Mansfield Town produced a scintillating display as they overcame Exeter City 4-1 at St James Park courtesy of braces from both CJ Hamilton and Tyler Walker.
Hamilton netted twice during a pulsating first half – either side of a Matt Jay equaliser – to give Mansfield a slender lead at the interval.
It was an advantage that the amber and blue built upon in the second period as Walker joined in the action with a classy brace to seal three points in Devon.
David Flitcroft made four alterations for the Stags’ longest away trip of their league campaign beginning with Conrad Logan replacing Jordan Smith in goal.
Willem Tomlinson and Alex MacDonald were also welcomed back in place of Jacob Mellis and Jorge Grant – the latter omitted from the matchday squad due to an ankle injury.
And the final change arrived amongst the back-three where Ryan Sweeney, suffering with illness, saw his spot deputised by Ben Turner.
Mansfield began proceedings in sprightly fashion at St James Park as they began to apply immediate pressure.
Two corners in quick succession bore no fruit just moments prior to MacDonald lining up a half-volley that sailed wide.
Soon after, though, the Stags were presented with their first promising sight at goal.
Hamilton had rounded Craig Woodman by virtue of his blistering pace but saw his subsequent effort palmed away to safety by Christy Pym.
And with 11 minutes on the clock, the visitors would be left disappointed not to have taken the lead.
After stealing possession from Dean Moxey, Hamilton again found himself one-on-one with Pym, but the curling effort was held by the City ‘keeper.
In the 20th minute, an already lively affair saw two goals in as many minutes to ignite matters further.
Hamilton proved that third time’s a charm when he was set away down the left flank – rounding Pym to slot home into an empty net to provide his side with a deserved lead.
However, the lead was wiped out by Matt Jay less than 60 seconds thereafter when he was able to bundle the ball over the line following a goalmouth scramble.
Despite an instant response from the Grecians, Flitcroft’s charges were soon back on the ascendency.
Tyler Walker’s fizzed drive from a tight angle was held by Pym but it would not take long for the Stags to regain control.
Hamilton, this time racing through the middle, capitalised on space afforded to him by tucking a low finish beyond Pym to notch his 12th goal of the season.
Mansfield had responded well to Exeter’s quick-fire equaliser and narrowly missed out on adding a third on the stroke of half time.
Mal Benning assumed responsibility of a dangerous free-kick but flashed his attempt inches wide of Pym’s upright.
Proceedings continued in a similarly high-octane manner into the second period as Exeter sought to restore parity for the second time.
Donovan Wilson sliced an effort that fell kindly to the head of Jay, although the hosts’ goalscorer was unable to divert his chance on target.
However, it would instead be the visitors who notched the all-important fourth goal.
Walker took aim from the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a jaw-dropping effort that curled beyond the reach of Pym to send the 356 travelling Stags fans into collective noise.
And the Mansfield faithful would have even more reason to cheer on 75 minutes.
Hamilton utilised his pace to race clear and square the ball to Walker who was adjudged to have been brought down inside the Grecians’ box.
Mansfield’s number 19 placed the ball down and thumped it home, right-footed, to put clear daylight between themselves and their opposition.
Soon after, Exeter substitute Randell Williams had the chance to reduce the deficit but fired a close-range set-piece clear of Conrad Logan’s crossbar.
Saturday afternoon’s encounter in Sky Bet League Two fizzled to a calm conclusion as the visitors stayed resolute to the last.
Mansfield are in action next Saturday when they face-off against Cambridge United at One Call Stadium.
STAGS XI: Logan (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop (Mellis 72’), MacDonald, Tomlinson, Walker, Jones, Hamilton (Hakeem 90+2’), Turner.
SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), Khan, Atkinson, Rose, Knowles.
EXETER CITY XI: Pym (GK), Woodman, O’Shea, Law, Holmes (Martin 68’), Jay, D. Wilson (Brown 78’), K. Wilson, Moxey, Taylor ©, Boateng (Williams 59’).
SUBS NOT USED: Hamon (GK), Sweeney, Forte, Collins, Brown.
REFEREE: Ben Toner.
ASSISTANTS: Andrew Laver & Paul Lister.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Scott Jackson.
ATTENDANCE: 5,017 (356 away).