Ill-discipline, which forced them to play a total of 30 minutes in the game with only 14 men, cost Mansfield dear in a 32-26 defeat at home to Buxton.
The blue-and-whites still managed to salvage two bonus points, but the concession of numerous penalties and the loss of three players to the sin-bin at various stages gave them an impossible mountain to climb against a side below them in the National League, Midlands 3 East (North) division table.
“We’ll take the two points after what was a tough, competitive game,” sighed head coach Wayne Robinson. “At times, our defence was exceptional.”
It started well for Mansfield as Phil Pogmore added to his impressive tally of tries this season and then a penalty and a drop-goal by John Ross Ward helped them to a lead of 11-6.
After the first sin-bin decision, Buxton capitalised with a mesmeric try and although Mansfield responded to lead 16-13 by the break, thanks to a score by the quick-thinking Steve Repton, two more men were dismissed during the second half when Buxton made intelligent use of the extra body with four more tries.
The blue-and-whites kept battling away, and added two tries of their own, through veteran hooker and ex-skipper Lee Kirk and also Joe Ducker.