OPINION: Lack of goals is not a reason for Mansfield Town to panic

Mansfield Town v Plymouth Argyle.
Matt Green.
Mansfield Town v Plymouth Argyle. Matt Green.

After two games without a goal going into the big promotion clash at the One Call Stadium on Saturday, Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans must have been slightly concerned.

In midweek he likened having experienced strikers Matt Green and Danny Rose, waiting in the wings after recovering from injury, as having the cavalry to turn to.

But the returning Green missed a couple of the six clear chances the Stags carved out in a thundering first-half against Plymouth Argyle.

By the final whistle substitute Rose had joined the action, but he too was unable find the net with two looping headers as the Stags made it three games without a goal, despite dominating second-placed Plymouth in the 2-0 defeat.

So who can Evans turn to now after his cavalry failed to win the battle on Saturday and fell victim to a classic smash and grab raid? And what can he do to arrest the loss of form in front of goal that is threatening to hamper the Stags’ play-offs bid?

The first thing is for him not to listen to Plymouth manager Derek Adams, who claimed at the final whistle that Argyle had dominated throughout and that the Stags had not troubled the high-flying visitors.

Adams insisted Argyle keeper Luke McCormick did not have a save to make. The match statistics tell you that the Stags had 15 attempts on goal – eight on target — and Plymouth had three attempts, of which two, of course, were on target.

Evans full of praise for Stags, despite defeat

Evans unhappy with Argyle boss after defeat

Mansfield Town 0-2 Plymouth Argyle

Evans was a frustrated figure at the end, saying he felt sorry for his players and was as low as at any point since he took over in November.

He rightly pointed out the Stags played well for long periods against Argyle and created numerous chances. He said they “absolutely annihilated Yeovil” and missed “golden chances” at Cheltenham.

In other words, as any fan who has seen the games will tell you, the problem is not creating the opportunities, but taking them.

Evans has talked about his strikers, but it is the whole team that has failed to chip in with goals in the past two weeks. Ben Whiteman, who was scoring for fun from midfield in January, might have had a couple on Saturday.

Alex MacDonald also was twice denied by the keeper from good shooting positions and headers by CJ Hamilton and Krystian Pearce were saved.

For me, it is not time to panic. Yes a couple of goals in the past two weeks would have seen the Stags well into the play-off positions.

And, for me, perhaps Danny Rose is worthy of a start now that he is back from injury.

But all is far from lost after what was only the second league defeat in 14 matches — and the Stags remain one place and two points out of the play-off places.

Aside from scoring goals – arguably the most important thing in football — not a lot else is wrong. They are defending well, creating a lot of chances and entertaining the fans at the One Call Stadium.

It is not time for Evans to look for another cavalry. Sooner or later the Stags will score a fortunate goal, off someone’s knee or backside, and then further goals will flow.