OFF-SIDE or not? Paul Mullin’s controversial opener did not please the Mansfield fans but it didn’t matter to the Reds who must wish they can play every game on their travels.
Last season, Stanley had a real travel sickness which made sure the relegation battle went to the wire.
But, in this campaign, the journeys home are proving a hit as the Reds chalked up their sixth away victory out of 12 games.
It is just frustrating that two away wins on the bounce did not have a more significant impact on the league as Accrington remain in mid-table position although are now significantly closer to the promotion than the relegation zone.
And, even though it was a disputed goal which finally broke the struggling Stags’ resistance, the Reds deserved the win.
Jay Harris, who rivalled Mark Roberts for Man of the Match, unleashed a shot in the 75th minute which keeper Carl Muggleton could only push onto the foot of Mullin who couldn’t have had an easier 11th goal of the season.
Muggleton and his defence were furious the goal was allowed to stand and television replays didn’t show either way if Mullin was off-side.
"To be honest, my first reaction was to look at the linesman as I could not tell," said Reds boss John Coleman.
"I wouldn’t have complained too much if it had not been given but, having said that, we have been on the end of some horrendous decisions ourselves this season."
What Mansfield could not complain about was the 90th minute penalty when Martin McIntosh hacked down Harris and got a second yellow card - and red- for his troubles.
Andy Procter held his nerve to slot home his third goal in fourth game as he rediscovered his scoring touch from the start of the season.
That goal seemed like it would be a mere formality until Mansfield went straight down the other end and sub Ian Holmes made sure the Reds didn’t keep a clean sheet which a strong defensive show deserved.
"We were disappointed to concede a goal late on but I am delighted with the performance no matter what the result would have been," said Coleman.
"Mark Roberts was outstanding and the others weren’t far behind him.
"In the last few games, Robbo has got back to the form which he showed at the start of the season and hopefully he won’t stop there. But there was a lot of great performances out there."
Mansfield hadn’t conceded a goal at home since October 2, had not lost in five matches at Field Mill and, despite struggling at the wrong end of the table, striker Michael Boulding is near the top of the League Two scoring charts with 15 goals.
And if his early effort had gone in after he beat the off-side trap and charged forward on four minutes, it might have been a different matter.
Instead, keeper Ian Dunbavin dived low to deny him and, in bitter conditions with driving rain which made it unpredictable, it was a much-needed save.
Harris then stole the midfield show and it is no wonder clubs are looking at the ex-Everton trainee as he was at the centre of a lot of Stanley’s moves.
And, apart from the early Boulding chance, the striker was snuffed out by the Reds’ defence who stood firm until just before half-time.
Then winger Nathan Arnold and Boulding was denied by Dunbavin with two quick-fire saves before Matt Hamshaw amazingly ballooned over an open goal.
It made it a lively finish to a first half of limited chances although there was plenty of energy and some meaty challenges going in.
The Reds then upped the tempo after the break as they did against Grimsby on Boxing Day but keeper Muggleton was everywhere.
He denied winger John Miles, kept out Ian Craney and then scrambled the ball into his arms after a shot by Harris.
But, on the next attack, he could only palm Harris’s fierce strike into Mullin’s path for the controversial opener - his third is as many games and to be expected as the striker does have a habit of scoring against the Stags.
Coleman put winger Billy Dennehy on and he was lively in the final minutes while injury-time brought a surprise double blast.
Muggleton’s goal kick was short, Harris pounced and that led to Procter’s penalty and gave the Reds’ some breathing space. However, it was a nervous end when sub Simon Brown broke to set up Holmes.
"We were guilty of snatching at things early on but it was a good team performance - now we have got to do that at home," added Coleman.