Mansfield Town suffered their second defeat of the season as they lost 2-0 to Dagenham & Redbridge in East London.
Goals by Abu Ogogo and Luke Howell condemned the visitors to defeat on what was a frustrating afternoon for Paul Cox’s team.
The Stags’ starting XI was unchanged from the team that beat Newport County on Tuesday, with Martin Riley returning to the bench after his groin injury.
Mansfield started the better of the two sides with their frontmen looked dangerous early on – and Alex Fisher looking particularly lively.
The first real chance of note came in the fifth minute and fell to Dagenham & Redbridge, despite the pressure which Mansfield had showed. A well-worked move down the right from Luke Howell and Matt Partridge led to a cross being swung in by the latter towards the head of Daggers’ striker Jamie Cureton who could only glance his header wide of the goal.
The Daggers continued to enjoy some success down the right, with Partridge and Ashley Chambers causing problems for the Stags’ defence. Chambers beat Rob Taylor for pace before clipping the ball towards the edge of the box for the onrushing Ogogo who couldn’t connect properly with his shot as the ball rolled in to the hands of the scrambling Sascha Studer.
Mansfield’s first shot of the afternoon came from Lee Beevers after the ball fell to him on the edge of the box but he couldn’t keep his shot down as he hit it high over Liam O’Brien’s crossbar.
A golden opportunity for Dagenham arose after yet more pressure down the right-hand-side. Chambers again used his pace down the right as he drove past Ryan Tafazolli before pulling the ball back towards Jack Connors who diverted the ball in to the path of Jamie Cureton who cleverly laid the ball off to skipper Ogogo whose right-footed shot was blocked on the edge of the six-yard-box by Tafazolli.
The Daggers’ pace continued to worry the Stags’ defence as the Essex side persisted to feed the ball in to Connors and Chambers on the wings but Mansfield stood firm and kept the scores level.
As the game approached the 25-minute mark, Dagenham continued to cross the ball in to the box from wide positions but struggled to find a red shirt, as the Stags’ back-three dealt with the high ball well.
The Daggers began to get on top of the game with the Stags struggling to create many chances barring a couple of corners. The exciting Chambers was fouled by Ryan Tafazolli down the Dagenham right before picking himself up to take the free-kick. The wide-man aimed the ball towards the head of Brian Saah but the ball broke loose to Ogogo on the edge of the box who lashed his shot well wide of Studer’s goal when he probably should have done better.
The Stags had a couple of headed chances of their own around the half-hour mark. Efforts from both Rhead and Ryan Tafazolli from set-pieces were easily claimed by Liam O’Brien in the Daggers’ goal.
A Mansfield goal almost came against the run of play in the 37th minute. A free-kick was awarded to the Stags after Matt Rhead’s shirt was being pulled after a long ball forward by Lee Beevers. Chris Clements whipped the ball across the face of goal and it only needed a touch from a Mansfield attacker as it crept inches wide of O’Brien’s left-hand post.
As the half-time whistle approached, the Daggers took the lead. An initial chance came after a well-worked move between Luke Howell and Jamie Cureton as Cureton took the ball round Studer who forced him wide and the Stags managed to half-clear. Dagenham managed to regain possession on the edge of the box with Matt Partridge who fed the ball in to the path of Cureton who pulled the ball back from the goal-line to Luke Howell who swept the ball in to the goal from 6 yards out to give Dagenham & Redbridge a 1-0 lead at half-time.
The teams emerged from the half-time break unchanged as Dagenham & Redbridge got the visitors back underway.
The first five minutes of the second half passed without a real opportunity for either side, with Mansfield looking the liveliest.
The Stags made their first change with Alex Fisher being replaced by Ollie Palmer in the 51st minute.
The game turned in to a somewhat scrappy affair with neither side being able to keep hold of possession as the Stags’ approach became more direct following the introduction of Ollie Palmer.
After a period of play where neither side could keep the ball for more than a few seconds, Dagenham produced a lovely move to double their lead.
A quick free-kick taken by Partridge on the half-way line found Andre Boucaud who was making a darting run across the edge of the box. Boucaud managed to hold the ball up well before producing a sublime back-heel in to the path of Chambers. Chambers crossed the ball from the by-line which eventually fell to Ogogo, who saw his shot find the back of the net via a deflection from Ritchie Sutton to make it 2-0.
Paul Cox then made a double substitution which saw Sam Clucas come on for Clements and Fergus Bell replacing Taylor.
The changes seemed to spark the Stags in to life as Ollie Palmer managed to fashion a chance out of nothing. A deep cross from Sam Clucas found Palmer who cushioned the ball on his thigh before unleashing a powerful volley which was heading for the bottom corner before Liam O’Brien got a strong hand to turn it away for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Fergus Bell’s cross was met by John Dempster who headed the ball back in to the danger zone before the ball broke to Simon Heslop on the edge of the box who saw his shot cleared off the line by Scott Dee.
Mansfield continued to press to try and find a way back in to the game with Fergus Bell doing well since replacing Taylor. Bell produced a deep left-footed cross which was met by Ollie Palmer at the back post whose header found Rhead who headed it down to Heslop who could only guide the ball in to the arms of O’Brien.
Daggers had the chance to put the game out of sight after 72 minutes when the ball fell to Ogogo in the middle of the box. Ogogo had a touch before hitting a right-footed shot towards the corner of the goal and Sascha Studer did fantastically well to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Wayne Burnett made his first change of the afternoon as Jamie Cureton was replaced by George Porter in the 76th minute.
Stags continued to press and Jamie McGuire’s spectacular effort almost halved the deficit. McGuire found Heslop wide on the left who cut back inside on to his right foot before clipping a ball in towards the back post. It was headed away by Ogogo but he could only direct his header to McGuire 30 yards out and his dipping volley landed on top of the Daggers’ net.
In the 85th minute, Dagenham could, and probably should have had a third. A beautifully weighted ball by Boucaud with the outside of his foot found substitute George Porter who cut the ball back to Ogogo, whose scuffed-shot found Chambers in the box whose back-heel towards goal was blocked by Ryan Tafazolli. The ball fell to Luke Howell on the edge of the box, who ballooned his shot over the crossbar.
Dagenham had another good chance three minutes from time as Chambers beat the offside trap to find himself one-on-one with Studer, before Tafazolli did well to get back to make a sliding challenge and put the ball out for a corner.
As the final whistle approached, Stags continued to throw all they could at Dagenham but the Daggers stood firm.
Jamie McGuire was then robbed of possession deep in the Stags’ half and Hemmings ran goalwards, before squaring the ball to Chambers whose shot was blocked by Stags’ captain John Dempster.
Ashley Hemmings was replaced by Joss Labadie in the 91st minute as the final change of the day.
Mansfield did have one final chance as Sam Clucas’ cross from the right found Matt Rhead who could only direct his looping header in to the arms of Liam O’Brien in the Daggers’ goal.
Attendance: 1,558 (190 away supporters).