Greg Taylor writes...
All my life of supporting Mansfield Town, I have never seen the stags involved in a title race, I’ve seen us involved in the play offs but never the opportunity of becoming champions.
The start to this season wasn’t what we all wanted but since the two nil defeat to Kidderminster we’ve never looked back, apart from the 2-0 slip at Newport that is. What has been the cause of this amazing form? Our defence? Matt green? Change of tactics? For me all of those have been huge factors but one that stands out to me is Lee Stevenson, since the tricky attacking midfielder was introduced to into the starting eleven, the stag’s fortunes have changed, coincidence? I don’t think so.
After the home loss to Kidderminster our season didn’t look so good, there was no F.A cup run to smile about, and sitting in mid table and not much hope for the play offs. Stevenson then started away at Stockport and scored helping the stags to a 3-1 win, this was the start of the magnificent form we have seen in 2013.
With the introduction Stevo, this brought a new system and new tactics, we saw a different formation of 4-4-1-1 or you could look at as 4-2-3-1 with Stevenson playing behind the striker. Earlier this season I wrote a blog about how Stevenson would change the team and I was so pleased to see his inclusion in the starting eleven.
The stags had started play ‘football’, it looked a lot better. Also Exodus Geohaegan was side lined with injury and this saw a new defensive partnership of John Dempster and Luke Jones, this meant no more focusing on long throws and we started to play football. The new partnership has been another changing factor with both centre backs having a great understanding of each other.
Wins just began to come along, the fans all started to believe of the play offs, despite the loss against Newport, the team carried on winning afterwards with the free flowing passing game still intact. The attacking midfielder Stevenson acted almost acted as a second striker, with most teams concentrating on Matt Green, Stevenson was unmarked and began to net goals and proving to be crucial with assists.
Many teams have one or two players with that quality that wins you those tight games. Stevenson is one of Mansfield’s. As well as Stevo you can’t forget Matt Green, the striker has again been the talisman this season and rarely has a bad game.
Now I write this with my team on a record winning run of nine games and having the chance of becoming champions after been 11th in late 2012. The Mansfield fans deserve this more than many other fans. Paul Cox may have had his critics and I’ll admit I was one, but how can someone be a bad manager after leading a team to third one season and then into a title race the season after.
This last month is going to be a nervous one but the stags need the fans to be the 12th man even if the record run comes to an end. Even if the title doesn’t come to Mansfield the play offs will be here once again.
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