Mansfield Town's star striker Matt Green climbed off the bench to make an instant impact as Stags beat Port Vale 1-0 in the second Checkatrade Trophy Group Stage match.
Stags previously lost to Doncaster 2-0 in the first match of this season's competition and will travel to Derby County next month to complete their three-match group schedule.
And the result was no less than Stags deserved after Adam Murray's men created the more convincing chances throughout the 90.
Stags' number 10, Green, ultimately made the difference as he took his place in the 63rd minute, connecting with Mal Benning's left-flank cross just three minutes later to decide the contest.
Five changes were made to the Stags' line-up. CJ Hamilton and Ashley Hemmings started on the flanks, while Oscar Gobern gained a start in midfield.
Darius Henderson was drafted into the XI and 17-year-old Tom Marriott made his senior debut on the right wing after impressing in the youth team.
Stags began well, with Ashley Hemmings and Mal Benning making two promising left-flank runs inside the opening two minutes.
With six minutes played, CJ Hamilton almost got on the end of a over hit forward pass, but Miguel Santos, the Vale ‘keeper, got there first to smother on the left of his box.
Three minutes later, Stags’ defender Krystian Pearce was dispossessed midway inside his own half, allowing Rigino Cicilia to roam forward. But his eventual effort was tipped behind by the fingertips of Stags’ goalkeeper Scott Shearer.
As Vale vegan to take control of possession in the early stages, Paul Tavares struck over the bar from 25 yards.
Then Lee Collins conceded the ball 35 yards from his own goal. But Pearce came to the rescue by showing great strength to shield the ball out of play, after Cicilia lost control of the ball amidst a goalward run.
Mansfield enjoyed a spell of encouraging play in the final third.
Midway through the first half, Stags took a quick free kick 30 yards from goal, ending with Benning’s left-flank delivery being claimed by Santos inside his six yard area.
On 25, after Henderson headed back to Gobern, the former Huddersfield midfielder hit a pot shot from 30 yards which sailed over the target.
Just before the half-hour mark, Benning delivered again from the left, but after taking a good first touch, Hamilton scuffed his effort over the bar, under pressure from eight yards.
The best chance of the half was presented to Mansfield on 42 minutes.
Benning again caused all the problems on the left before delivering perfectly for Henderson who headed wide when he should have found the target,
While Stags ended the first half stronger, Vale flew out the traps at the start of the second period.
And three minutes after the re-start, Quentin Pereira’s free kick from almost 30 yards had to be pushed away by Stags’ custodian Scott Shearer.
At the other end, Clements' cross from the right was deep, and Nathan Smith, the Vale defender, managed to head it back into the hands of Santos from close range.
As the game approached the hour mark, Gezim Shalaj, who came on for Vale at the break, smashed a rasping strike over the bar from 30 yards.
Cicilia then attempted to wriggle his way beyond the Stags’ defence inside the visiting area, but Pearce stood firm as his shot hit the defender to go out for a corner.
With thirty minutes remaining, Jamie McGuire replaced Chris Clements in midfield for Mansfield.
Soon after Stags’ first alteration, teenager Tom Marriott intelligently sent the ball wide for CJ Hamilton, but his cross ended up in the hands of Santos.
Darius Henderson made way for Matt Green on 63 minutes.
And Stags’ leading marksman made an immediate impact three minutes later as Mansfield made the breakthrough.
Benning swept a ball in from the left, and after it was misjudged by Calvin Macintosch, Green applied the finish at the far post.
On 69 minutes, teenager Tom Marriott departed the field for Mitchell Rose, after an encouraging night in Stags’ colours for the youngster in a debut which included a shot which was blocked inside the Vale area prior to Green’s opener.
As the home side searched for a leveller, Vale swung a dangerous free-kick from the right flank and somehow, Krystian Pearce sensationally hooked the ball behind for a corner, under pressure from a Vale player set to connect inside the six yard box.
Late on, Hemmings had a shot which was blocked on the edge of the area while Sam Hart's long range piledriver flew out of play at the other end.
And despite late Vale pressure, Stags prevented Shearer from being called upon as the men from north Nottinghamshire claimed maximum points in Staffordshire.
VALE: Santos, Purkiss, Macintosch, Tavares (Shalaj 45), Cicilia, Kiko (Mbamba 85), Pereira, Smith, Jones, Amoros, Hart
UNUSED SUBS: Ferguson, Brown, Haughton, Pickering, Dennis
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Pearce, Collins, Benning, Marriott (M. Rose 69), Clements (McGuire 60), Gobern, Hemmings, Hamilton, Henderson (Green 63)
UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, Shires, Hurst, D.Rose
REFEREE: Michael Salisbury
ATTENDANCE: 1,025, (61 Stags’ fans)