A debut goal for Josh Kelly and a fine effort from Roscoe Dsane sealed three deserved points in the season opener at Hythe Town.
With seven players in the starting XI making their debut in the Casuals’ new away strip, the much-changed side looked confident from the off against a team tipped for the play-offs.
Former player Jordan Johnson-Palmer lined up for the hosts, but could do little to help his side when Maidenhead United loanee Josh Kelly blasted a shot past keeper Will Godmon inside 20 minutes.
The Stags looked bright in possession and solid at the back, although an unfortunate slip allowed Hythe Town to break down the wing with Jay May in the box to tap home an equaliser just seven minutes later.
The visitors remained the better side, although cautions for both Sean McCormack and Dujon Desagurante within a minute gave Hythe hope of unsettling the Stags. It wasn’t to be for Clive Cook’s men, who rarely got a shot on target throughout the first half.
One of the few returning players, Roscoe Dsane, was tried out in a wider role rather than the central position he featured in throughout the 2016-17 season. And the move paid off for the 36-year-old, who looked to be one of the most energetic players on the pitch making several interceptions when tracking back.
His determination paid off in the 36th minute, with Josh Kelly finding the path of Dsane to slot home the third goal of the afternoon in style.
A change in tactics for the Cannons in the second half did little to help break through, and the hosts’ frontline rarely beat the likes of Joe Hicks and Harry Mills for pace, leaving goalkeeper Denzel Gerrar with little to do.
Further unfortunate cautions for Daryl Coleman and Dsane risked upsetting the flow of the game, but the Casuals continued to control the game and looked to the bench to liven things up.
Josh Kelly’s first performance for the club ended on the hour with the striker replaced by Michael Phillip-Ogbuogu, to a mass of applause from the travelling supporters. Also just 18-years-old, the former Leyton Orient youngster caused constant trouble for the Town defence with his introduction.
The further arrivals of Evander Lopes and Jack Battie also worried the Kent outfit, and the dismissal of Ryan Johnson for a second bookable offence in the final minutes summarised the performance well.
Victory sent the Stags into eighth place after the opening weekend, with Chipstead up next on Tuesday evening.
Hythe Town: Will Godmon, Jerald Aboagye (Charlie Webster 69), Ben Wilson, Ryan Johnson, Mitchell Dickenson, Jordan Johnson-Palmer, Dave Cook, Sam Adams, Jay May (Ryan Palmer 63), Dean Grant, Kieron Campbell.
Subs: Kenny Pogue, Mitchell Chapman, Keane Gillett.
Goal: Jay May (25)
Walton Casuals: Denzel Gerrar, Harry Mills, Dujon Desagurante, Alex Kelly, Max Fitzgerald, Joe Hicks, Sean McCormack (Jack Battie 75), Daryl Coleman, Josh Kelly (Michael Phillip-Ogbuogu 63), Lartey Sarpong, Roscoe Dsane (Evan Lopes 85).
Subs Not Used: Sam Labinjo, Alfie Taylor.
Goals: Josh Kelly (18), Roscoe Dsane (36)