The Bulls fell to their third successive league defeat and fourth in all competitions, as Jake Picton's first-half earned Pontefract all three points at the Forest Town Arena.
Picton headed Conner Smythe's free-kick home, whilst chances went begging for AFC's Cameron Dear and Jordan Annable in the second half.
The visitors had themselves a very early chance as Michael Dunn twisted and turned inside the AFC penalty area before forcing a low save from Jason White just two minutes into the tie.
Ollie Fearon was presented with the Bulls' first opportunity, chasing down Julian Lawrence's flick-on from a ferocious long ball, but standing-in Collieries goalkeeper Teo Hamelin was able to close the ball down and knock it wide before the strike could make anything of it.
Debutant Ben Partridge came close in similar fashion with 20 minutes played as Jason White's long ball caught the Pontefract defence off-guard, but Hamelin again came to the rescue to clear the danger.
Jordan Annable was nearly left red-faced when he sliced his clearance of Conner Smythe's dangerous low cross, but thankfully White was there to claim the ball.
Mark Ward's men were left feeling hard done by at the interval, however, as defender Jake Picton emphatically headed home Smythe's free-kick just before the break.
The second period provided very little opportunity, although the Bulls could have changed their fortunes when substitute Phil Buxton was only just a little too late to Ben Partridge's square ball from the right.
With 15 minutes remaining, Cameron Dear had a golden chance when he broke free from his marker with Hamelin off his line, but his attempted lob curled agonisingly wide before a Collieries defender was able to clear the danger.
AFC's frustrating day was summed up perfectly with two chances for Jordan Annable within the space of a minute.
The defender controlled a long throw before seeing his low strike squeeze under Hamelin's body, but there was no one to tap home.
Annable was left even more frustrated as the resultant corner saw him skim the crossbar with a looping header.
With Carlton victorious over Lincoln United, the gap between the Bulls and the danger zone slims down to three points although there remain nine games to secure consolidation.
Final score | AFC Mansfield 0-1 Pontefract Collieries
Scorers | Picton (43')
AFC Mansfield XI | White, Marsden, Annable, D'Laryea, Broadhead, Dudley, Partridge, Lindley (C) (Buxton 48'), Fearon (Ward 69'), Lawrence (Dear 59), Dawes
Unused substitutes | Ghaichem, Crosby
Yellow cards | Partridge (18'), Fearon (40'), Buxton (57'), Marsden (90'+1)
Red cards | N/A
Pontefract Collieries XI | Hamelin, Greenhough, Smythe, Bailey, Picton, Clarke (C), Rothery, Cromack (Brown 90'), Guest (Jackson 59'), Redford, Dunn (Williams 80')
Unused substitutes | Jeffs, Whitehouse
Yellow cards | N/A
Red cards | N/A
Man-of-the-Match | Jack Broadhead
Attendance | 87