Callum Evans’ first goal for Macclesfield Town this season was not enough to see off Mansfield Town, despite holding their own for most of the match against the Sky Bet League Two high-flyers.
The midfielder found the net with a lethal strike from a corner at the end of the first half, cancelling out Jorge Grant’s early tap-in.
The match winner was courtesy of a huge slice of luck, after Evans’ attempted clearance from a corner ricocheted off Krystian Pearce and across the line.
The Stags then sealed three points after Tyler Walker added a third late on.
Sol Campbell made just two changes to the 11 starters at Cheltenham, with Reece Cole earning his debut and Callum Evans coming into the midfield.
Despite Macc paying some nice football in the first half, but it was the Mansfield who took an early lead.
The hosts broke down the right and Nicky Ajose forced a diving save from O’Hara, but the Silkmen stopper could only parry the ball straight to Grant who slotted home.
Despite some positive spells in possession, Macc could only muster half chances. A dangerous Michael Rose free-kick that almost found Nathan Cameron was the best of the bunch.
Mansfield have the best defensive record in the division - and it showed. Three players in yellow and blue snubbed Reece Cole on the edge of the area, before the Brentford loanee saw a shot saved from distance.
The Stags then had a chance of their own, Grant curling a free-kick past O’Hara’s upright which spurred the hosts back into life. Walker then saw a deflected shot go wide before Fiacre Kelleher had to make a great challenge in front of goal to prevent a Stags second.
Yet, a goal was still brewing for the Silkmen. A Rose corner to the front post was knocked back to Evans who slammed home through the crowded penalty area three minutes from half-time.
Campbell’s side could have easily flipped the tie before the interval, as Scott Wilson cut in from the left and curled onto the far post, before Matt Preston threw his body in front of Cole to block his rebound effort.
Half-time: Mansfield Town 1-1 Macclesfield Town
Proceedings continued in the second half as Wilson almost gave the visitors the lead. The striker beat the offside trap and latched onto a through ball, but Jordan Smith knocked his chipped effort over the bar.
The hosts did however retake the lead in the 56th minute, when Evans’ attempt at clearing a corner was deflected into O’Hara’s goal by Stags skipper Pearce.
The Silkmen would feel very hard done by after the hosts’ big slice of luck, but had to hold firm as Flitcroft’s side looked for a third – Grant again coming close with a shot from distance.
An equaliser was the least Macc deserved, and Tyrone Marsh almost found it. Wilson teed him up on the edge of the area, but he could only shoot straight at Smith.
Two of the Silkmen’s new signings came on to make their debuts, Brice Ntambwe and Botti Biabi entered the play either side of a Reece Cole strike that marginally missed the target from 18-yards.
Walker then broke down the middle for the Stags, forcing O’Hara to brilliantly tip his venomous shot over the bar with 20 minutes remaining.
Clear-cut chances were hard to come by for both sides in the later stages, but the hosts put the game to bed in the final minute of normal time as Walker converted an in-swinging corner.
Full-time: Mansfield Town 3-1 Macclesfield Town
By Matt Bates
Mansfield Town: Smith, Benning, Preston, Pearce, Bishop, Mellis (Atkinson 89’), Sweeney, Walker, Ajose (Rose 72’), Hamilton (Jones 82’), Grant.
Unused subs: Logan, Khan, Law, Smith
Macclesfield Town: O’Hara, Hodgkiss, Kelleher, Marsh (Biabi 68’), Wilson, Welch-Hayes, Evans (Lloyd 77’), Maycock (Ntambwe 56’), Rose, Cameron, Cole.
Unused subs: Idem, Fitzpatrick, Jules, Mullings.