MATT Green’s 15th goal of the season gave Mansfield Town the interval advantage in today’s festive visit of promotion-chasing York City at Field Mill.
He pounced on a poor 10th minute backpass as the Stags edged a feisty first half in which York were shown three yellow cards and Mansfield one.
Stags dominated the first half hour with Alan Marriott having little to do.
But City began to look increasingly dangerous on the beak as we neared half-time.
With Ritchie Sutton suspended and John Thompson suffering with a neck/shoulder problem, Martin Riley returned to the centre of defence as one of two changes for the home side.
Louis Briscoe dropped back down to the bench with Aman Verma coming back into the midfield of a 4-3-3 line-up.
York included ex-Stag Chris Smith as a holding midfielder in their 5-3-2 formation with another former Stags man, Jon Challinor, on the bench.
Before the game a minute’ silence was held for Stags fans Emma Stamp and Carol Bowskill, who passed away this week.
Mansfield began the afternoon in menacing fashion, pressing York well down the right and winning a corner.
That early momentum was halted when Oyebanjo went through Murray near the halfway line and was shown a yellow card while the midfielder underwent lengthy treatment.
But, once play restarted, York festively gifted Stags a 10th minute lead.
McGurk’s backpass was short and allowed Green to race onto the ball, cut inside helpless keeper Ingham and slotted home, also getting a knock in the process that required treatment.
O’Neill was a third Stag in the wars early on. Once he had recovered from his knock he sent in a free kick which Dyer eventually sent just wide, low on the turn.
Riley was booked on 22 minutes, but Stags quickly turned defence into attack as O’Neill’s searching pass down the left put Meikle on the run.
He fed Green inside but neither he nor Dyer were able to get a clean goal attempt away and Verma eventually chipped the ball into the keeper’s arms.
Marriott finally found himself in action on 24 minutes as McLaughlin’s ball down the centre gave Blair a sniff of a chance, the City striker firing low and straight at the keeper.
A feisty clash then saw Kerr and Murray lectured by the referee.
Still the tackles flew in and, when Smith went in very late to take Freeman’s standing leg as the youngster cleared up the line, out came the yellow card again.
Meikle’s rising shot from 20 yards was always over the far angle as the Stags tried to get back to the football.
York almost sneaked themselves level on 38 minutes as Kerr’s tempting ball curled across the face of goal saw Meikle do just enough at the far post to stop Oyebanjo turning it home.
McGurk’s challenge on Dyer four minutes from the break saw yellow card number three for the visitors.
Blair went on a powerful run that needed a great well-timed tackle from O’Neill to stop him going clear.
But Stags went in a goal to the good as the end of a tough, tight first 45 minutes.
STAGS: Marriott; O’Neill, Dempster, Riley, Freeman; Verma, Howell, Murray; Dyer, Green, Meikle. Subs: Redmond, Briscoe, Stevenson, Day, Kelly.
YORK: Ingham; Oyebanjo, McGurk, Parslow, Fyfield, Meredith; Smith, Kerr, McLaughlin; Henderson, Blair. Subs: Reed, Chambers, Potts, Boucaud, Challinor.
REFEREE: Jeremy Simpson of Lancs.