James Vaughan’s brace from the penalty spot separated the sides as Mansfield Town suffered a 2-0 defeat against Bradford City on Sunday afternoon.
After promising beginnings in the Stags’ latest venture, the striker notched his first of the afternoon when Alex MacDonald brought down Matt Palmer.
And while the visitors spent the remainder of the afternoon hoping to restore parity, their endeavours were not enough as Vaughan fired home his second with less than 10 minutes to go.
Graham Coughlan made two alterations for his side’s trip to west Yorkshire beginning with Conrad Logan returning in place of Bobby Olejnik.
Otis Khan was also handed a starting place ahead of Neal Bishop, who dropped to the bench.
Mansfield had made an enterprising start at the Utilita Energy Stadium and forced the first save of the afternoon through a pre-planned routine.
Mal Benning’s throw allowed Khan to lay into the path of MacDonald, whose effort was grasped at the second attempt by Richard O’Donnell.
The visitors continued their assault on the Bradford goal and watched a handful of opportunities pass them by in agonising fashion.
Andy Cook was unable to retrieve possession from underneath his feet on a difficult surface, before Danny Rose had possession pinched as he looked primed to net.
The hard work, however, was undone with the hosts’ first attack.
MacDonald was adjudged to have bundled into the back of Matt Palmer inside the area – leaving skipper Vaughan to dispatch the spot-kick with his right boot in the 13th minute.
The hosts then chipped one into Ben Richards-Everton but the centre-half, who had traversed forward for the free-kick, was caught pulling on Matt Preston’s shirt on the process.
Soon after, Benning was afforded space inside the Bantams' 18-yard box, yet his cross was hooked clear with several players queuing up to stroke home.
Ryan Sweeney had suffered a knock earlier in the contest, and despite his best efforts to continue, he was replaced by Krystian Pearce on 38 minutes.
Coughlan’s men then produced a sublime passage of link-up play, which unfortunately ended with Adam Henley nipping ahead of Cook before the striker could pull the trigger.
Another half-chance came the Stags’ way just minutes prior to the interval. Rose leaped highest in the middle but flicked a difficult header wide of the mark.
It proved to be last notable action of a first half that left the Stags facing a one-goal deficit.
Into the second period and the visiting side should have been level inside one minute.
MacDonald – looking to atone for his earlier wrongdoing – sent a beautiful curler into the path of Cook who nodded over from close range.
Similarly to the first, Mansfield began the half with energy and pressed the Bantams to the edge of the area.
Rose had two strikes in quick succession before it fell to Khan who forced a corner via a deflection. The subsequent delivery from powered back across goal by Preston but there proved to be nobody on hand to pounce.
Gary Bowyer’s men traversed forward through Dylan Connolly as spaces began to appear but the lively playmaker was booked for diving instead of seeking a teammate.
Then, possession broke kindly to Cook whose attempt from distance looped upwards against the leg of Anthony O’Connor and safely into the palms of O’Donnell.
And in the 83rd minute, the hosts rubber-stamped the victory with yet another goal from the spot.
Connolly had skipped beyond Preston, who was then penalised for bringing the No. 19 down, leaving Vaughan to bag his second from 12 yards.
Mansfield are back on the road on New Year’s Day when they take on Cambridge United in Sky Bet League Two.
STAGS XI: Logan (GK), Benning, Preston, MacDonald, Khan (Mellis 61’), Tomlinson, Sweeney © (Pearce 38’), Cook, Clarke, Hamilton, Rose (Maynard 72’).
UNUSED SUBS: Olejnik (GK), Bishop, Davies, Knowles.
BRADFORD XI: O’Donnell (GK), O’Connor, Richards-Everton, O’Connor, Reeves (Cooke 74’), Vaughan © (Oteh 87’), McCartan (Taylor 66’), Palmer, Connolly, Henley, Wood.
UNUSED SUBS: Sykes-Kenworthy (GK), Ismail, Gibson, Anderson.
REFEREE: Ross Joyce
ASSISTANTS: Stephen Wade & Alix Pashley
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Peter Gooch
ATTENDANCE: 15,197 (1,141 away)