A second half super show saw Mansfield Town cruise to their first home win back in the Football League as they shot down Dagenham and Redbridge 3-0 this afternoon.
A poor first half saw little football played in a strong wind and Stags narrowly ahead through Sam Clucas’ first goal for the club on 35 minutes.
But a switch from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 with giant striker Matt Rhead thrown on for the second half saw Mansfield finally take a grip on proceedings and a first goal for the club for Jamie McGuire plus a close range finish by Rhead sewed up the points.
However, both Ollie Palmer (blow to head) and James Jennings (ankle) ended the afternoon on the treatment table.
The last time these sides faced each other it was five years ago and Stags had just been relegated to the Conference before losing their final game in the League at Dagenham.
Now Mansfield have taken eight points from five tough games to make their mark back in the League.
Stags made one change with Palmer replacing Andrew up front.
Assistant manager Adam Murray was reported to be heading out on loan to get games yesterday but was on the Stags bench alongside Paul Cox in his capacity as assistant.
He and Jake Speight may yet go out on loan on Monday to get games under their belts, having dropped down the pecking order in the current squad.
After an uneventful first seven minutes, the visitors won a corner on the right which first Hutchinson, then Riley made clearances from.
On 12 minutes the best passing move so far saw the ball worked out to Elito on the right, and his far post cross was headed wide by Woodall.
Lewington comfortably caught a Jennings free kick on 19 minutes as both sides continued to disappoint with Stags playing too many long balls from the back and the midfield completely unemployed.
The game so far was summed up by Woodall’s awful 30-yard free kick on 28 minutes which hit the roof of the Quarry Lane stand.
A menacing Daggers attack ended with Riley stretching out a leg to clear Ogogo’s low ball in front of goal from the left by-line.
Stags finally had a shy at goal on 31 minutes – and it was a cracking effort.
Riley played the ball inside from the left to Clements, 30 yards from goal, who controlled and then sent a rasping effort inches wide.
Ogogo was booked on 34 minutes for a late tackle on Jennings.
And, from the free kick, midway in the Mansfield half, the home side took the lead.
Riley sent the ball long into the box, Dempster headed it in front of goal and Clucas stooped to direct his header out of the reach of Lewington and into the net.
There were shouts for a penalty when Beevers right wing cross was cut out, but the home side were given only a corner.
So Stags went in with the slender one-goal advantage at the end of a poor quality first half.
Beevers was withdrawn at half-time to allow the introduction of Rhead in a new-look 4-4-2 formation which paid immediate dividends.
Stags had three quick chances and netted the third of them.
First Hutchinson helped on a Jennings cross and Rhead’s first touch saw him head over from a great position with less than 30 seconds of the half gone.
Then Clucas was inches wide with a superb 30 yard half-volley.
But when McGuire tried his luck with an innocuous shot from 25 yards as we entered the 48th minute, the keeper failed to block the effort and it bounced through his grasp and into the net.
Ilesanmi tore down the left soon after, holding off the challenge of Sutton before poking into the sidenetting.
It was almost 3-0 on 55 minutes as Rhead headed a long Hutchinson cross back into the mix where Palmer took a knock to the face as he bravely headed inches over.
Soon after Palmer was calling for a penalty as he went down with Wilkinson leaning on him, but again nothing was given.
Clements was unlucky when his low drive took a slight deflection and just passed the wrong wide of the post for a corner as Stags completely dominated.
Hines sliced a half-chance over for the desperate visitors from the right of the box, and then Ogogo headed a free kick well over.
Andrew had twice been treated for bangs to the head and it was no surprise when he went off on 65 minutes to be replaced by Andrew.
Sub Rhead sealed the points with 18 minutes to go.
Rhead was being manhandled and having his shirt pulled as he tried to head on a Jennings throw at the near post.
But the ball ran to Andrew who, from the byline, backheeled the ball in front of goal where Rhead was able to slam it home from close range.
The visitors almost clawed one back when Obafemi headed against the bar from a left wing corner.
Andrew was booked on 77 minutes for stopping the Daggers’ keeper taking a quick free kick and a minute later added Rhead for his challenge on Wilkinson.
Scott fired a couple of late chances wide as Mansfield clung onto their clean sheet.
Doe was booked two minutes into stoppage time for a clattering challenge on Jennings that saw him helped off and Stags ending the game with 10 men.
Clements was booked for time wasting with 94 minutes on the clock.
MANSFIELD: Marriott; Sutton, Dempster, Riley; Beevers (Rhead HT), Clements, McGuire, Hutchinson (Meikle 80), Jennings; Clucas, Palmer (Andrew 65). Subs not used: Mitchell, Stevenson, Tafazolli, A. Howell. DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE: Lewington; Doe, Wilkinson, Saah, Ilesanmi; L. Howell, Ogogo, Bingham (Scott 52); Hines, Woodall (Obafemi 70), Elito. Subs not used: Seabright, Dennis, Hoyte, Shields, Connors.
REFEREE: Richard Clark of Northumberland.
ATTENDANCE: 3, 015 (111 away).
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Sam Clucas.