Mansfield battled to a heroic 3-1 victory over Barrow in Cumbria, despite playing with ten men for the majority of the contest.
Rhys Oates cleverly flicked the Stags into an early lead inside the opening minute of the game from a corner. That was before James Jones equalised for the hosts on 17 minutes.
Mansfield demonstrated their technical excellence to again score from a corner as Stephen McLaughlin drilled Stags back ahead.
The visitors were reduced to ten men after defender Farrend Rawson received two yellow cards in four minutes just before time, inevitably igniting the spirits of the home side.
Mansfield remained tight and they were rewarded as Jordan Bowery’s magnificent header dramatically completed the victory on 68 minutes.
Manager Nigel Clough named an unchanged starting XI to the one that played for three and a half minutes against Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday night, a match that was abandoned after heavy fog after just four minutes.
Mansfield’s new signing Lucas Akins took up a place on the bench, at the expense of young striker James Gale.
The Stags began brightly as Rhys Oates drove towards goal straight from the kick-off, forcing Paul Farman into a strong near post save after eight seconds.
Ryan Stirk’s subsequent corner accurately found Farrend Rawson who flicked the ball on, across the face of goal. Oates demonstrated superb goal-scoring instincts to guide the ball into the right side of the goal, setting Mansfield off to the perfect start.
Full of confidence, Jordan Bowery cut inside from the right-wing to blast an ambitious effort over the crossbar on four minutes, as the Stags began to affirm their control of the game.
Soon after Barrow had a goal ruled out for offside, the hosts drew level from a left sided corner.
Gotts’s ball in was met by James Jones’ glancing header, which flew in off the inside of the post.
With Jones’ goal, momentum shifted, and Stags were forced to weather a period of pressure from the hosts.
Mansfield’s scorer Oates, fronted a resistance and stung the gloves of Farman on 24 minutes. Stephen Quinn’s 40-yard diagonal ball found the striker, who carried it and tried his luck from range to win a corner.
Quinn’s corner was nodded clear by the Barrow defence but only as far as Stephen McLaughlin, lurking on the edge of the box who drove the ball past Farman to regain Mansfield’s lead on 25 minutes.
The full-back almost doubled his tally in similar fashion moments later when George Maris’ corner was met by McLaughlin who half-volleyed the ball past the Barrow ‘keeper before an alert defender on the goal line cleared the danger.
Stags defender Rawson was booked on 35 minutes for the breaking down of a Barrow attack inside the Mansfield half. Rawson then received a second yellow card four minutes later for a heavy challenge on a Barrow man, leaving Mansfield with ten men.
Final third pressure from the hosts inevitably came, but the Stags defended well to protect their lead going into half-time.
Barrow continued on the front foot after the break but Mansfield retained a tight shape and they looked to attack the hosts at measured opportunities on the counter.
The home side tried to unscrew Mansfield’s tight defence on 58 minutes when Glennon’s cross settled nicely for Ollie Banks, but the defender’s volley fizzed wide.
Mansfield’s rock-solid defensive performance proved dividends as Bowery thumped the Stags into a two-goal lead on 68 minutes. McLaughlin’s deep free-kick perfectly located the number 9 inside the box who rifled a header into the top corner before wheeling away to celebrate with the 358 travelling Stags fans.
Barrow responded to Mansfield’s game-shaping goal by making a double substitution. Robbie Gotts and Luke James were replaced by Josh Kay and Jacob Wakeling.
Nigel Clough responded by making his own double switch which included debutant Lucas Akins, who replaced Oates.
Mansfield soon regained a grip on the game by taking up advanced positions inside Barrow’s half and working the ball well.
Despite seeing plenty of the ball in the closing stages, Barrow could only clip the top of the crossbar in the 91st minute as Mansfield saw out a heroic victory to equal a club record of seven consecutive league wins.
STAGS XI: Bishop, Hewitt, Rawson, Hawkins, McLaughlin, O’Toole, Stirk, Quinn (Charsley 78’), Maris (Lapslie 71’), Oates (Akins 78’), Bowery
UNUSED SUBS: Stech, Nartey, Law, Johnson
BARROW XI: Farman, Brough, Platt, White (Devitt 62’), Jones, Gotts (Kay 72’), Harris, Glennon, Hutton, Banks, James (Wakeling 72’)
UNUSED SUBS: Lillis, Brown, Stevens
REFEREE: Samuel Barrott
ATTENDANCE: 3,224 (358 away)