Mansfield Town completed a superb 3-2 victory over play-off rivals Swindon Town at One Call Stadium to claim a sixth straight home league win.
The Stags have now won eight out of the last nine Sky Bet League Two matches.
George Maris excellently opened the scoring for Mansfield in the 4th minute before the Robins hit back in the 28th minute through Harry McKirdy.
Rhys Oates’ lung-bursting run won Mansfield a penalty moments later which Stephen McLaughlin coolly converted to snatch back the Stags’ lead.
Jordan Bowery added a third for the hosts shortly before half-time with a delightfully executed lobbed finish.
Ellis Iandolo’s 89th minute goal sparked some late hope for the away side but the Stags courageously held out to claim the points.
Manager Nigel Clough named an unchanged team to the one that lost narrowly in the FA Cup third round against Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Goal scorers Oli Hawkins and Rhys Oates both held their places in the Stags’ team for the league fixture.
Mansfield attacked from the off and Stephen McLaughlin crafted their first opportunity by curling the ball first time in behind Swindon’s static three-man defence. Rhys Oates latched on to the ball and squared it into the path of Jordan Bowery.
The Stags’ number nine shielded the ball from his marker before laying it off to George Maris inside the box. And to give Mansfield the lead, Maris stroked the ball first time with his in-step, thumping it into the back of the net on four minutes.
The Stags protected their early advantage immediately after the restart by working the ball within their own half and taking care of possession.
Having worked their way up field, Mansfield soon forced a second opening. McLaughlin’s ball played in Quinn who laid it off to Maris and the midfielder’s first time effort drifted over the crossbar inside 13 minutes.
Swindon grappled their way back into the game by creating half-chances, one of which an in-swinging free-kick taken by Ellis Iandolo which Stags’ shot-stopper Nathan Bishop tipped acrobatically over the crossbar to prevent a Robins’ equalizer.
Harry McKirdy fronted the visitors’ next attack and whistled a long-range effort narrowly wide of the post on 27 mins. A minute later, Swindon’s star man fired his side level. McKirdy received the ball on the right side of the box, turned in towards goal and beat Bishop at his near post with a powerful effort.
Stags remained alert and soon found their way back in front. Louis Reed’s corner for Swindon was cleared from the Mansfield box and collected by Oates, who dribbled all the way into the opposition’s box from inside his own half. The only thing between Oates and the goal was Akin Odimayo’s outstretched leg, bringing the Stags striker to the floor for a penalty kick.
McLaughlin stepped up from 12-yards on the 32nd minute mark and displayed his experience by firing the ball into the bottom right corner, despite Swindon ‘keeper Lewis Ward diving the right way.
Mansfield could have doubled their lead soon after. Captain Ollie Clarke received the ball in the midfield and blasted a powered shot inches over the crossbar, catching the ‘keeper off guard on 36 minutes.
They soon did double their lead, however. A threaded ball into Jordan Bowery on 44 minutes was met beautifully by the centre forward and the former Aston Villa man delicately stroked the ball over the head of onrushing ‘keeper Ward for it to bounce perfectly into the back of the empty net.
The second half began quietly but Oates and Mansfield soon found a way to trouble the Swindon defence. Quinn’s flick on the 53rd minute played the striker in, whose shot flew beyond the crossbar from a good position inside the box.
Swindon reminded Mansfield of their presence moments later when they struck the outside of the crossbar from Reed’s whipped delivery.
Swindon began to see more of the ball and they threatened the Mansfield goal on 68 minutes. The lively McKirdy worked into the box to shoot but John-Joe O’Toole’s sliding block diverted the ball’s path clear of danger.
At the other end, McKirdy skipped in front of goal before blasting a wild shot into the away end.
Shortly after, a loose ball on the edge of Swindon box arrived at the feet of Ryan Stirk and with the opportunity to finish the contest entirely, the youngster’s whipped shot whistled narrowly over the ‘bar.
Swindon reignited the contest minutes later when Iandolo dribbled his way into the box before cutting onto his right and firing the ball low past Bishop on 89 minutes. Despite an attempt at late pressure from Swindon, Mansfield’s defence held firm in the dying moments to maintain Mansfield’s sensational run of form.
STAGS XI: Bishop, Hewitt, O’Toole, Hawkins, McLaughlin, Clarke (Charsley 77’), Stirk, Maris (Law 80’), Quinn, Oates (Nartey 90+3’), Bowery
UNUSED SUBS: Stech, Burke, Gale, Johnson
SWINDON XI: Ward, Odimayo, Iandolo, Conroy, Lyden (Mitchell-Lawson 76’), Simpson, McKirdy (Parsons 85’), O’Brien, Williams (Gladwin 70’), Hunt, Reed
UNUSED SUBS: Idem, Crichlow, East, Parsons, Grant
REFEREE: Tom Reeves
ATTENDANCE: 4,129 (252 away)