Five things we learned from Mansfield Town v Swindon Town
Mansfield Town again produced the goods with a sixth home league win in a row and another five-goal thriller to see of promotion rivals Swindon Town last night – here are five things we learned from another fantastic evening at the One Call Stadium.
1: Mansfield Town's return to form is no flash in the pan
After that awful run of 14 games without a win, there was relief and delight when Stags suddenly won and started to string some results together.
But that run has now gone on into 2022 and shows no sign of stopping.
Confidence is sky high and Nigel Clough' s men are now only outside the play-offs on goal difference, being level on points with Newport County.
Five league wins in a row, eight league wins in the last nine and six successive home league victories emphasise that this promotion push is very real and the wins after the poor run were no flash in the pan from a side flattering to deceive.
Clough really does have a squad capable of success now they are mostly getting fit again.
2: One Call Stadium is the place to be for thrills
Nigel Clough's footballing philosophy is an attacking one – and Stags fans have had more than their money's worth of thrills and spills in the last four successive home games.
After Stags had to come from behind to beat moneybags Salford City 2-1, the following three home games have all had five goals in them with Stags winning two 3-2 thrillers and also pipped 3-2 last weekend in the FA Cup clash with Championship Middlesbrough.
The noise and applause from the home stands after those four games summed up the fantastic entertainment provided for them and now Stags are in the mix at the top end, surely those crowds will start to grow ever bigger?
3: Jordan Bowery is a vital part of Mansfield's squad
Jordan Bowery has never given less than 100 per cent in a Mansfield shirt.
But there is always one player at any club that a section of fans seem to want to berate and I have heard some awful comments shouted at him this season – even last night earlier on.
His goals and work rate during the lockdown season were superb but he missed part of pre-season and had to play catch-up on his fitness for quite some time.
However, he showed again last night how good he can be at holding up the ball as a striker and his lobbed finish was sheer class.
Bowery has also shown he can play a variety of positions and his recent right wing back was highly impressive.
A player with his size, good feet and able to play a variety of roles is a bonus at any club and Stags fans should feel pleased they have him and encourage him when something doesn't come off as they do players like Rhys Oates.
4: Rhys Oates' amazing burst from box to box to win a penalty was one of the highlights of the season so far
Few times at the One Call Stadium have Stags fans witnessed as thrilling a run as that from man of the moment Rhys Oates last night.
It came from a Swindon Town corner too.
The ball came to him on the edge of his own box and he began to race away towards the halfway line.
Even then there seemed little danger, but Oates simply put the burners on and zipped all the way into the opposition penalty area where he was pole-axed by a panic tackle as he shaped to pull the trigger.
Ice-cool Stephen McLaughlin then made Oates' endeavours count from the spot.
It was Oates' work on the left of the box that opened up Swindon for the first goal too and he really is first name on the team sheet right now.
5: Stags rise up the table has been truly meteoric
At the end of of October Mansfield Town were languishing in the relegation places after that run of 14 games without a win and had a threadbare squad and some fans calling for Nigel Clough's head.
The change is fortunes has been dramatic and breathtaking.
After last night's win, Stags now sit outside the play-off places in eighth only on goal difference – and they have a game in hand on seventh-placed Newport County and play them next month.
But no one wants the agony and drama of the play-offs if they can get up automatically and what seemed a distant dream at the start of November is now very much a possibility with Mansfield only five points off a top three placing and carrying fabulous momentum.
Three more home points against Walsall on Saturday will set them up perfectly for a tough February of mostly away games.