston fired a free-kick straight into a yellow wall on the fringe of Olejnik’s area.
Morecambe and Mansfield battled for the ball with purpose; when one side attacked the other then responded with an attack of their own. Bishop arrowed an effort wide of Roche’s goal before Leitch-Smith curled his respective effort wide, too.
Ellison reached around the Stags’ back-line with an excellent through-ball that almost made its way across to Oliver, however, Sweeney was on hand to nod the ball back to Olejnik – denying almost a certain goal in the process.
A trio of Bishop, Hamilton and Walker were involved in a slick motion of passing on 67 minutes that ended with the latter forcing a routine save from Roche.
Mansfield had a firm grasp on the affair heading into the final 15 minutes. Bishop drove forward, slipping in Walker who in return found Rose, but the striker only met the mid-rift of the Morecambe ‘keeper.
Flitcroft introduced Calum Butcher and Elsnik to the fray in place of Khan and Elsnik in order to make sure of the three points.
Not for the first time on Tuesday evening, Rose lined up an attempt at Roche’s goal that almost caught out the wrong-footed ‘keeper. It looked to be heading in had it not been for the quick reactions to prevent it from doing so.
Hamilton then powered down the right-flank on 86 minutes and had his cross deflected behind the by-line for a corner. Substitute Elsnik delivered low but the ball was immediately hooked away at the near post.
Fourth official Duncan Street signalled a total of six minutes added time, within which the Stags produced excellent game management skills in order to secure all three points.
Mansfield Town are back in action this Saturday as they welcome MK Dons to One Call Stadium.
STAGS XI: Olejnik (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop, Mellis (Elsnik 80’), Khan (Butcher 83’), Sweeney, Walker (Graham 90+5’), Hamilton, Rose.
SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), Sterling-James, Law, Gibbens.
MORECAMBE XI: Roche (GK), Mills, Conlan, Oliver, Ellison (Piggott 80’), Yarney, Lavelle, Mandeville, Hedley (Oates 65’), Cranston, Leitch-Smith.
SUBS NOT USED: Halstead (GK), Thompson, Oswell, Mendes-Gomes, Brownsword.
REFEREE: Robert Lewis.
ASSISTANTS: Richard Bartlett & David Benton.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Duncan Street.
ATTENDANCE: 1,355 (144 away).