Macclesfield were beaten at the Moss Rose for the second time in three days and for the first time this campaign failed to find the net at the Moss Rose.
The Silkmen conceded twice from corners, giving Mansfield their first away win since August and rising above the home side in the table.
Leading scorer Matthew Barnes-Homer was recalled to the attack in place of Waide Fairhurst and Kieran Charnock was brought back into the side to partner Carl Martin at the heart of defence.
Former Silkman Adam Murray had the first shot of the evening – smashing an ambitious half volley over the bar and out of the ground from 25 yards in the second minute.
In the ninth minute Murray’s pass down the left channel found Matt Green who had beaten the Macc offside trap, and after cutting inside he checked back onto his left foot but fired well over.
Chris Holroyd had the ball in the net a few minutes later, tucking comfortably past the keeper after he was slipped though by John Paul Kissock, however the offside flag denied the loanee forward his second goal in a week.
On 17 minutes Kieran Murtagh broke forward from midfield and with a big gap opening up in front of him he found Charlie Henry who hit a low drive which was well held by keeper Shane Redmond before Holroyd could pounce.
Moments later a long ball forward was flicked on by Barnes-Homer and looked to put his strike partner in but Holroyd failed to control the ball as it dropped to him.
At the other end Charnock failed to properly clear Chris Clements’ through ball and the ball dropped back to the feet of the Stags midfielder who curled his effort high and wide of the far corner.
On the half hour mark a sloppy pass by Ryan Jackson gifted Green a fabulous chance but Cronin palmed his shot wide when he let fly from 20 yards.
The visitors tested Cronin with a few efforts from around the edge of the box - Clements’ skidding drive well held by the Macc keeper, who was less comfortable keeping out Lindon Meikle’s 25 yard effort but did so at the second time of asking.
Sam Wedgbury tried a speculative long range effort of his own in the 37th minute with the keeper parrying his swerving drive and gathering before anyone could follow up.
Six minutes before the interval Mansfield were awarded a free kick for a foul by Jackson on Meikle and Louis Briscoe tried to drive under the wall but his short was deflected wide for a corner. The Stags went ahead from the set piece with Clements’ corner finding Green who beat Cronin to the ball and nod in from close range for his sixth league goal of the season.
Macc tried to hit back immediately when Murtagh’s raking crossfield ball was well kept in by Craig Braham-Barrett who had sprinted forward from left back, who he cut the ball back for Henry to hit his shot into the ground and Redmond tipped the ball over.
In first half stoppage time Murtagh this time sprayed the ball out to Jackson bombing down the other touchline, the right back cutting infield and driving left footed through a crowded area but the keeper held well.
After half time Jackson again gifted Green with a good opportunity with a loose backpass but with Cronin coming from his goal to narrow the angle he placed his shot wide of the far post.
On 57 minutes Wedgbury won the ball from Murray 30 yards out and with the defence backing off he went for goal but dragged a feet wide.
Cronin held Meikle’s dipping drive after he had spun past Murtagh before Jack Mackreth was introduced for Henry to give the Silkmen some extra pace down the right flank.
The quick winger’s first involvement was positive – skinning his man after running down the right wing from the halfway line and picking out Holroyd at the back post but his tame header was straight at the keeper.
The Stags doubled their advantage when Charnock made a mess of his clearance trying to volley clear a ball down the right, allowing Green to race onto the ball and get behind the Macc defence. He held the ball up well and found Briscoe charging into the box, who got to the byline and played a perfect pass across the face of goal for the onrushing Meikle to tap in from close range.
Most of Macc’s attacks came down the right after the introduction of Mackreth and on 70 minutes he was picked out by Murtagh’s chipped ball over the full back. His first cross was blocked but he then played the ball back in and keeper Redmond diving out couldn’t reach it and Luke Jones just about scrambled the ball behind.
Murtagh was teed up by Kissock but slammed his low effort just wide of the post and Mackreth was also off target after cutting in from the wing and smashing into the side netting from a tight angle, as a frustrated Macc tried in vain to get back into the game.
Kissock’s corner flew over the heads of most in the centre but reached Wedgbury lurking deep and his well hit shot was deflected wide. Wedgbury took the resulting set piece and this time it was Kissock found at the back post but his first time effort was pushed wide by the keeper.
With Mansfield sitting deeper and playing on the break, substitute Jake Speight latched on to a long clearance and cut inside Martin to try a curling effort for the far corner but Cronin acrobatically pushed it wide. Macc were again made to pay from a corner with Clements’ deep cross picking out Jones beyond the far post who powered his header in from a few yards out with neither Cronin nor Jackson on the line able to keep it out.