Stags' boss David Flitcroft hailed 'a good night's work' after watching his men come from behind to beat Lincoln City 2-1 at Sincil Bank.
Midfielder Calum Butcher equalised in the eighth minute following Matt Rhead's early opener, before substitute Tyler Walker scored with his first touch in the second half to secure victory in Group G of the Checkatrade Trophy.
Stags now have a rare blank weekend this Saturday after three international call-ups - to defenders Krystian Pearce and Ryan Sweeney as well as attacking midfielder Omari Sterling-James - led to the postponement of Mansfield's trip to Crewe in the league.
Making seven changes to his starting-line-up this evening, the manager explained his selection shake-up: "We looked at the game-time. Obviously losing three lads to international duty, we worked off that and decided who we needed to give game time too.
"I thought Matty Preston needed that second game [following Saturday's 1-0 victory at home to Carlisle], and for Whitey [Hayden White] to come through another game after his hamstring strain was another positive.
"Atko [Will Atkinson] has another game under his belt at wing-back so his game minutes are up. It gave me an opportunity to put Mal [Benning] in and play Gibbo [Lewis Gibbens] as well, so we've got game time in a lot of the players. That's important going into a weekend where we haven't a fixture."
"You have to have a purpose to what you're doing every day and I'm seeing that in this group and with the staff."
"We've had to really think about who we utilised tonight, making sure that over the next ten days we're fully loaded in terms of minutes, data and stats because we have a really heavy period after the international break and then October is a monster of a month with seven big games."
Summing up his men's work, he said: "I was delighted with the lads. I said to them that it doesn't matter what competition or day of the week it is, you need a purpose about your work. We come in every day to get better and improve and it's another winning opportunity tonight.
"You have to have a purpose to what you're doing every day and I'm seeing that in this group and with the staff. You have to keep driving forward and improving.
"There was a lot of good work tonight and a lot of things we have to improve on. Every time we seem to turn up the intensity, whether it's the pressing or the passing, we look quite dangerous. A good night's work."
"We knew Lincoln would 'throw it up at you' as soon as we knew the boy Rhead was playing. They make it difficult," said the manager.
"Their set pieces are good. You want the referees to be strong, looking at the blocks and making sure they're watching them [during set pieces]. It's really important you have strong refereeing, especially at Sincil Bank because the crowd are good here.
"[A crowd of] 4,000 for this game is the strongest I've seen [in this competition] so all credit to Lincoln for driving the numbers for tonight's game. There was a decent atmosphere and that's what the competition should be about."
Watch the manager's interview in full via www.mansfieldtown.net/ifollow