THE first local derby in five years went the way of unbeaten Chesterfield to send them top of the table at Field Mill this afternoon.
Stags could feel hard done to by several decisions by referee Kevin Friend, most notably when he only showed visiting keeper Barry Roche a yellow card after leaving his box to bring down Michael Boulding as he tried to round him.
But it was giving away poor goals that once again proved most costly for a Stags side that at least made a decent fight of it in the second half, even without skipper Jake Buxton who was sent off for his second yellow card on 74 minutes.
Why I didn't send off keeper - referee
We have to iron out mistakes - Holland
Schoolboy error cost us - Muggleton
Indeed, Mr Friend showed eight yellows and we had all manner of entertainment with two disallowed goals, the woodwork twice struck, a goal line clearance and the cards controversies.
Unforgivably, Stags allowed Gregor Robertson's third minute corner to go straight in.
But John McAliskey had a goal disallowed and then a rocket volley from Stephen Dawson had them level - all in a pulsating first eight minutes.
However the Spireites grabbed a second in first half stoppage time through Jamie Lowry and hit man Jack Lester made it six goals in six games at the death to seal it.
Stags were unchanged for the big game.
To watch a slideshow of action photos from the match and listen to Paul Holland's verdict click here.
The afternoon began in moving fashion with The Last Post played on a bugle by Thoresby band member Keith Buxton to mark the deaths of local soldiers Damian Wright and Ben Ford in Afghanistan.
Home keeper Muggleton calmly dribbled the ball round the incoming Lowry in the opening seconds to huge cheers from the home supporters.
But he was picking the ball out of the back of his net within 130 seconds of the start.
Chesterfield won a right wing corner which Robertson sent in in swinging low and it curled in and found the net inside the near post.
Stags were almost level in the fifth minute as Hamshaw put over a tempting cross which McAliskey headed home.
However, for the second successive game he was denied by an offside flag.
A Dawson shot was headed wide for Stags' first corner on eight minutes which was cleared back as far as Dawson who saw a much better blast turned aside superbly by Roche.
Amazingly, from the resulting corner the ball was again cleared to Dawson 20 yards from goal and this time he unleashed a peach of a volley which crashed high into the top right hand corner and gave Roche no chance.
Ridiculously the delighted Dawson was booked for over-celebrating, even though it was in front of the home fans.
By now the weight of away fans in the North Stand saw an overspill of them allowed onto the Bishop Street terracing.
Niven was high and wide with a header from the Spireites' second corner.
Lester almost latched onto a low through ball in the box but Muggleton timed his challenge to perfection and took the ball off his toes. The keeper was injured in the process and needed treatment.
On 21 minutes neat work from Niven saw him lay the ball off to Lowry who crossed first time to the far post where Lester outjumped Buxton but failed to keep his header down.
Hamshaw's ball sent Boulding into the box but, having sidestepped one defender he tried to square the ball for McAllister instead of shooting and it was cleared.
Mullins needed treatment after taking an arm in the face from Fletcher.
McIntosh did enough to halt Lester in the box and Lowry crashed the loose ball over the bar with a screaming shot.
On 37 minutes Buxton was booked for bringing down Lester.
Winter floated the free kick to the far post and former Stags defender Gray got up to head right across the face of goal.
Lowry was booked for a late tackle on Dawson and McAllister also saw yellow for a foul on Niven.
Roche did well to get in the way of Boulding as he found himself with the ball at his feet in the box and his half-hearted lobbed attempt hit the keeper.
Mansfield had a double let off on 44 minutes as McIntosh got a good block on Lester's finish and after a frantic scramble Fletcher sent a header onto the crossbar.
But the visitors were back ahead in stoppage time. Leven crashed the ball in low from the left of the box, Fletcher's touch saw the ball hit the foot of the right post with Muggleton wrong-footed and Lowry reacted quickest to ram the loose ball home.
The Spireites almost extended their lead within two minutes of the restart as a poor Jelleyman clearance found Leven 20 yards from goal and his dipping shot hit the top of the crossbar.
Boulding really should have levelled matters on 51 minutes when Dawson's flick sent him clear down the centre. But, as at Peterborough last weekend, he failed to win the one-on-one battle with the keeper as Roche saved with his feet.
Five minutes later a Hamshaw free kick found McIntosh unmarked but he sent a free header wide from 12 yards.
Stags were now starting to get the ball down and play some football and the home crowd were starting to get behind them.
The game exploded on 58 minutes as Boulding again went clear and this time Roche left his area to bring him down.
A red card seemed inevitable but only yellow was shown.
And when McIntosh curled a decent free kick on target, Roche was still there to fist it away, diving to his right.
Soon after McIntosh curled another free kick at goal from almost 30 yards only to find Roche comfortably placed.
Muggleton went to gather a high cross from the left and had his hands on it as Lester clattered into him to send the ball rolling over the line with a free kick awarded. But the visitors were on the back foot and on 63 minutes Chesterfield made a double switch to try to regain their grip, Gray and Lowry withdrawn for Rooney and Downes.
McAllister tried a dipping shot from 20 yards which beat Roche's fingertips and dropped into the side netting with some fans out their seats believing it had gone in.
Chesterfield thought they had grabbed a killer third on 68 minutes as Lester raced away on a through ball and finished with a perfect curling finish only to be denied by an offside flag.
Winter became the sixth yellow card of the afternoon for his foul on Dawson. But Hamshaw's free kick hit the wall and McAliskey's follow-up was well over.
With so many yellows it seemed inevitable a red would appear sometime and it came on 74 minutes for home skipper Buxton.
He brought down Rooney and the second yellow and red were immediately shown.
McAliskey and Kovacs needed treatment after a clash of heads.
Back on the field McAliskey's glancing header from Hamshaw's cross dropped onto the top of the net with 10 minutes left.
Holmes came on for McAliskey for the last eight minutes.
Mullins cut in from the right but was wide with his shot.
With Stags pushing forward they were hit on the counter as Muggleton found himself with two opponents running at him.
Rooney went for the chip but it was poor and straight to the grateful keeper.
Boulding had a chance to level it on 87 minutes as Hamshaw's flick put the ball in front of him three yard from goal only to scuff his attempt.
A minute later Muggleton could not hold a cross under pressure and Kovacs slotted the ball past him only to see Mullins kick it off the line.
Stags piled on the pressure in the four minutes of stoppage time and Sleath elected not to shoot first time when he had the chance and then lost the ball while Boulding prodded a low shot just wide.
But Stags were caught out at the death as the outstanding Lester waltzed clear but neither McIntosh not Mullins able to cut it out and he finished in style.
The final whistle brought chants of 'Haslam Out' and angry scenes around the directors' box to end an afternoon of high disappointment for everyone concerned with Mansfield Town.
STAGS: Muggleton, Mullins, Jelleyman, McIntosh, Hamshaw, Dawson, McAliskey (Holmes 82), M. Boulding, Buxton, Bullock, McAllister (Sleath 67). Subs not used: White, Martin, Wood.
CHESTERFIELD: Roche, Picken, Robertson, Kovacs, Gray (Downes 63), Lowry (Rooney 63), Winter, Niven, Leven (O'Hare 84), Fletcher, Lester. Subs not used: Algar, Jackson.
REFEREE: Kevin Friend of Leicestershire.
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