Matt Rhead came from the bench to help Mansfield Town onto their first home victory back in the football league. Sam Clucas had put the Stags ahead during the first half but Mansfield’s performance was flat and negative in the 5-2-3 formation, Rhead’s half-time introduction saw Stags switch to 4-4-2 and play a much more productive game.
Midweek news of an exit for assistant boss Adam Murray had threatened to break the dressing room harmony; however the Stags were focused on getting all three points and set the basis with determined defending – clearing well from a sixth minute Dagenham corner before excellent interceptions from skipper Dempster and Riley, prevented an also flat visiting attack from breaking the deadlock.
The Stags offered little going forward as they played a direct game, Chris Clements’ driven effort from 30 yards zipped wide to give the supporters a brief moment of excitement, crosses from Beevers and Jennings also failed to cut open the Daggers defence.
Martin Riley was fouled on 35 minutes on the half way line by Ogogo and from the resulting free kick, Mansfield found the break through as Sam Clucas, looped a header beyond the visiting keeper, after Dempster had flicked on Riley’s deep free kick.
Matt Rhead replaced Lee Beevers at the break and within seconds, could have grabbed Stags second goal as he looped a header narrowly wide – Sam Clucas also sent a sublime volley inches wide from Hutchinson’s headed assist. On 48 minutes, the second goal did arrive as Rhead teed up Jamie McGuire on the edge of his area, his effort deflecting beyond the keeper much to the lively liverpudlian’s delight.
The victory was sealed on 73 minutes as Jennings looped in a long throw from the left hand side, substitute Calvin Andrew made the assist with a clever back heel from the goal-line allowing Rhead to slam into the empty net from a yard.
Dagenham offered little in search of reply, Ritchie Sutton and Martin Riley ensured the clean sheet with excellent late challenges, the visitors inability to hit set-pieces with any conviction also proved an advantage.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 3-0 Dagenham & Redbridge
ATTENDANCE: 3,015 (111)
REFEREE: Richard Clark
STAGS: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers (Matt Rhead HT), John Dempster ©, Ritchie Sutton, Martin Riley, James Jennings, Chris Clements, Jamie McGuire, Ollie Palmer (Calvin Andrew 66), Sam Clucas, Ben Hutchinson (Lindon Meikle 80)
UNUSED SUBS: Liam Mitchell, Lee Stevenson, Ryan Tafazolli, Anthony Howell
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