Manager Garry Haylock made just one change to the side that won at The Racecourse seven days earlier, with keeper Lee Harrison unavailable and Delroy Preddie not fully recovered from injury it was a debut for recent signing Shane McWeeney between the sticks.
After an even opening ten minutes, United took a real grip on proceedings from a twelfth minute opener from Bradley Pritchard, through a brace from Elliott Buchanan and the dismissal of Stags striker Paul Connor in just first thirty minutes.
United's opener came about after Peter Holmes hassled Stags defender Steven Istead into conceeding a throw in line with his own area. A quick throw to Jamie Hands saw the ball returned down the line to Lee Brown who outpaced Conor Higginson and whipped in a cross that Pritchard leapt to meet, glancing his header beyond the fingertips of keeper David Grof and into the far corner of the Mansfield net (left).
Mansfield almost hit an instant reply when Connor latched onto a tame Adam Bygrave clearance but his first time effort only rippled the side netting of McWeeney's goal.
United then took real control of the game. Steve Masterton swung in a free-kick that Tom Cadmore rose to meet, his glancing header going inches wide of the Stags upright. McWeeney had a scare a minute later when he seemed to overplay a backpass and Luke Medley partially blocked his kick, the ball falling to Connor who fired wide from 25 yards.
A quick fire brace from Elliott Buchanan soon had United three goals to the good. Brown sent Rents away down the left where full-back Istead was having a torrid time keeping tabs on the pair of them, his cross being flicked home on the volley by Buchanan with Grof beaten for the second time (below right).
Buchanan did in fact save his best until next though. Rents chipped the ball nicely through to Holmes, the United skipper looked up before picking out his arriving striker who struck a superb volley with his weaker right foot that clipped the post before nestling in the Mansfield net.
(Goal L in FC Video's Goal of the Season).
McWeeney grabbed a Louis Briscoe effort as Mansfield made a brief sojourn into United's area and then at the other end Bygrave was first to a Masterton cross but his header went just wide of the upright. Things got even worse for the visitors on 30 minutes when an aerial challenge between Bygrave and Connor saw the United man needing treatment with referee Cooper dismissing Connor for serious foul play for leading with his elbow.
United with the extra man continued to push for a fourth. Goalscorers Buchanan and Pritchard combined to send Masterton into the area, the advancing figure of Grof doing enough to distract the Scottish midfielder and his effort was wide of the target. A couple of minutes before the break Rents worked space for himself on the edge of the Stags box but his shot deflected wide off an outstretched defenders leg.
With a three goal lead and a man advantage already earned, United seemed to take their foot off the pedal in the second half. Just a couple of minutes into the half Briscoe was allowed to race into the United area on the right, his low drilled centre being turned wide at the far post by a sliding Lewis Ferrell who did well as it would have been so easy to put through his own net.
Five minutes later Buchanan almost completed his second hat-trick of the season as he advanced onto a throughball, his initial effort bouncing off Grof and back against the United man before rolling agonisingly wide of the target.
The Stags created a good opening for themselves on 69 minutes when Kyle Nix swung in a free-kick that was headed back across goal by Briscoe but Tom Naylor fired wide at the far post without troubling McWeeney.
United's fourth came courtesy of Stags Tyrone Thompson nine minutes from time when a harmless looking Lewis Ferrell cross to the far post saw the Mansfield player place a half volley perfectly past his own keeper into the opposite side of the goal.
Just a minute later Andy Yiadom threw himself at a Rents cross but his diving header was too high. McWeeney was finally called into serious action four minutes from time when Adam Murray's corner fell to Steven Foster six yards from goal, his powerful shot bringing an excellent reaction save from the United keeper as he pushed the shot wide of the post.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Lee Brown.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video here.
6 year old United mascot Ben Griffith receiving
his signed matchball from Bradley Pritchard.