Dartford gave the Stags a lesson in taking their chances when they left the Lodge having bagged all three points from a game that looked to be heading for a draw as the pitch became more slippery as the 90 minutes drew to an end.
The opening exchanges saw Dartford apply early pressure but it was the Stags who gradually took control of the first half, indeed they could have scored on two or three occasions.
However, only ten minutes had elapsed before Dartford applied pressure to the home goal: they won two corners in quick succession and could have taken the lead had Jim carter not scuffed a chance wide from ten yards. Then, from a free kick Darren Penfold headed over after being given too much space near the penalty spot.
The Stags broke quickly and an excellent through ball found Ian Cooper free and in space but the ball seemed to become stuck in the mud and a good scoring chance was lost.
Moments later Papy Kanyuka went on a long run into the Dratford penalty box and should really have had an attempt on goal before he was bundled away from the danger area.
The half ended with a glorious opportunity for the Stags to go ahead when Ian Barnes joined the attack and just missed heading home from a corner. The Stags had had the majority of the possession but Dartford’s breakaways should have mean that both teams should have had goals.
The second half was more of an end to end affair with the Stags becoming over elaborate in their play: they shot in poor positions and tried to beat men twice rather than passing to free players.
The difference from the first half was that the Stags had even more of the possession. On 62 minutes, Ian Cooper got almost to the byline, took on his defender and beat him but instead of turning the ball back for a colleague, he decided to beat the guy again then, having given himself a much narrower angle, shot wide.
For the opening twenty minutes of the second half, all the play was for the Stags. Dartford had one attempt at goal from a free kick but that was easily gathered by King.
The Stags’ best chance so far came halfway through the period when Captain Ian Barnes joined the attack and swung over a beautiful cross for Tero Karhu to head towards Kevin Hudson who finally had an easy save to make.
The Stags tried to turn up the pressure and Barnes joined the attack more and more. At one stage he gave an excellent short pass to Cooper who crossed the ball only to find that all the home strikers had come to the near post with nobody ghosting an at the back: another good chance gone begging.
It was almost the end of the match when the Stags were caught out on the attack: Penfold stopped the ball on the line from a Cooper shot and the ball was cleared up the Dartford right then sent in to Steve Hafner who had enough time and space to shoot under the body of the home ‘keeper Gavin King.
I the Stags had taken their chances, they could have won by four goals but, in the end they gave Hudson very little to do.