Mansfield Town kicked off their Central League (East Division) campaign with a thoroughly deserved 2-1 win at Doncaster Rovers this afternoon.
The Stags dominated throughout and went ahead through Chris Clements' close-range on 52 minutes, though Rovers quickly drew level through Sanchez Payne.
However, Lindon Meikle’s sublime right-footed strike on the hour-mark sealed a fantastic win.
The Stags created numerous chances during a first period which they dominated at a sun-drenched Keepmoat Stadium in South Yorkshire.
Striker Calvin Andrew enjoyed our first opportunity, but his close-range stab-shot was diverted wide by Liam Wakefield.
Meikle hooked an effort onto the roof of the target from Clements' resulting corner, as Mansfield continued to impress.
On 13 minutes, Ben Hutchinson linked up well with strike-partner Andrew, who was only able to fire into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Doncaster soon caught a rare glimpse of The Stags' goal as A. Trilaist found Billy Paynter unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.
However, despite being in acres of space, a poor touch by the Rovers frontman allowed John McCombe to get back and clear the danger.
Rovers' Dave Syers also fired over after capitalising on an error by Leon McSweeney, but it was Mansfield who continued to look the more dominant.
On 26 minutes, Andrew saw another powerful drive blocked, before Hutchinson’s pin-point cross towards the back-post, reached Meikle, who headed just over.
Moments later, Meikle was again at the thick of the action as he cut inside with a beautiful slalom run, and saw his 20-yard shot deflected wide by Middleton.
Clements found McCombe lurking at the back-post from the subsequent corner, but Middleton was again in the right place to clear the danger.
Louis Briscoe blazed over with the follow-up, and prior to the half-time interval, Ryan Tafazolli was also off-target with a set-piece header.
Both keepers were tested during the one additional minute at the end of the first period.
Andrew had a swerving low strike beaten away by a full-stretch Jon Maxted, whilst Syers' low shot forced Mitchell into a routine stop at the opposite end.
Ollie Palmer replaced Andrew at half-time, whilst Doncaster made a double substitution with Sanchez Payne and Alex Peterson both introduced.
The duo made a near-immediate impact as within three minutes of the re-start, Payne saw an ambitious long-range effort spilled by Mitchell.
Peterson was quickest to react, but his powerful follow-up rattled the underside of the crossbar, which allowed The Stags to clear.
And moments later, the visitors took full advantage of Peterson’s close-range miss as they broke the deadlock.
Hutchinson battled to keep the ball on the left by-line and found Clements with a low pull-back, who duly fired beyond a grounded Maxted at close-range.
Mansfield's lead was thoroughly deserved, however, it lasted short of three minutes as Rovers quickly hit back.
Peterson brought the ball forward down the left flank and played a neat inside-pass to Payne, who finished with a cute 20-yard drive.
Despite the equaliser, Mansfield continued to look dominant and re-established their lead on the hour-mark.
Hutchinson released Meikle on the inside-right, who weaved past two men, before curling a simply sumptuous strike into the top left-hand corner.
Hutchinson almost registered his name on the score-sheet on 69 minutes, but his bullet drive caught a fortuitous deflection off Middleton, which diverted the ball wide.
The impressive Meikle also rattled the woodwork late on, before Kyle Bennett wasted a gilt-edge chance to draw Rovers level on the brink of added time.
Bennett was played clean through, but in a one-on-one with Mitchell, the winger lacked composure as he screwed a woeful shot horribly wide.
The Stags came through two minutes of added time unscathed and held on to record a thoroughly-deserved victory.
Team: Mitchell, Sutton (c), McSweeney, Gnahore, McCombe, Tafazolli, Briscoe, Clements, Andrew (Palmer (Flint)), Hutchinson, Meikle. Unused Subs: M.Jones, Lamb, J.Thomas.