Goals from Craig Westcarr, Malvind Benning (pictured), Reggie Lambe and Adi Yussuf ensured a thoroughly deserved 4-1 win for the Stags at Worksop Town.
Manager Adam Murray named a strong starting XI for the trip to Sandy Lane, with Brian Jensen making his first appearance for the club after his summer move from Crawley Town, while a potent partnership of Matt Green and Westcarr was named up front.
It couldn’t have been a better start for the Stags with Westcarr finding the back of the net inside the opening three minutes.
In fine form against Rainworth 10 days ago, the experienced forward was alert to the loose ball after the hosts failed to clear their lines from a corner, stabbing home with ease from five yards.
A perfect start on a delightful summer’s eve for Murray’s men, who dominated the opening passages of the game.
Green came close to grabbing the first goal of his second spell with the club after curling agonisingly wide from 20-yards, before forcing a spectacular save out of Jon Kennedy after a well-weighted ball by Westcarr.
The ‘keeper got low to deny Green from 12-yards, with a Worksop defender heroically clearing before Nathan Thomas could pounce.
Moments later Kennedy was on hand again to keep the scoreline at just 1-0, after producing a sublime stop to deny a Mitch Rose thunderbolt half way through the first period.
The Tigers stopper had to pick himself up quickly for the corner, tipping a free-header high in to the six-yard box which Green ultimately couldn’t force home.
Worksop were struggling to maintain Town’s free-flowing attacking play, but they caught the visitors on the break when Adam Ward slipped through the defence to bear down on goal.
The first big test for the relatively untroubled Jensen, the Danish ‘keeper was quick off his line to smother the strikers attempt, one which was met by great applause by the travelling Mansfield supporters.
With the high tempo plateauing a tad with a midfield battle ensuing, Rose was the man to break the trend by charging through the middle of the park before unleashing another long range effort, this time trimming the turf after a deflection took it just wide of the post.
Chapman’s resulting corner was a threatening one, with Lee Collins rising highest to arrow his header towards goal, but Worksop’s Phil Roe was the man on the line to clear the impending second goal.
The pressure was taking its toll on the home side but Mansfield’s second of the evening right before half-time came through a huge slice of fortune, not that Malvind Benning will agree. After a neat one-two with Rose, Benning whipped in a cross which flew across goal towards the far post – ultimately nestling in the stanchion behind the left hand post for a spectacular goal.
The referee drew the first half to close moments later, with Murray and the Stags fans undoubtedly pleased with the football on show during the opening 45 minutes.
The second half saw just one change to the Mansfield line up with Jensen being replaced by youth team ‘keeper Adam Bishop between the sticks, however it was the hosts who started the brighter of the two sides.
Worksop duo Adam Ward and James Cottingham both had chances to reduce the arrears during the opening five minutes of the half, with the former curling wide from inside the area; while the latter’s wayward strike didn’t trouble young Bishop.
With just over 10 minutes played of the second period, the hosts were back in the game through Connor Sellars. Tom Elliott robbed the defender a few yards adrift of the penalty are before slotting through the unmarked Sellars, who in turn coolly finished past the helpless Bishop and in to the back of the net.
Game truly on at Sandy Lane, with Murray deciding to retract Westcarr and Nathan Thomas in favour of Adi Yussuf and Reggie Lambe immediately after the goal.
With the changes coming thick and fast, Chris Beardsley replaced Green up front shortly after, with the front line completely changed from those who started the match.
With the Stags struggling to enforce the dominance they imposed during the first half, it was that man again Benning who flashed the first warning sign for the Worksop defence, shooting low to make Kennedy produce a relatively comfortable save.
Substitutes combined next for the visitors with the recently introduced Chris Clements (who replaced Jack Thomas) darted forward from midfield before laying off Yussuf, whose placed effort was kept out by Kennedy.
Mansfield had regained the ascendency and were within a whisker of grabbing a third goal when Yussuf was spectacularly denied by Kennedy while Clements couldn’t force the ball over the line with the follow up.
With just over 10 minutes remaining and just one goal separating the two teams, Reggie Lambe ensured a slightly less tight finish to the game by notching the visitors third goal. Fouled just outside the box, Lambe picked himself up and bent his free-kick around the wall, evading the diving Kennedy and finding the bottom right hand corner.
With the light going and the floodlights in full force, Yussuf scored arguably the pick of the goals in terms of technique right on the full-time whistle, dancing past three players before sending a dipping shot across goal and in to the top left hand corner of the net.
The beautiful solo strike was the final act of the game, with the referee rounding off a both well attended and contested fixture at Sandy Lane.
Worksop Town: Kennedy, Wafula, Roe (Smythe, 75), Liversidge, Henshaw, Cottingham, Sellars (Thomas, 75), Woolley, Husbands (Jordan, 69), Ward, Elliott (Barnett, 72).
Mansfield Town: Jensen (Bishop, 45), Hunt (Marsden, 74), Shires, Collins, Benning, Chapman, N.Thomas (Lambe, 56), J.Thomas (Clements, 66), Rose, Westcarr (Yussuf, 56), Green (Beardsley, 62).