Alex Fisher was the Mansfield Town hero with a last minute winner against second-placed Morecambe at One Call Stadium.
Fisher headed home from close range from Liam Marsden’s long left wing throw as Stags again proved they can live with the best in League Two and claimed three deserved points against a side that had only lose one League game all season.
Stags played some of their best football of the season to cheer the anti-’hoofball’ brigade and were desperately unlucky not to have netted earlier with Rakish Bingham wasting a great first half chance, Lee Beevers hitting the bar and Adam Murray having an effort cleared off the line.
Paul Cox’s men were rightly given an ovation at the end.
Not surprisingly after Saturday’s fine display in the 2-1 defeat at Wycombe and the injury situation, Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox named an unchanged side.
Stags will have been pleased to see Kevin Ellison, so often their nemesis, start the night on the bench.
Stags boss Cox took his place in the dug-out after the FA took no further action following the referee sending him to the stand for kicking a water bottle at Wycombe at the weekend.
Bell twice came close to putting Bingham away in the opening minute, both passes cut out.
The Shrimps won a third minute corner which was badly pulled back low by Fleming and ran towards the centre circle where Bingham went on a thrilling run. He was eventually tackled but he had given the home crowd a first glimpse of his threat.
Marsden was then well over with a long range speculative shot.
In the visitors’ first threat, Evtimov just managed to grab a Riley backheader before Parrish could sneak in.
However, Mansfield really should have been in front on 10 minutes. Edwards misjudged the ball and allowed it to loop over his attempted header and give Rhead sight of goal 20 yards out. His powerful shot was beaten away to his right where Bingham, with the keeper on the floor and at his mercy, sliced his follow-up wide of the gaping net from six yards.
Beevers came closer on 17 minutes as Roche raced to the edge of his box to punch clear Marsden’s cross and, with the keeper out of position, Beevers tried his luck from 25 yards and saw his shot clip the top of the bar.
It took the Shrimps 20 minutes to settle and enjoy any sort of real possession. But they worked the ball well across from left to right on the edge of the box to McGowan whose dipping shot was superbly clawed aside by Evtimov.
A scramble from the corner saw an offside flag as the ball came back down off the bar and Hughes poked home on the line.
Tafazolli got a head onto a long free kick from the right at the far post but it clipped a player en route and was a comfy catch for veteran Roche.
Roche decided to turn a long, high Marsden cross from the right over for a corner at the last minute as it threatened to dip under his bar at the last minute.
Further panic for Roche seemed to see him handle outside his box, but the referee played on.
Home fans were getting more impatient with the official after a string of fouls went unpunished until Hughes was yellow-carded to big cheers on 44 minutes for tripping Bell.
Tafazolli needed attention to a facial cut in stoppage time as a tight half ended scoreless.
Two minutes into the second half Bingham was inches away from making contact with a Rhead flick right in front of goal. Any contact and Mansfield would have been ahead.
Bingham went on another thrilling run after a good turn which ended with a 20 yard shot deflecting for a corner.
Murray was then too high with an ambitious effort from similar distance.
Morecambe made a double change on 55 minutes sending on Ellison and Mullen for Amond and Sampson, Mullen booked within two minutes for fouling Bell.
Clements cued up Bell for a first time effort from just outside the box that Roche comfortably held onto.
Stags were playing the better football at this stage, which was pleasing the home fans no end, and a spell of pressure ended with Bingham having a shot blocked, soon after Rhead seeing another effort deflect for a corner.
On 64 minutes the referee gave Stags a corner when the ball had gone out off Bell. Morecambe were incensed as the ball came over and Fleming had to head Murray’s finish off the line.
Rhead almost sneaked one in from 30 yards on 71 minutes, Roche down to scramble it out for a corner. And from the corner Rhead’s header was straight at the keeper.
Fisher replaced Bell on 74 minutes as Mansfield made their first change.
On 76 minutes Roche kicked away a low on-target Bingham shot.
A rare Morecambe attack then saw Ellison slice well wide from Devitt’s pass.
Fisher’s foul on Ellison on 82 minutes brought him a booking.
But we then had late drama as Marsden hurled the ball in from the left and the ground erupted as Fisher headed past Roche from close range to steal a deserved victory.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Evtimov; Sutton, Riley, Tafazolli; Marsden, Murray, Clements, Bell (Fisher 74), Beevers; Rhead (Palmer 82), Bingham (Heslop, 90+2). Subs not used: Studer, McGuire, Thomas, Taylor.
MORECAMBE: Roche, Kenyon, Hughes, Edwards, Sampson (Ellison, 55), Widdowson, Drummond, Fleming, McGowan (Devitt, 77), Parrish, Amond (Mullen 55). Subs not used: Arestidou, Wright, Williams, Goodall.
REFEREE: Stephen Martin of Staffordshire.
GOALS: Stags, Fisher 90.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ritchie Sutton