Craig Hignett marvelled at how his players were able to "grind out a result" as Hartlepool United extended their unbeaten run to seven games.
Craig Hignett saluted his players for the way they were able to "grind out a result" as Hartlepool United extended their unbeaten run to seven games.
Pools conceded their first goal in five matches but Billy Paynter's penalty double in his 500th career appearance saw off a determined 10-man Stags in a game of passion, incident and drama.
Paynter converted his first spot-kick in the 24th minute after Nicky Featherstone was brought down by Krystian Pearce, who was sent off.
Scott Shearer went the right way but could not keep the ball out the net as Paynter netted for the 14th times for Pools.
The skipper then saw a shot on the turn deflected onto the post but, otherwise, Mansfield had the better of the play.
As the game went on, an equaliser looked likely and after Carson had made his third great save of the second half, Colin Daniel put in the ball in the 76th minute.
Pools steadied themselves after a rocky period and were awarded their second penalty six minutes from time when Mal Benning tripped fellow full-back Carl Magnay.
After a long delay for protests, Paynter made no mistake from 12 yards, this time straight up the middle.
“I’m so pleased, it didn’t feel like a win," said Hignett. "I like to win games playing well, like we did at Orient and in other games,
"But today we were not at our best.
“We had a spell after we'd scored, we hit a post, had chances and, I think, against 10 men had one of them gone in, they might throw the towel in.
"But full credit to Adam and his players, they put us under real pressure, had a real go.
"We just didn’t get going second half.
“But even aftere they scored, we didn’t crumble, we've gone again, got another penalty and won the game.
"To grind out a result the way we did it was very pleasing."