Mansfield Town fell to a disappointing defeat away at Barrow AFC on Saturday afternoon.
The first-half had little to offer as neither side managed to register a shot on target although the Stags did control most of the opening exchanges.
The difficulties started after Ryan Sweeney picked up two yellow cards in 18 second-half minutes for two fouls.
The hosts took the lead through Patrick Brough in the 74th minute. The marauding left-back put pressure on Kellan Gordon, forcing an error, and slotted home confidently.
Brough doubled the Bluebirds' lead just three minutes later, slotting home from a low cross to put the game beyond the amber and blue.
Stags’ manager Nigel Clough made one change to the starting 11 who lost narrowly in Bradford on Tuesday night, bringing in Harry Charsley to replace the injured George Maris. Clough also named 20-year-old Keaton Ward on the bench following his signing on Friday.
The hosts started the brighter of the two sides, their first chance coming after Gordon’s under-hit pass was intercepted by Jamie Devitt, but he could only put his ambitious effort wide.
The Stags' first significant chance came in the 12th minute when Mal Benning received the ball from Jordan Bowery and drilled a hard, low cross through the six-yard box but no one in amber and blue was there to touch home.
On the 25-minute mark, Ollie Clarke picked up a yellow card for an apparent foul on Chris Taylor as both players swung a leg towards the ball 20 yards from the Barrow goal.
The Bluebirds went close again just after the half-hour mark but both goalkeepers remained untested; Scott Quigley connected with Devitt’s free-kick but could only stab his shot over the bar from six yards.
It was then the Stags' turn to go close as Clarke climbed highest but couldn’t direct his header on target under pressure.
With five first-half minutes left, Mansfield had their best chance of the game so far; Bowery spun an inch-perfect through ball into the path of Jamie Reid whose heavy touch caused Dixon some difficulty before Tom Davies smashed the ball away in a clumsy but effective fashion.
Into the second-half and Ryan Sweeney joined his captain in the referee’s book for tripping a Barrow man.
The first test for either goalkeeper came in the 54th minute; Charsley fired a powerful effort at goal from 30 yards and Dixon raised a firm palm to ensure the shot went over the bar.
Things got a lot more difficult for the Stags when Sweeney picked up his second yellow card in 18 minutes after dragging down Quigley as the last man, leaving the referee Carl Boyeson with little choice.
The numerical advantage the hosts possessed was almost immediately put to use when Quigley put the ball in the net from the free-kick, only to be flagged offside by the linesman.
The hosts continued to press and should’ve taken the lead when Jason Taylor received the ball with plenty of time in the Mansfield penalty area, but he couldn’t keep his composure and slotted well wide of the post.
The Stags had their second good chance of the half when Gordon cut inside from the right and unleashed a well-placed shot at the far corner, but it was deflected wide.
Immediately after, Gordon made a poorly timed challenge and received a yellow card. The ball was sent long from the free-kick, and from Gordon's under-hit backpass, Brough nipped in to coolly slot through the legs of substitute Marek Stech in the 74th minute.
Things went from bad to worse for Mansfield as Brough struck again just three minutes later. A low cross from the right-hand side came straight across the face of goal and Brough slotted home with ease again.
In the last action of the game, Stech managed to deny Quigley twice. First, Quigley fired a powerful and low left-footed shot from a central position which Stech saved smartly, and then he managed to do enough to put the striker’s shot from a narrow-angle wide of the far post.
The Stags now look ahead to Tuesday night when they welcome Cheltenham Town to One Call Stadium.
STAGS XI: Stone (GK) (Stech (GK) 67’), Gordon (Wright 78’), Rawson, Sweeney, Benning, Charsley (Perch 64’), O. Clarke (C), Quinn (Ward 78’), Law, Reid, Bowery (Sinclair 78’).
UNUSED SUBS: O’Keeffe, J Clarke.
BARROW XI: Dixon (GK), Brough, J. Taylor (C), Quigley, Kay (James 84’), Jones, Davis, Ntlhe, Barry, C. Taylor (Beadling 52’), Devitt.
UNUSED SUBS: Lillis (GK), Eardley, Thomas, Banks.
REFEREE: Carl Boyeson
OFFICIALS: Paul Newhouse and Billy Smallwood
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Lewis Smith