After hearing some supporters boo what was almost a Mansfield Town reserve XI at the end of tonight’s 3-1 home Checkatrade Trophy defeat by Lincoln City, boss Steve Evans said they needed a reality check and the competition would never be a priority.
A Stags side showing 10 changes led 1-0 through an early Alfie Potter goal but allowed Lincoln to level before the break and were then shot down by goals from former Stags Ollie Palmer and Matt Green near the end.
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The final goal saw Green hit an empty net with keeper Bobby Olejnik going up the other end for a corner.
“I heard one or two supporters perhaps not best pleased tonight,” said Evans.
“But we have made 10 changes and we have chased up there in the 90th minute with Bobby. They have to put some perspective on it.
“This competition will never be a priority.
“Players who have not got a lot of minutes in get a bit tired. That’s why we didn’t make changes from the bench.
“It was never about beating Lincoln tonight. People need to get a reality check here.”
Evans continued: “That (the final score) was harsh. We were totally dominant for the first 25 minutes and it ended up 1-1. We missed a couple of good chances, especially Omari’s (Sterling-James). It was a big chance.
“We had some great play in that spell, though I thought we dropped off just before half-time.
“The second half was much more of an even contest.”
Despite the result, players like Jimmy Spencer – who set up the Stags goal – Alfie Potter and Alex MacDonald all shone to put themselves into the first team frame for Saturday’s game at Carlisle.
Evans said: “Some I think have taken their chance.
“I thought Jimmy Spencer was probably the best player on the park and I think one or two others have done really well as well.
“Some have put themselves in my thoughts. You can’t lead the line any better than Jimmy Spencer did tonight.
“It looked like he should have had a penalty early in the second half – I’ll have to see the DVD. But his overall contribution, bringing people into play and battling away up there was probably a reason why we played so well in that first 25 minutes.
“I thought Alfie Potter for 60 minutes was outstanding.”
“Let’s not get carried away – they have beaten a squad team though you can see what it means.
“We go away disappointed. But it was never a priority before and it’s not a priority now. It is a priority during 90 minutes – of course it is. You want to win all the time.”