Mansfield Town fell to a 1-0 defeat away at Crawley Town this afternoon, following Bez Lubala's deflected effort in the second-half.
Conrad Logan denied Lubala from the spot just shy of the half-hour mark to ensure the first period remained goalless.
However, the Reds’ winger did eventually find the back of the net courtesy of a hefty deflection in the second half – a goal that marked all three points for the hosts.
Conor Shaughnessy came closest for the amber and blue, who would travel home empty handed after a display with several opportunities down south.
John Dempster named an unchanged starting line-up after earning his second victory as Mansfield boss last Saturday against Scunthorpe United.
The only switch featured amongst the substitutes as Will Tomlinson, missing out through illness, saw his spot deputised by Dapo Afolayan.
A sun-soaked pitch in Crawley almost had the Stags off to a lighting start when Jacob Mellis was able to feed Nicky Maynard, only for the striker to fire wide with power.
The hosts were then presented with an equally brilliant chance but were unable to convert themselves courtesy of Matt Preston’s superb block.
The game’s lively start continued as, back down the other end, Mellis’ free-kick struck the wall before his side were unable to conjure anything with the second ball.
Kellan Gordon was next to try his luck after surging forward and his effort yielded a corner that almost led to the breakthrough for the opposition.
A counter attack looked to be extinguished when CJ Hamilton collected possession; however, his backpass lacked sufficient weight leaving Logan to race towards the ball and clear before Lubala.
And the Mansfield ‘keeper produced even more heroics in the 25th minute when Reece Grego-Cox was deemed to have been fouled inside the area.
Logan denied Sky Bet League Two’s August Player of the Month, Lubala, from 12 yards with a fine, low save to his right-hand side.
Soon after, the visitors were left bewildered after being unable to take the lead.
Maynard spotted his strike partner Danny Rose in space on the far side, and while the initial pass was superb, a heavy touch allowed Glenn Morris to claim with relative ease.
A sharp cross via Gordon was then somehow left untouched as it travelled all the way through a crowd of bodies.
This came moments prior to Hamilton curling a fierce strike towards Morris’ goal who saved well.
Lubala again had little luck in finding a way past the palms of Logan as he thwarted the lively winger from close range.
Into the second period and Crawley were awarded a dangerous set-piece early in the half.
Ex-Stag Ollie Palmer rolled his effort underneath the amber and blue wall but was unable to muster enough power to trouble Logan.
And on 53 minutes the hosts broke the deadlock in fortuitous circumstances.
Lubala pulled the trigger from the edge of the area and a wicked deflection caused the ball to loop over Logan and into the far corner.
The Stags almost restored parity with less than two minutes elapsed thereafter – Gordon firing over from Alex MacDonald’s reverse pass.
Rose then struck towards goal but a deflection of his own ensured Morris was presented with an easy claim.
Mansfield had seemed to increase their intensity levels as they pressed for the all-important second goal.
Dempster’s men worked an arranged corner routine smartly to Shaughnessy who would have netted his first goal – as well as the equaliser – had it not been for Josh Doherty’s goal line clearance.
A short while later, Rose flicked a deft header onto substitute Afolayan who was flagged offside as he cleared the bar.
The Reds were offered a rare second-half sight at goal through Panutche Camara but he was unable to find the target with his effort.
Another Mansfield change, Omari Sterling-James, struck the wall from a set-piece before Mal Benning forced a smart save from Morris.
A late rally from the Stags proved to be in vain as they were unable to find a desired equaliser at the People’s Pension Stadium.
Mansfield will be hoping to put this disappointment behind them quickly as they host Cambridge United at One Call Stadium on Tuesday evening.
STAGS XI: Logan (GK), Preston, Pearce ©, MacDonald (Afolayan 70’), Mellis, Maynard (Sterling-James 73’), Shaughnessy, Sweeney (Benning 63’), Gordon, Hamilton, Rose.
UNUSED SUBS: Stone (GK) Bishop, Khan, Smith.
CRAWLEY XI: Morris (GK), Doherty, Grego-Cox, Palmer (Allarakhia 80’), Ferguson (Bloomfield 65’), Sesay (Young 69’), Tunnicliffe, Sendles-White, Bulman ©, Camara, Lubala.
UNUSED SUBS: Luyambula (GK), Francomb, Nathaniel-George, Galach.
REFEREE: Scott Oldham.
ASSISTANTS: Nicholas Cooper & Michael Webb
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Stephen Brown