Mansfield 0-1 Chesterfield: Gary McSheffrey’s 72nd minute goal saw arch-rivals Chesterfield gain revenge for their home league derby defeat 10 days earlier as the visitors knocked Stags out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at One Call Stadium.
It was a scrappy and fortunate goal, McSheffrey gifted an empty net to find from 12 yards after a collision between home keeper Alan Marriott and Ritchie Sutton which then saw the game held up for 12 minutes while Sutton was treated and stretchered off.
Mansfield had the better of the first half chances and had only themselves to blame when Lee Stevenson and Junior Daniel both failed to beat Tommy Lee when through one-on-one either side of the break.
But the visitors were much improved after the interval and Chris Porter twice spurned good openings before the messy winner.
At least manager Paul Cox got a gutsy response from his side after Saturday’s home setback against Hartlepool to set them up for this Saturday’s League Two visit of Bristol Rovers.
He made several changes to his side, out went James Jennings, Ben Hutchinson, Ryan Tafazolli and Anthony Howell to be replaced by Junior Daniel, Lee Stevenson, Martin Riley, back from a three-game ban, and debut-making midfielder Keiran Murtagh.
Stevenson ran straight at the visitors from the kick-off and managed to get into the box and drill in a low ball that Cooper hacked clear right in front of goal.
On five minutes Stevenson chased a McGuire ball over the top and did well to get there and send a dipping shot over the bar as Cooper came in with a tackle that left Stevenson requiring treatment.
Stevenson should have scored on eight minutes when sent clear from a Clucas through ball. He had all the time in the world but allowed Lee to make a block on his low finish.
The visitors’ first threat of the night two minutes later saw Devitt head a long cross from the left back into the six yard box where Porter spun well to fire straight at Marriott.
There were no arguments over a yellow card for Hird on 13 minutes as he took both Daniel’s legs very late as he tried to burst into the box. Clucas clipped the free kick into the box only to see Dempster head wide.
O’Shea cheekily tried to lift the ball over Marriott from over 30 yards on 19 minutes with the keeper well off his line but was wide of the mark.
Both the impressive Murtagh and Daniel over-played what might have been deadly through balls as Stags looked for the opening they deserved.
McSheffrey was caught by McGuire on 26 minutes as he sent O’Shea forward. His shot flew over and the referee then went back to book McGuire for his earlier misdemeanor.
On 35 minutes Stevenson and Clucas worked the ball into the box and set up a chance for Andrew who saw Edwards bravely throw himself in the way of the finish four yards from goal.
Three minutes later Daniel headed on a Marriott kick and Andrew smashed a low shot narrowly wide of the near post.
Devitt was late on Sutton on 40 minutes to earn the third yellow card of the night and three minutes later Cooper joined him for his challenge on Clucas as the tackles flew in.
The Spireites then won a free kick of their own in stoppage time, 25 yards out and central, from which Devitt brought a great save out of Marriott, clawing the ball away high to his left.
Marriott then punched away a dangerous McSheffrey cross as the sides were applauded off the field following a full-blooded first 45 minutes in which Stags just had the edge.
However, the visitors came back out all guns blazing and missed a gilt-edge opening five minutes into the second period.
O’Shea got the ball in from the right to the near post where Porter tried to finish from five yards only to see the ball cannon off his shin for a goalkick.
Porter came desperately close again on 56 minutes as he guided a header inches wide from eight yards out from Ryan’s long cross.
Seconds later a Devitt cross deflected into the path of O’Shea who forced a good save out of Marriott.
Good work from Clucas got the ball to Stevenson in the box who saw Hird hack his finish away from almost on the line.
Stags then failed with another one-on-one on 64 minutes. This time Stevenson, as he fell, managed to poke a cutting pass down the middle, but Daniel could not find a way past Lee, who spread himself well to again be the hero as the home side forced two corners on the trot.
McSheffrey’s 20-yard shot was always rising over on 66 minutes.
The visitors then took a quick free kick with Stags switched off and O’Shea pulled a low finish into the sidenetting.
But the night turned into disaster for the Stags on 72 minutes.
Sutton and Dempster both challenged for the same high ball forward from deep on the right and collided with the advancing Marriott in the air, the ball somehow breaking nicely for McSheffrey to be able to roll it into an empty net from 12 yards.
Sutton stayed down from the collision and was treated at length.
After a 12 minute halt he was stretchered off to be replaced by Jennings to warm applause.
Palmer took over from Stevenson on 87 minutes for Stags’ final throw of the dice with 14 added minutes offered at the end.
It was edge-of-the-seats stuff as Stags forced two corners with the visitors employing the inevitable time-wasting, Ryan booked for kicking the ball away.
A minute from the end Palmer made space for a rising shot that hero Lee tipped over.
There was still time for Marriott to save low from O’Shea and Porter to put the rebound wide from close range.
STAGS: Marriott; Sutton, Riley, Dempster, Beevers; Clucas, McGuire, Murtagh, Daniel; Stevenson; Andrew. Subs: Rhead, Howell, Jennings, Meikle, Palmer.
CHESTERFIELD: Lee, Hird, Morsy, Cooper, O’Shea, Ryan, Devitt, Evatt, Porter, Edwards, McSheffrey. Subs: Banks, Darikwa, Togwell, Chapman, Brown.
REFEREE: Michael Naylor of South Yorkshire.