Mansfield Town were left to rue missed chances as League Two's early pacesetters Leyton Orient earned a 1-0 win at a sweltering Brisbane Road.
Played in 34°C, Stags created the game’s best chances but found Orient ‘keeper Lawrence Vigouroux in outstanding form.
Frontman Rhys Oates were denied four times in the first-half by the O’s goalie as Mansfield were unable to get on the scoresheet.
Charlie Kelman smashed home the decisive strike in the second-half, with Stags' stopper Christy Pym otherwise called upon only once throughout the encounter.
Three changes were made to the line-up from Tuesday night’s spirited performance in the Carabao Cup at home to Derby County.
Utility man Jordan Bowery missed out following his sending off.
Striker-cum-defender Oli Hawkins was sidelined with a hamstring problem and midfielder George Lapslie was moved to the bench.
Defender Riley Harbottle, midfielder Hiram Boating and striker Rhys Oates returned to the starting XI.
Stags flew out the starting blocks like an olympic sprinter and won a penalty after just 11 seconds.
In a move following the kick-off, Rhys Oates appeared to break the offside trap to storm into the area before being brought down by Orient goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux as he attempted to round him.
The in-form Londoner made amends by making an excellent save to get down to his right and palm Stephen McLaughlin’s left-footed spot-kick behind for a corner.
In the eighth minute, Charlie Kelman tried to wriggle free inside the box, but a combination of Elliott Hewitt and Riley Harbottle made a block on Kelman’s eventual shot for it to trickle behind for a corner.
Oates and Vigouroux entered another duel to win the ball with 15 minutes played.
After nicking possession on the right touchline, the Stags’ striker burst into the box, only to be thwarted by the O’s ‘keeper who made himself large to narrow the angle and clear.
Midway through the first half, defender John-Joe O’Toole received a yellow card for upending Kelman as he surged over the half-way line.
Both teams used the pause in play for a first drinks’ break of the afternoon.
Dan Happe had a tame header claimed by goalkeeper Christy Pym and then at the other end, Swan’s glancing header from inside the box was well held by Vigouroux after Hartigan’s right-wing free-kick.
Oates again found himself denied by the in-form Orient shot-stopper.
In the 38th minute, Oates latched on to a lovely through ball by Hewitt, and after a silky swivel, the Stags’ frontman struck to force Vigouroux into another stop.
Incredibly, Vigoroux made an even more impressive save from Oates on 42 minutes.
Finding himself onside, Oates raced into the box, one-on-one with Vigouroux, but again the home custodian was well-positioned to prevent a Stags’ opener.
In the last minute of normal time, George Lapslie replaced Hiram Boateng, who appeared to have a hamstring injury.
Three minutes after the break, Oates sprayed a pass slightly too wide for the onrushing Gordon, though his cross still managed to win the first corner of the second-half.
Stags started the second period well and Oates had another shot blocked in the 51st minute as Nigel Clough’s men attempted to keep their foot on the gas.
As the clock ticked past the hour, Pym’s fingertips were stung for the first time when he pushed behind George Moncur’s curling attempt.
And from the resulting flag-kick, Dan Happe sent a bullet header off target.
Orient broke the deadlock with 63 minutes played.
After a surging run forward, Idris El Mimouni slipped a neat pass to his right and Kelman did the rest from inside the box, rifling beyond the helpless Pym.
On 65, Stags made a double change in midfield as Anthony Hartigan and Stephen Quinn were replaced by George Maris and Ollie Clarke.
And Mansfield’s club captain saw a shot comfortably saved by Vigouroux on 69, before both sides took a water break.
McLaughlin swept a curling free-kick narrowly wide from 25 yards and then Gordon cracked a shot into the home end.
It was Gordon’s last act as he was replaced by James Perch while James Gale came on for Swan.
In stoppage time, Lapslie headed over from McLaughlin’s corner and Orient held out for a third successive league win.
ORIENT: Vigouroux, James (Thompson 84’), Happe, Smyth (Brown 74’), Archibald, Moncur (Sotiriou 77’), El Mizouni, Pratley, Beckles, Kelman (Smith 84’), Hunt
UNUSED SUBS: Sargeant, Ogie, Thompson, Sweeney
STAGS: Pym, Gordon (Perch 85’), O’Toole, Harbottle, Hewitt, McLaughlin, Boateng (Lapslie 45’), Hartigan (Maris 65’), Quinn (Clarke 65’), Oates, Swan (Gale 85’)
UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Wallace
REFEREE: Leigh Doughty
ATTENDANCE: 6,328 (536 Stags’ fans)