It was very much a game of two halves on Saturday afternoon, as Mansfield turned the game on its head to take the three points.
The U's were flying in the first half with a fine display, and goals from Tom Eastman and Courtney Senior had them in control at the interval.
But Mansfield pulled one back within six minutes of the restart and that strike got their tails up, with the visitors going on to win the game 3-2.
It was a proper match of football between two teams with promotion aspirations, but the Stags held on at the end to ensure they took the victory.
The U’s had the first sight of goal, as Mansfield struggled to clear their lines from a home free kick and it eventually fell to Eastman, who hooked over the bar.
Next, Szmodics forced a good stop out of Smith after another powerful run from Nouble.
It was a lively start to the game as Ajose headed wide on twelve minutes from a great position, and the U’s got their noses in front two minutes later.
A free kick was swung into the box and Mandron tried to get onto it, and it dropped for Eastman to stab home past Smith.
The U’s were looking lively. First Szmodics shot well over the bar after being set up by Mandron, before he returned the favour for the Frenchman, who forced a good low stop out of Smith.
The home side did get their second on the half hour mark. Some patient play on the right ended with Senior driving into the box, setting himself and slotting home.
The visitors hadn’t had many sights of goal, but almost got one back just before half time. Benning lifted one from the edge of the box, but it was a fine save from Gilmartin to turn it away.
The U’s were two to the good at the break after an excellent half, but Mansfield almost got one back on 49 minutes. Hamilton skewed his cross, but Gilmartin tipped it over the bar as he backpedalled.
And the Stags early pressure got them a goal within seven minutes of the restart.
The ball was swung over from the right and the dangerous Ajose stooped to chest the ball home and halve the arrears.
The visitors had their tails up and it needed a good block from Prosser as Hamilton got in behind on the hour mark.
And they got level on 64 minutes, as they got in down the right and it was set back for Walker to firmly side foot past Gilmartin.
The U’s had a chance next, as Mandron set it back for Nouble, and Smith did well to hold onto his low shot.
But it was soon 3-2 to the visitors as a quality ball was swung into the box and Hamilton darted in to stab home.
The U’s tried to get an equaliser as Pell headed towards goal, but it was an easy collect for Smith on this occasion.
And, with six minutes of additional time signalled in what was becoming a feisty encounter, the U's threw the kitchen sink at it to try and get level.
But Mansfield repelled what was thrown at them and took the victory back to the East Midlands.