LOMAS ON MANSFIELD TOWN: Natives are getting restless as Stags still search for consistency under new boss John Dempster

Mansfield Town manager John Dempster: Picture Steve Flynn/AHPIX LTD, Football, Sky Bet League Two, Carlisle United v Mansfield Town, Brunton Park, Carlisle, UK, 17/08/19, K.O 3pm''Howard Roe 07973739229
Mansfield Town manager John Dempster: Picture Steve Flynn/AHPIX LTD, Football, Sky Bet League Two, Carlisle United v Mansfield Town, Brunton Park, Carlisle, UK, 17/08/19, K.O 3pm''Howard Roe 07973739229

The natives are restless – and rightly so.

Two wins from the first 12 games for a club chasing some glory this season is clearly well below expectations.

Last week’s programme notes from chairman John Radford were not exactly the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ for John Dempster but were a clear warning he expects things to improve – and soon.

So, despite two more gut-wrenching kicks in the teeth at the end of each half at Port Vale on Saturday, thankfully the side otherwise impressed and did show signs of that much-needed improvement.

With players returning from injury and some signs of the team starting to gel at last, hopes are rising though the jury remains out as to how the season could yet pan out.

It seemed quite telling that the people who were shown the door last week included the fitness coach.

Bad luck aside, Stags should not have had as many injuries as they did in the first month and fans were already asking questions about the fitness levels of the players.

Where the buck stops on that is an internal matter at the club but doubtless Dempster will now expect to see fitness levels rise and injuries reduced as he changes things round.

It was also an interesting move to see Drewe Broughton arrive as performance coach to try to tackle the mental side of the game with players who are clearly talented enough to be getting better results at this level as they did last season.

Broughton made 540 senior appearances for 21 different clubs at almost every level, scoring 116 goals, in a career spanning 17 years so is well qualified to speak from experience as well as relay modern up to date motivational methodology.

Keeping the players mentally switched on at the end of a half until the whistle blows would certainly prove useful after last weekend’s capitulations

It would definitely help Mansfield to keep 11 players on the field for 90 minutes and it is quite right Matt Preston was fined by the club for his silly lunge against Cambridge last midweek that proved so costly.

Stags were on top and creating chances before his departure saw United take full advantage and coast to an easy win.

Preston had already apologised to the manager and team mates for his three game ban for a red card last month and now he misses the next four for another rush of blood to the head.

He simply has to learn from this as games and points are slipping by and he has the talent to be a mainstay of that defence.

His departure was the catalyst for a disastrous end to a night that had been promising much and ended up with inevitable anger from the home fans directed at his boss, though some of it far over-stepped the mark of decency and should see those fans banned and consider anger management counselling or doing something else with their leisure time.

The buck does stop with Dempster and home 4-0 defeats will produce boos and abuse, but there remains a limit of human decency for all and a need to keeps things in perspective.

The defeat piled on the pressure for Saturday and Stags responded superbly, twice taking the lead at a Vale side unbeaten in the league at home.

But Vale twice levelled late in both halves to leave the manager, players and fans gutted whereas had Stags twice levelled late from being behind it would have felt much more like a point gained instead of two lost.

On balance it was a good point away from home at a ground where they lost last season.

But again it piles on the pressure to back it up with a win at home to Plymouth this Saturday.

New manager Ryan Lowe has not had the start he would have wanted with the relegated Pilgrims and they have one win and a draw from their five game on the road.

With a tough trip to Grimsby Town ahead the Saturday after Stags really do need three points on the board one way or another on Saturday.

Changing managers too quickly rarely proves a catalyst for immediate success and most fans will stay patient as Dempster strives to hit a consistent standard.

CEO Carolyn Radford has already publicly said she does not like chopping and changing managers and had wanted David Flitcroft to stay only to lose out to a board decision.

But John Radford’s words in last week’s programme hinted his patience would only last for so long and Dempster’s players have to start hitting the heights they are more than capable of for their new manager.