Cambridge United put ten man Mansfield Town to the sword to secure their second away win in four days, as the U’s ran away 0-4 winners at Field Mill.
Jack Roles, George Maris and Reggie Lambe all got off the mark for the season in the second half, whilst Sam Smith registered again for United who took full advantage of Matt Preston’s 51st minute dismissal.
United lined up with three changes as Greg Taylor stepped into the side in place of Elliott Ward, whilst Reggie Lambe and George Maris replaced the absent Liam O’Neil and Samir Carruthers.
The U’s were guilty of a few too many fouls in the early stages and provided Mal Benning with a series of chances to send testing deliveries into the United area, of which Ryan Sweeney came closest to scoring when the centre back connected firmly with a header that was not far wide of the U’s upright.
United were caught out with a quick free kick from Mansfield on 17 minutes, which CJ Hamilton chased down the long ball and got the better of both Taylor and Darling before dragging the clearest opening of the game so far off target.
Luke Hannant whipped an exceptional set piece delivery into the path of Marc Richards on 26 minutes, but the striker wasn’t quite able to stretch his neck out far enough to power in an opening goal for the U’s with his head from six yards.
Calderwood’s men were hit on a counter attack from a loose corner routine that lead to a break away for CJ Hamilton, who again failed to test Mitov once opening up a chance to fire at goal on 31 minutes.
United were put under increasing pressure by the hosts ten minutes before the break and were grateful for the excellent defensive work by Kyle Knoyle to thwart Hamilton on numerous occasions, who continued to grow as a threat for the Stags the longer the half progressed.
Taylor battled his way on to the end of another Hannant back post delivery from a set piece, but the centre back saw his header hooked away by Sweeney inside the six yard box with Logan beaten, as the side went into the break all square.
The game took a dramatic twist six minutes into the second half when Matt Preston flew into a challenge on Hannant which sent the left wing back flying into the air, and received a straight red card by referee Darren Handley. Hannant departed the action as a result and was replaced by Harrison Dunk.
Lambe had a decent effort at goal from 18 yards blocked by the last defender with Logan looking a little stranded in the Mansfield goal, as the U’s gathered possession and control with the additional man.
A lightening attack from the U’s on 68 minutes carved open the hosts with a combination of Knoyle and then Lewis setting Lambe free down the right, with the Bermudan crossing excellently into the path of Richards, who failed to get enough contact to force the ball over the line at pace.
Colin Calderwood introduced fresh legs in the form of Jack Roles as the game moved into the final 20 minutes. And the travelling Amber Army didn’t have to wait much longer for the breakthrough. When Marc Richards struck the woodwork with a close range header, Roles tidied up the rebound with a neat first touch and a classy finish into the bottom corner.
United managed the remainder of the game with excellent professionalism and their only real scare was tidied quickly by Harry Darling and Greg Taylor to deny Danny Rose and sub Andy Cook a clean strike at goal with six minutes to play.
Sam Smith killed the game off as a contest with his third goal in four days, neatly slicing a shot off the outside of his boot from Marc Richards’ cut back to double the lead in the 86th minute.
From there Colin Calderwood’s men showed pure ruthlessness to put the hosts to the sword. Firstly George Maris showed great alertness to be first to rebounded save by Logan from Dallas’ shot at goal, with the midfielder tucking away his first goal of the campaign.
And Lambe rounded off the evening from the penalty spot, blasting into the top corner deep into stoppage time as Colin Calderwood secured his biggest win as U’s boss to date.
Mansfield Town: Logan, Benning (Cook, 81 mins), Preston, Pearce, Bishop, Shaughnessy, Sweeney, Gordon, Hamilton, Sterling-James (MacDonald, 73 mins), Rose
Bookings: Preston (RED), Gordon, Rose
Cambridge United: Mitov, Knoyle, Darling, Taylor, Taft, Hannant (Dunk, 51 mins), Lewis (Roles, 70 mins), Lambe, Maris, Smith (Dallas, 88 min), Richards
Bookings: Knoyle, Darling, Dunk
Attendance: 3,567 (181)