Mansfield Town set a new club record as this afternoon’s battling 2-0 victory over Leyton Orient secured an eighth successive league win at a wind-swept One Call Stadium.
The inform Jordan Bowery played a pivotal role in the Stags’ record-breaking afternoon by firing the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Captain Ollie Clarke marked his return from injury with a thumping 72nd minute goal to help Mansfield climb up to sixth in the Sky Bet League Two table.
Manager Nigel Clough made one change to the side that heroically battled to victory over Barrow a week ago.
Suspended centre back Farrend Rawson was replaced in the starting XI by club captain Ollie Clarke.
Leyton Orient made five changes to their starting XI that was previously beaten 1-0 at home to Newport County in midweek.
Mansfield began energetically as intelligent playmaker Stephen Quinn slid a ball through Rhys Oates on three minutes. The Orient defence desperately rushed back to swarm the Stags’ number 18 and prevent him from getting a shot at goal.
The Stags persisted to work the ball into the final third.
The home side’s best opportunity of the opening ten minutes came when George Maris’ delivery from a corner was met by John-Joe O’Toole three yards out from goal. O’Toole, who signed an extended deal with the Stags a week ago, saw his shot held from three yards out.
Soon after, some clever work from Stephen McLaughlin in midfield opened space for Ollie Clarke to shoot. The captain let fly on the 15-minute-mark but Orient ‘keeper Lawrence Vigouroux dealt with the fizzing strike to deny Mansfield, who were in control.
Orient had their first shot of the game on 21 minutes when Ethan Coleman blazed a half-volley well over the crossbar from the edge of the box. Their next effort came three minutes later as Nathan Bishop smartly saved Paul Smyth’s tight-angled attempt.
Mansfield soon regained control by working the ball in and around Orient’s penalty area after the half-hour mark.
Then came Stags’ breakthrough.
Jordan Bowery blasted the hosts into the lead on the stroke of half-time. A threaded ball from Oates was controlled by the number nine before he coolly prodded the ball into the corner of the net, giving Mansfield the lead at the break.
The Stags were presented their first opportunity of the second half when Oates won a free-kick from the restart. McLaughlin’s delicious delivery was flashed straight across the face of goal, narrowly beating the on-rushing amber shirts waiting to turn it home.
The game soon began to open, with Stags having the better of possession.
Orient thought they had beaten the Mansfield defence on the hour via a long ball over the top to Ruel Sotiriou, McLaughlin however, produced a firm tackle to clear the immediate danger efficiently.
Mansfield looked to battle the elements – with strong winds continuing to affect the fluidity of the game - and extend their lead with just under 20 minutes to play.
Quinn’s floating delivery from a Stags’ corner ricocheted vertically before being worked on by McLaughlin to Clarke. The Mansfield captain didn’t hesitate as he expertly drove the ball along the floor and into the Orient goal.
Orient came close to striking back immediately after Clarke’s heroics as Aaron Drinan found himself in front of goal before striking the post on 74 minutes.
Three minutes later the same man headed onto Mansfield’s crossbar following an Otis Khan corner delivery as Orient chased a goal to reignite the contest.
The visitors ramped up their attacking efforts in the closing stages however the water-tight Stags’ defence remained unbeaten to see out another important League Two victory.
To cap off Mansfield’s brilliant day, James Perch made his long-awaited return from injury by replacing Quinn from the bench on 90 minutes.
Stags were given a standing ovation at the end as 5,500 home supporters applauded their record-breakers off the field.
STAGS XI: Bishop, Hewitt, O‘Toole, Hawkins, McLaughlin, Stirk, Clarke, Quinn (Perch 90’), Maris (Wallace 90+1’), Oates (Akins 80’), Bowery
UNUSED SUBS: Stech, Nartey, Wallace, Law, Johnson
ORIENT XI: Vigouroux, Happe, Smyth (Young 46’), Smith, Archibald, Khan, Mitchell, Beckles, Sotiriou (Kyprianou 64’), Brown (Drinan 64’), Coleman
UNUSED SUBS: Sargeant, Thompson, Kemp, Moss
REFEREE: Sam Allison
ATTENDANCE: 5,851 (381)