Mansfield Town secured an emphatic 4-0 victory over Northampton Town as Danny Rose starred with a second-half brace.
On his first league start for the Stags, Elsnik broke the deadlock with a fine run and finish only five minutes into the game. It became slightly quiet as the first-half petered out, before exploding back into life in the second 45.
Rose netted two goals either side of a clever finish by Hamilton to get back to winning ways in sublime fashion.
Manager David Flitcroft made just a solitary change for the fixture against Northampton Town as Alex MacDonald was ruled out with a knee injury. Elsnik was chosen as his replacement whilst the rest of the starting XI remained intact.
It was a positive start for Mansfield under the sun as CJ Hamilton found Danny Rose in the middle. The striker leapt highest but couldn’t direct his header goalwards.
Northampton were then awarded a corner on five minutes, which the Stags were able to profit from in superb fashion.
Elsnik picked up the ball just outside the 18-yard box and ran the length of the pitch before firing home with aplomb into the bottom left-hand corner.
It seemed for all the world as though the Slovenian would cross but the midfielder went alone to net his first goal in a yellow and blue jersey.
The home side continued to dominate possession but somewhat lacked that final ball.
Rose then challenged for another hanging ball – this time in the middle of the park – before being taken out by Leon Barnett, who received a yellow card for his troubles.
The subsequent free-kick saw Tyler Walker get his head to a Krystian Pearce flick-on but it fell safely into the arms of ‘keeper David Cornell.
Northampton launched a counter-attack through Sam Foley and the midfielder almost met Sam Hoskins’ cut-back from the right, had it not been for a vital touch by the Stags’ skipper, Pearce.
A minute later, the visitors had another chance via Kevin van Veen. The Dutchman had a pocket of space 20 yards from goal, but Bobby Olejnik was equal to the effort.
Rose won yet another header on the half-hour mark following Bishop’s looping cross – but no Stags player was there to connect with the knock-down in a crowded penalty area.
Kevin van Veen was next to find himself in the referee’s notebook following a bad challenge on Ryan Sweeney in the 35th minute.
Elsnik then tried to double both his own and his side’s tally for the afternoon with a strike from the edge of the area that was well blocked.
Flitcroft’s men pressed for a two-goal cushion as the first-half came to a close but were unable to do so. Several corners were well cleared by the visiting side before they had a chance themselves to equalise.
Olejnik made a fine save, getting down low to deny a rasping strike from the left-hand side just moments before the half-time whistle.
In the second minute of added time, ‘keeper Cornell denied both Elsnik and Matt Preston in style ensuring the Cobblers would only find themselves a goal down at the interval.
Otis Khan tried to double his side’s advantage moments after the restart when he flashed a curling effort marginally wide in the 46th minute.
Then, two minutes later, the attacking midfielder tried his luck once more from a free-kick. His bending effort had to be tipped over acrobatically by Cornell.
Walker then found himself one-on-one against Cornell, the busier of the two goalkeepers, but the on-loan striker fired it against the legs of Northampton’s shot stopper.
The home side piled on the pressure via Mal Benning who set Elsnik up to cross. A low, whipped delivery was met by Walker but he didn’t get enough contact as he watched it roll wide.
It seemed only a matter of time before Flitcroft’s side would convert a subsequent chance – and it duly arrived in the 57th minute.
Rose pressed Barnett who struck his attempted clearance against the striker’s shins. It then fell to Cornell who suffered the same fate allowing him to roll the ball home from a tight angle.
Pearce’s loose header fell to half-time substitute, Andy Williams, but the following cross was plucked out of the air by Olejnik.
In audacious fashion, Rose spotted Cornell off his line before attempting to lob the Cobblers’ goalkeeper from just inside the opposition half; however, he was alert to the attempt, shuffling back to catch the ball.
Rose was involved yet again on 70 minutes when he found himself on the end of what was originally meant to be a clearance from Sweeney. He brought it down but fired against the legs of the ‘keeper.
Entering the final 15 minutes and the Stags were in full control of proceedings, thus far.
Hamilton fed the ball into Rose but the striker couldn’t keep his half-volley down as it floated over the crossbar.
Bishop then had a header at the front post well-saved via corner-kick from Khan.
And it soon became three for the Stags when Hamilton profited from some fine work by substitute, Will Atkinson.
In the 82nd minute, the flying winger was slipped in down the right-flank before he gave Cornell the eyes to squeeze the ball just inside the near post.
Hamilton then turned provider for Rose as the latter netted his second goal of the afternoon. The striker converted a low cross from the right-hand side, completing a second-half rout at One Call Stadium.
Benning tried his luck with a free-kick in the dying embers of the match, but it was well held by Cornell.
It was a fine footballing display from the Stags, as they will undoubtedly go into Tuesday’s clash with Oldham Athletic high on confidence.
STAGS XI: Olejnik (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop, Khan (Davies 88’), Sweeney, Walker (Atkinson 74’), Elsnik (Butcher 90’), Hamilton, Rose.
SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), Sterling-James, Gibbens, Graham.
NORTHAMPTON TOWN XI: Cornell (GK), Buchanan, Odoffin, Barnett, Taylor ©, Hoskins, Foley, Van Veen (Williams 46’), Bowditch (Bridge 67’), Walters, O’Toole.
SUBS NOT USED: Ward (GK), Facey, Pierre, Turnbull, Pollock.
REFEREE: Trevor Kettle.
ASSISTANTS: Alix Pashley & Stephen Wade.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Thomas Harty.
ATTENDANCE: 4’550 (485 away).