Dagenham and Redbridge 2 Mansfield Town 0 - 23rd August 2014

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox.
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox.

A disappointing performance from Mansfield Town saw them fail in their quest to record three consecutive League Two victories, crashing to a 2-0 defeat at Dagenham and Redbridge.

The Stags travelled to East London in high spirits having won consecutive home games against first Oxford United and then Newport County.

But this assignment proved a test too far as goals in each half from midfielders Luke Howell and home skipper Abu Ogogo proved decisive.

Mansfield never got going until they were two goals behind and by that time it was far too late.

And as they ultimately failed to find a way back into the game, Paul Cox’s men have still to register a goal on their travels this season, having lost 1-0 at Northampton on the opening day of the new campaign.

Not surprisingly, the Stags boss named an unchanged line-up after their Newport success at the One Call Stadium on Tuesday night.

The only squad change was on the bench where Martin Riley returned from a groin injury, replacing Liam Marsden, out with an ankle problem.

Dagenham put out the same side that recorded their first success of the season with a 2-0 win at Hartlepool in midweek.

It meant new loan signing Josh Clarke, brought in from Brentford, was named as a substitute. Christian Doidge, struggling with an ankle knock, dropped out of the Daggers’ 16.

The visitors won an early corner when Lee Beevers’ right-wing cross was cleared behind, but Rob Taylor’s inswinging delivery was easily hooked away.

Dagenham’s first foray forward saw Matt Partridge whip in a dangerous low centre from the right flank that was not too far away from Jamie Cureton, lurking on the edge of the six-yard box.

In the eighth minute, Ashley Chambers did well to trick his way to the right byline and pick out Ogogo, but his weak volley was easily snaffled by visiting keeper Sascha Studer.

The Stags’ first shot came from Beevers after a half-cleared throw, with his effort from outside the box flying well over.

As the action continued to flow from end to end, Chambers caused Mansfield more problems before the ball broke for Ogogo, whose first time shot was well cut out by Ryan Tafazolli.

The Mansfield centre back was again in the right place when Ashley Hemmings got the wrong side of Beevers and attempted to find Cureton with a low early cross.

The Londoners looked to be getting on top, but there was some relief for Mansfield when Matt Rhead used his aerial excellence to good effect in the 19th minute.

His flick on caused panic in the home ranks and, as Chris Clements laid off to Alex Fisher in the resulting mêlée, the former Oxford man’s shot from around the penalty spot was drilled straight into a crowd of Daggers defenders.

Another Mansfield corner soon after was played in from the right by Taylor and though John Dempster rose highest at the far post, his header was well wide.

A Tafazolli foul on Chambers in a dangerous position gave Dagenham the chance to whip the ball into the Mansfield box and there was some relief for the visiting fans when Hemmings shanked a shot with the Stags struggling to clear their lines.

At the other end, Taylor’s long throw from the left found the head of Rhead whose flicked effort was held low down by Liam O’Brien.

It was the same result when Tafazolli was first to Clements’ free-kick, steering an effort into the arms of the grateful Dagenham keeper.

As the game moved past the half hour mark, Fisher almost caught out Jack Connors, nicking the ball away from the left-back, only for O’Brien to cover and quell any danger.

Mansfield’s players were left holding their heads in the 37th minute when Clements’ wicked, low free-kick from the left wing eluded everyone, including the diving Rhead, and trickled wide of the right-hand post.

Next to try his luck was Taylor with an opportunistic effort, but his 25-yard strike was never worrying O’Brien.

Just when it looked as if the two teams would head in at the interval with the game still goal-less, the breakthrough came in first half stoppage time – and it was the visitors who got their noses in front.

Cureton got away from his marker on the right-hand side of the box and as Studer started to come and then changed his mind, the diminutive striker pulled the ball back to Howell, who could barely miss from eight yards out.

Mansfield emerged from the dressing room for the second half looking determined to make amends, but Taylor twice failed to beat the first man with crosses as he advanced down the left.

Rhead won consecutive long balls forward to supply first Fisher and then Clements, but neither could use the service wisely enough to trouble the Dagenham defence.

With Fisher struggling to make an impact, Cox chose to bring on Ollie Palmer in his place in the 51st minute.

There followed a scrappy period of play and when it came to an end, on the hour, it was with the home fans celebrating again as Dagenham doubled their lead.

A quick free-kick enabled Hemmings to backheel into the path of Chambers in space and though his low centre was half-cleared, Ogogo was in the right place to follow up and score from 12 yards, with the aid of a deflection.

With Mansfield still reeling, Ogogo had the chance to make it 3-0, but he scuffed his shot after being neatly teed up by Hemmings.

The Stags’ response was for Cox to haul off Taylor and Clements, replace them with Fergus Bell and Sam Clucas and go 4-4-2.

The impact was near instantaneous as Clucas – reportedly a target of Chesterfield – centred from the right for Palmer and the striker brought a fine save from O’Brien down at the foot of his right-hand post with a drilled effort.

The Stags went even closer when Clucas tried his luck following a half-cleared corner and beat O’Brien, but not defender Brian Saah on the line.

More pressure followed, but Heslop fired too close to O’Brien after Palmer had won a header from Bell’s delivery.

But in their efforts to get back in the game, they were leaving gaps at the back and Studer needed to be alert to push away Ogogo’s low shot after he was slipped in by Howell.

With 16 minutes to go, Bell required treatment after he felt the full force of a challenge from Saah. From the resulting free-kick, Clucas fired into the defensive wall.

Mansfield’s Jamie McGuire wasn’t too far away when his 20-yard volley dipped just over the bar with O’Brien at full stretch.

And another free-kick from a central position saw Bell clear the wall but also lift tamely over the bar, to the jeers of the Dagenham fans.

With time running out, Dagenham twice might have killed off the game but first Howell blazed over when well placed and then Tafazolli recovered well to block Chambers’ shot as he raced clear through the middle.

Another chance came and went for Daggers when McGuire was caught in possession but Chambers was thwarted by Ritchie Sutton’s timely intervention.

As four minutes of time were added on, Sutton found Rhead with a deep cross and his header was on target but well claimed by O’Brien. It summed up that it was not Mansfield’s day.

Mansfield (3-5-2): Studer, Sutton, Dempster (c), Tafazolli, Beevers, Heslop, McGuire, Clements (Clucas 64), Taylor (Bell 64), Rhead, Fisher (Palmer 51). Subs not used: Evtimov, Riley, Jones, Murray.

Dagenham and Redbridge: (4-3-3): O’Brien, Partridge, Doe, Saah, Connors, Boucaud, Ogogo (c), Howell, Hemmings (Labadie 90+2), Cureton (Porter 77), Chambers. Subs not used: Cousins, Green, Goldberg, Gayle, Clarke.

Goals: Dagenham: Howell (45+1), Ogogo (60).

Bookings: Dagenham: Partridge (37), Saah (76). Mansfield: Tafazolli (27), Clements (44).

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire).

Attendance: 1,558 (190 from Mansfield).

Stags’ man of the match: John Dempster.