LOMAS ON MANSFIELD TOWN: Luck out again as pressure mounts on Stags manager John Dempster

Picture Jez Tighe/AHPIX LTD, Football, Sky Bet League Two, Mansfield Town v Plymouth Argyle, One Call Stadium, Mansfield, UK, 28/09/19, K.O 3pm'''Mansfield Town Manager John Dempster after the defeat against Plymouth'''Howard Roe>07973739229
Picture Jez Tighe/AHPIX LTD, Football, Sky Bet League Two, Mansfield Town v Plymouth Argyle, One Call Stadium, Mansfield, UK, 28/09/19, K.O 3pm'''Mansfield Town Manager John Dempster after the defeat against Plymouth'''Howard Roe>07973739229

It never rains, it just pours they say.

That is certainly the case at Mansfield Town right now.

The rains certainly came down on John Dempster in more ways than one on Saturday as the Stags manager lost two of his key players pre-match before watching his struggling side pipped 1-0 in awful conditions by a wonder goal on a sodden pitch against Plymouth Argyle.

Inevitably the Stags were booed off after a fourth game without a win, despite an improved second half.

Sadly they just didn’t have enough quality in the last third or work the keeper enough to get the crowd back onside after a poor first half in which Argyle deserved their lead.

Dempster had been in such good spirits at the midweek press conference, having seen his side’s general performances improve in the previous two games.

He praised defender Hayden White for his impressive return from long term injury and was all set to welcome back Bobby Olejnik into the fold on Saturday after his nine-month lay-off, which he said was a big boost to everyone at the club.

So to lose White, admitted to hospital with serious stomach pains, and the unlucky Olejnik, with a dislocated finger in training, you start to wonder how many black cats Dempster has run over or how many mirrors he has broken.

No criticism could be levelled at some of the players on Saturday with Alex MacDonald and Otis Khan covering every blade of grass and the Stags largely defending well against a good Argyle side.

So it wasn’t a surprise when fans booed the substitution of Khan as a desperate Dempster went for broke by throwing a fourth centre forward onto the pitch.

Conrad Logan made the two saves he was called upon to make as well.

But the midfield simply could not produce enough quality for the forwards to feed off with Mal Benning’s usual imperious set piece delivery often failing to even get over the first man.

It was also an afternoon to forget for CJ Hamilton who will have few Championship clubs continuing to pursue their interest in him on that showing.

As dangerous as he looked at Port Vale, he looked poor on Saturday - too easily dispossessed and unable to shake the shackles of the Argyle defenders.

He also failed in his one big, potential match-defining moment

Had Hamilton taken his third minute one-on-one chance we might have had a very different afternoon.

Sent clear by a fine Danny Rose pass, Hamilton’s touch was awful and a golden chance to lift the pressure off the team and the manager went begging as the ball rolled harmlessly into the arms of Alex Palmer.

It was a key moment of the afternoon and, possibly, of Dempster’s battle to win over his critics.

Once again some spectators over-stepped the mark with some nasty abuse at the end.

But, with just two wins in his first 13 games and 19th in the table, Dempster has been in the game long enough to know the rest of the shouts for him to go so quickly into his career as a manager are inevitable.

Fans do not care about long term strategies. They care about results and league placings and patience is in short supply in the modern world.

Thankfully for the managers the club owners have a little more patience and do not pull the trigger at the first signs of crowd unrest, though that patience is far from inexhaustible.

Being a Football League manager really is a horrible job and I have no idea why anyone would want to suffer it with so few managers ever able to actually able to achieve anything in a season.

Dempster is a club stalwart. But it doesn’t take long to lose your love affair and status with fans once you are in the hot seat – ask Adam Murray or George Foster.

Another week of hard work and self-examination awaits at the training ground before a roll call of available bodies for the tough-looking trip to in-form Grimsby Town, who rose into the play-off places with a superb 3-1 win at Exeter City last weekend.

Ex-Stags goalscoring legend Matt Green was on the bench for that one but will relish the thought a chance of rocking his former club once more as he did as a Lincoln man.

Anything gained there will be a bonus and Dempster will then have a Leasing.com Trophy tie with Crewe to experiment with ahead of what could be a highly-charged home game with Oldham the weekend after next as the pressure on him mounts.