Despite two first half Danny Rose penalty kick successes for Mansfield Town, Leyton Orient crowned a three-goal second half fightback with a shock stoppage time winner by Louis Dennis to snatch a 3-2 victory at the One Call Stadium tonight.
Stags were 2-0 up and sitting pretty at the break against the Conference champions.
But the visitors, who had not scored for three games, went up a gear in the second half and deserved at least a point in the end.
After Rose’s two ice cool spot kick finishes took his season’s tally to five, had Otis Khan’s free kick made it 3-0 instead of hitting the bar it could have been all over. But Orient proved to be far from finished.
Midfielder Otis Khan returned to the starting line-up in place of Neal Bishop, who has a swollen Achilles tendon and could be out for two to three weeks.
Stags were without suspended centre half Matt Preston, completing his three game ban, and midfielders Jacob Mellis and Dion Donohue, suspended by the club over serious discipline misconduct allegations.
The visitors, without a goal in their last three games and only one all season, were unchanged which meant a a return to the Once Call Stadium for former Stags striker Lee Angol.
That meant key trio club captain Jobi McAnuff, winger James Dayton and Jamie Turley again missed out with injury.
MacDonald was lectured after three minutes for leaving his foot in on Ling in a scrappy start to the contest.
On eight minutes Rose sent Khan to the left by-line, but no one was able to turn his low cross home.
But Stags were ahead on 12 minutes from the spot.
A lovely pass from Khan sent Rose into the box on the left and Ekpiteta had little choice but to bring him down.
Rose stepped up to send Brill the wrong way and bag his fourth goal in as many League games.
Logan had to make his first save of the night on 16 minutes when a cross from the left was not cut out and reached Wilkinson whose sidefooted far post finish was pushed round by Logan at his near post.
Fans were unhappy with decisions going against them from referee Stocksbridge and on 19 minutes he gave a free kick on the right after Angol had taken a tumble which Wright floated to the far post and Logan had to save superbly to keep out Ekpiteta’s powerful header.
A superb home move on 24 minutes saw Rose nod won a long ball from White and Maynard lay off towards Benning who went down under pressure as he finished wide.
Ling was screaming for a penalty as Benning slid under him in the box, but the referee was unimpressed.
Logan safely caught a Ling cross-cum-shot on 27 minutes.
But Stags doubled their lead with a second spot kick on 29 minutes.
Widdowson inexplicably hauled back Gordon as he was successfully shepherding him towards the edge of the box and again the kick was give, Rose this time opting for power down the middle to finds the net.
Two minutes later Rose headed a long cross over the angle as he looked for a quickfire hat-trick.
A low Gordon cross bounced just ahead of the arriving Maynard as Stags continued to probe.
Khan was close to a third on 40 minutes as his 25 yard free kick came back off the left angle of bar and post.
Stags fashioned a chance within three minutes of the restart as Khan squared the ball into space on the left of the box, but Benning’s low finish lacked venom and was easy for Brill.
The visitors chalked up three more corners as they looked for a lifeline, then Ekpiteta was wide with a header from Brophy’s free kick.
On 63 minutes Logan was fortunate when he dropped a cross from Ling and no one was there to capitalise.
But Orient did pull one back on 64 minutes. Stags struggled to clear and sub Dennis flicked an athletic overhead cross into the six yard box where Wilkinson beat Logan with a stooping header for their first gaol in four games.
The Orient reply promoted boss Dempster to send on Smith in place of Khan.
But soon after Coulson was just wide with a header and Brophy sent a low shot wide as Orient continued to press hard.
Hamilton then replaced Maynard on 73 minutes to give fresh zip to the home attack.
Instead it was 2-2 on 78 minutes as ex-Stags striker Angol struck with a low finish from a tight angle on the left that squeezed through Logan’s legs – his first goal in almost a year – from a pass by Wilkinson.
White’s foul on Clay saw the night’s first booking on 84 minutes.
In the first of six added minutes youngster Clarke came on for his Mansfield debut in place of White and quickly won a corner.
Gorman was booked on 90+5 for bringing down Tomlinson and Sweeney was added for his subsequent retaliatory shove on Gorman.
But there was another late twist as Angol led an Orient break down the left and sent in a hard, low cross that Dennis turned over the line from close range
STAGS: Logan; White (Clarke 90+1), Pearce, Sweeney; Gordon, MacDonald, Khan (Smith 68), Tomlinson, Benning; Maynard (Hamilton 73), Rose. Subs not used: Stone, Sterling-James, Law, Gibbens.
ORIENT: Brill, Ling, Widdowson (Gorman 84), Ekpiteta, Coulson, Clay, Wilkinson (Maguire-Drew 90+2), Happe (Dennis HT) Brophy, Angol, Wright. Subs not used: Sargeant, Judd, Harrold, Marsh.
REFEREE: Seb Stocksbridge of Tyne & Wear.
ATTENDANCE: 4,128 (326 away). CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Danny Rose.