Stags behind after five-goal thriller of a first half at Dagenham and Redbridge

A breathtaking first half saw Mansfield Town go in trailing 3-2 in a thrilling shoot-out at Dagenham & Redbridge..

An end-to-end 45 minutes could have ended up 6-6 as both sides served up a goals treat in the East London sunshine.

Mal Benning volleyed Stags into a spectacular sixth minute lead, but Matt McClure levelled within three minutes.

Mansfield were rocked by two goals in three minutes by Ashley Chambers on 30 and 32 minutes, but bit back from the spot on 37 minutes through Matt Green.

It was Stags’ first penalty success in 104 games, going back to October 2013!

Ryan Tafazolli and Craig Westcarr both wasted gilt-edges chances in a game that will take some matching in the second half.

Mansfield made a bright start to the game and were rewarded with a spectacular opening goal after just six minutes.

Dagenham half-cleared a right wing cross out towards Benning just outside the box, and he met it with a searing right-foot volley that almost burst the net as it zipped into the top left corner, giving O’Brien no chance.

Soon after Jack Thomas flicked a header on target from a Hunt cross, but it was at the keeper.

However, with their first attack of the day, the Daggers were level after nine minutes.

McClure took possession just outside the box, looked up and hesitatnt defending allowed him to drill a low finish inside the right hand post.

Four minutes later Tafazolli wasted a golden chance to restore Mansfield’s advantage.

Chapman floated in a corner from the left and Tafazolli was left completely unmarked in the centre from six yards but failed to keep his header down, the ball flying over the bar.

Then Green was too high with an acrobatic volley as a Westcarr cross was partially cleared.

The home side made another rare foray forward on 18 minutes as Ferdinand rose highest over Tafazolli to send a header well over from a left wing cross.

Suddenly the home side were getting a foothold in the game and on 20 minutes Jones went down the right and put in a dangerous cross that McGuire, in trying to block, sliced against his own bar.

The ball was rolled back into the path of the incoming Chambers who swung a boot but completely missed the ball at the vital moment.

Connors was booked on 27 minutes for flying in on a tackle on Westcarr.

Benning put the free kick over to the far post from the left and Tafazolli met it with a well-placed downward header that O’Brien did brilliantly to block at the foot of the post.

Mansfield looked like they were slowly getting back on top, but two home goals in three minutes left Mansfield on the ropes.

On the half-hour Boucaud sent a fabulous through ball into the box for Chambers to chase. He got there, sidestepped a sliding block by Tafazolli and then went inside Benning before slotting a finish beyind Jensen.

Two minutes later a long Connors through ball saw Chambers outpace Tafazolli in the box and nick the ball past the advancing Jensen.

Mansfield needed a quick reply, and it came on 37 minutes from Green.

The striker won the penalty himself as he tried to turn in between Connors and Dikamona and they sandwiched him, Green quickly going down.

His penalty kick was far from the best, having already missed one this season, but they all count. It wasn’t well struck but managed to find its way under the dive of the keeper straight down the middle.

Immediately Murray sent on Yussuf for Jack Thomas, Westcarr moving into midfield.

On 45 minutes the Stags wasted another great opportunity.

This time Yussuf showed quality in turning his man by the corner flag to get over a great cross. Westcarr rose seven yards out unchallenged, but sent his header over.

Luckily for Mansfield, Dagenham were just as wasteful as entere three added minutes, Chambers crossing from the right, Hemmings running in to plant a free header over.

At the other end McGuire was too high after a good series of passes and, seconds before the whistle, Green turned 25 yards out and sent on a low shot that O’Brien turned round, scrambling away to his right.

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