LOMAS ON MANSFIELD TOWN: Gloom continues to grow over the One Calll Stadium after another defeat

Just a week away from the shortest day of the year and the gloom continues to grow in more ways than one over the One Call Stadium.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 8:46 am
Action from Mansfield Town v Cheltenham Town last weekend.
Action from Mansfield Town v Cheltenham Town last weekend.

Mansfield Town chairman John Radford had cleverly bought manager John Radford some time with irate fans through his programme notes on Saturday.With most supporters expecting a bear pit of an atmosphere for Dempster, Radford took the sting out of it by writing Dempster was going nowhere in his programme notes.What Dempster then badly needed was his players to buy him more time with a result and ease the growing pressure.Instead they capitulated to a tame 3-0 home defeat to Cheltenham Town which left the club 18th, only six points off the bottom at the start of a very tough month of fixtures against decent sides.It is a worrying time and, with even the play-offs now looking a long shot, the Stags must quickly get some points on the board before they get dragged into something unthinkable.Once again the big difference on Saturday was the defending.All three goals that Mansfield gave away were poor once more – and that is three successive League Two games in which they have failed to notch a goal in at the other end too.Leeds United loanee Conor Shaughnessy is 6ft 3ins but allowed his opponent to out-jump him, largely unchallenged, for the opener before allowing Alex Addai to race away from him for the third.The second goal was simply abysmal as a line of defenders stood rooted as Crewe players raced away to meet a free kick and bag a diving free header.In contrast Crewe defended comfortably and had more shots at goal, taking advantage of the home side's charity with their ruthless finishes.Dempster does have some major boosts on the way with Danny Rose already back fit, Hayden White and Krystian Pearce also battling their way back and Craig Davies a potential star of the second half of the season if he can finally prove his fitness.But will Dempster still be at the helm by the time Davies potentially returns in the New Year?Despite Radford's programme notes, no manager can be immune from the chop if poor results persist and many more like Cheltenham are unlikely to be tolerated.That is five without a win and, with the tough December schedule ahead, if the results and entertainment levels do not improve Radford knows fans will vote with their feet.He also knows the potential seven figure sum it may cost him to change managers at this point would not be as bad as seeing the club slide into the National League once more.Thankfully, Stags are not yet at rock bottom and Dempster still has the chance to take this mess by the scruff of the neck and prove his worth.But time and patience is running out and it simply has to happen soon.There have been some brighter moments in the last couple of months as Stags won three and drew one of five games ahead of the current run and, back in a fantastic October, won three and drew two of six games which earned Dempster a deserved manager of the month nomination.But that proved to be a false dawn as Stags crashed out of two cup competitions and then gifted Cheltenham a comfy three points – all in the space of eight days.Dempster’s team selection for Saturday’s game at fifth-placed Crewe is crucial.Even a point would be a bonus, though Dempster has conceded Stags probably need 17 wins from their last 26 games now to even challenge for a play-off place let along the top three.But, in their current position, absolute safety has to be the paramount concern and making sure they have enough points to reamain an EFL club.If they can limp, though preferably cruise, through to the January window and pick up a few points on the way, Dempster would get the chance to shore up his squad in the January window and things might look different in the second half of the season.

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