Mansfield Town’s record-breaking run of 11 consecutive home league wins came to an end as the Stags lost 3-2 to Sutton United at One Call Stadium.
Sutton took a one-goal lead into half-time after Omar Bugiel opened the scoring on nine minutes before David Ajiboye doubled their lead four minutes after the break.
Sutton defender Ben Goodliffe steered a header into his own goal to enable Mansfield back into the contest. That was before Richard Bennett added Sutton’s third on 80 minutes.
Mansfield’s efforts never faded and Matty Longstaff claimed Stags’ second goal of the game in the 97th minute, though it proved to only be a consolation.
The Stags, however, remain inside the Sky Bet League Two play-off places with five games remaining.
Manager Nigel Clough made one change to the side that dominantly defeated Scunthorpe United 4-0 last weekend.
Full-back Stephen McLaughlin missed the fixture with injury, whilst Oli Hawkins returned to face Sutton from the outset.
The opening stages were closely contested, however, it was the visitors who took the lead on nine minutes after Omar Bugiel intercepted the ball following Farrend Rawson’s mis-cued back pass from outside the box. And the Sutton man, one-on-one with Nathan Bishop, rounded the ‘keeper to slot the ball over the line.
The Stags increased their tempo following the restart and came agonisingly close to an equaliser on 20 minutes. Stephen Quinn drifted inside from the left to play Lucas Akins in the Sutton box. The Stags’ striker backed into his opponent before flashing a dangerous ball across the face of goal, which was turned narrowly wide by Hawkins sliding in at the back post.
Mansfield continued to push for a leveller and Matty Longstaff’s in-swinging corner picked out Hawkins ten minutes later. However, his header into the ground bounced wide of the top right corner.
Following a tense end to the half, Sutton held their slender lead at the break.
The visitors doubled their lead four minutes after the restart. Left-winger Enzio Boldewijn crossed the ball to David Ajiboye, who headed it over the line from inside the six-yard box.
The Stags came close to halving the deficit on the hour mark when Quinn’s free-kick picked out John-Joe O’Toole inside the box but the defender’s header looped onto the roof of the net.
Striker Danny Johnson was introduced for Quinn on 67 minutes and looked to make an immediate impact. After Hewitt’s long-throw into the Sutton box was flicked on, Johnson almost turned the ball over the line with his first touch from close range.
A minute later, Stags were in again. A loose ball inside the Sutton box fell to the feet of Akins, who did well to drift free of his marker before his close-range shot on the turn was blocked on the goal line.
Stags pushed forward again when a drilled pass into Akins inside the box was chested down by the striker into the path of Johnson, but his volley was denied by ‘keeper Dean Bouzanis on 76 minutes.
Stags pulled a goal back on 78 minutes. A long ball into the box was guided over the ‘keeper’s head and into the back of the net by Sutton defender Ben Goodliffe.
Two minutes later, Sutton restored their two-goal lead. A lifted ball over the Stags’ defence played substitute Richard Bennett down the left wing who gathered the ball to drive at Mansfield’s goal and slot it past Bishop from inside the box.
Stags got a goal back in the 97th minute when Matty Longstaff’s drilled shot from outside the box impressively found its way into the bottom right corner of Bouzanis’ goal to gift Mansfield a consolation.
Nigel Clough’s men remain inside the Sky Bet League Two play-off places ahead of a trip to Carlisle United on Easter Monday.
STAGS XI: Bishop, Hewitt, O‘Toole, Rawson, Perch (Wallace 85’), Stirk (Maris 74’), Quinn (Johnson 67’), Longstaff, Bowery, Hawkins, Akins
UNUSED SUBS: Stech, Law, Murphy
SUTTON TOWN XI: Bouzanis, Goodliffe. John, Ajiboye, Bugiel (Bennett 68’), Beautyman (Korboa 90+2’), Eastmond, Olaofe (Wilson 76’), Boldewijn, Kizzi, Milsom
UNUSED SUBS: House, Wyatt, Rowe, Davis
REFEREE: Neil Hair
ATTENDANCE: 6,134 (173 away supporters)