Full Time Score Crawley Town 0-0 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue Broadfield Stadium (People’s Pension stadium)
Stags Goal Scorer(s) /
Attendance 1,909 (219
Craig Priest writes…
After three away defeat on the spin accumulated in the Stags dropping out of the top three on Saturday, it was clear something needed to change as Flitcroft’s men made the trek to Crawley last night – and whilst we came away frustrated at not winning, Mansfield are on the way at least to spring back into action.
A spring absorbs so much pressure and will go one of two ways – it’ll snap causing disaster, or it’ll force back open and release whatever is pushing down on it, back into the air – I’ve tried to think of other ways to describe last night’s game – and that’s as far as I’ve got.
For weeks the strain of pushing for automatic promotion, coupled with injuries and suspensions to key players has caused our spring to buckle and not do its job, but after an apparent heart to heart and open conversation with the entirety of the squad on Sunday – the players have refocused and began to fight for the cause once more, rather then let tiredness and excuses come bursting to the surface with nine games remaining.
Judging the game as one, Mansfield should have won and performed better – at times they looked short of ideas and could have done with fresh legs to really penetrate the final third, but out of isolation – what was more important, going all guns blazing and a potential fourth straight away loss, or airing on the side of caution with a point to relight our fire?
When you lean towards the former you could argue at this stage of the season with points so tight you need to be a bit braver and perhaps introduce the likes of Khan and Ajose to effect the game – but the unity we’ll gain from a clean sheet is far more important, a team with a strong character and belief is a team who has the nerve to fight until the very last breath. Did we have that at this stage last season? No – look what happened.
We needed players to really step up and we got that last night, Ben Turner despite lacking a bit of pace, looked absolutely solid and needed that display to boost his, his team mates and the fans confidence – as no doubt he’ll be called upon with Preston and Sweeney both on the treatment table.
Conrad Logan too had a good game between the sticks with a vital clean sheet, whilst Alex MacDonald gave us that bit of added zest – which I think in front of a bumper crowd on Monday in a fixture which is so important, will really help fuel the fire.
Frustrating that we missed a chance to put some distance between ourselves, MK Dons and the chasing Tranmere yes – but all in all, our spring is now coiled and set for release, let’s get a good weeks work in now and celebrate the off pitch news with victory on Monday.
Five changes were made by Stags boss David Flitcroft who hasn’t been happy with Mansfield’s dwindling away form of late – Conrad Logan replaced Smith in goal, Ben Turner and Gethin Jones were selected in a back four, whilst completing the spine of the team were MacDonald and the back from suspension Walker, as the Stags went 4-3-3 – Sweeney missed out through concussion as per FA Ruling, whilst Matt Preston remained side lined with a knee issue.
CLICK HERE for the clubs official report.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 4-2 Cheltenham Town
STAGS [4-3-3] Conrad Logan, Gethin Jones, Krystain Pearce ©, Ben Turner, Mal Benning, Neal Bishop, Alex MacDonald (Willem Tomlinson 82), Jacob Mellis, Jorge Grant, Tyler Walker, CJ Hamilton
Unused Subs: Jordan Smith, Otis Khan, Will Atkinson, Nicky Ajose, Alistar Smith, Zayn Hakeem
Referee: Lee Collins
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