Mansfield remain winless on the road in the league as the Bulls were unable to mount a full comeback at high flyers Hemsworth Miners Welfare.
The hosts took advantage of two defensive errors within the first few minutes of each half whilst missing several key chances in the first, before Ross Duggan halved the deficit 15 minutes from time but couldn't inspire a full comeback from Matt Chatfield's side.
An eventless first few minutes were quickly ended with a costly mistake at the back, as Brett Lucas's mistimed clearance of a long ball allowed Wells striker Matt Hughes clean through on goal, and the number ten made no mistake by tucking under Dylan Parkin.
Matters didn't get much better for Matt Chatfield, who had to make an early change as Jack Hague was forced off with injury and was replaced by debutant Ishmael Dawson.
AFC's first shot on goal was finally registered with 11 minutes gone as Dawson exchanged neatly with skipper Phil Buxton, but the captain could only fire wide.
Hemsworth, meanwhile, were eager to add to their early tally and could have done so when Parkin did well to hold Seon Ripley's header from a good Wildblood delivery.
The slender scoreline began to flatter AFC, as Ripley and team-mate Sidney Santos both missed free headers from the ideal position.
Down the other end, Duggan almost drew the visitors level when he dribbled across the opponents' half before pulling the trigger, only to curl just over from range.
Having missed a big chance already, Santos was left red-faced on the half-hour mark when the ball was squared perfectly for the forward with just Parkin to beat, but he scrambled his shot and the Bulls 'keeper was able to claim.
The Bulls eventually grew into the game, however, and could have levelled on a couple of occasions, most notably when Buxton's whipped cross was almost headed home by Duggan from the centre of goal, not long before Jack Warner's fierce low effort was deflected only just wide.
In similar style to the first half, the hosts began the second quicker than their visitors, and a lapse in concentration gave Sidney Santos the time and space to curl home a beauty from range into Parkin's top corner.
Just after the hour mark came two crucial opportunities of similar style for the Bulls, as an exchange between Dawson and Walker fed Jamie McGuire inside the penalty area, but Jordan Greaves did well to save with his leg only a minute before he denied Walker from the same position with the same limb.
AFC continued to push for a way back into the tie and eventually took a chance when Ross Duggan laced a loose ball into the far bottom corner from the edge of the Wells penalty area.
With ten minutes of normal time to go, Duggan could have bagged his brace and brought the game level when Jordan Annable dummied Buxton's short corner through his legs to tee up the striker, but he aimed just wide of Greaves's near post.
Hemsworth held on to their narrow lead in a tense final phase of the tie, and AFC were forced to leave Pontefract empty-handed and still without an away victory in the NCEL Premier Division this season.
Final score | Hemsworth Miners Welfare 2-1 AFC Mansfield
Scorers | Hughes (5'), Santos (52') - Duggan (74')
Hemsworth MW XI | Greaves (GK), Wildblood, Teff, Parker (Connolly 64'), Viggars, Danville (C), Davis (Hogg 64'), Paylor, Ripley, Hughes, Santos (McDonald 76')
Unused subs | Wilson, Leach
Yellow cards | Danville (32'), Santos (65')
Bulls XI | Parkin (GK), Annable, Darker, McGuire, Lucas (Corder 46'), Hague (Dawson 7'), Warner, Buxton (C), Duggan, Walker, Slone
Unused subs | McMillan, Warhurst (GK)
Yellow cards | Corder (48'), McGuire (89')
Man of the Match | TBC
Attendance | TBC