LOMAS ON STAGS: February off to a flying start as Mansfield Town complete a local derby double
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The victory ended a mini blip of only two points in four games and kept Stags up in second place chasing leaders Stockport County.
It was a fantastic day with so much for Stags fans to enjoy.
We had the sight of brave skipper Aden Flint running out to help keep a clean sheet against potent opposition forwards just a week after a partial and painful dislocation of his shoulder.
Progress on his injury was kept under wraps by the club but, knowing the warrior-like Flint, many Stags fans believed and hoped he would play.
Then we had the majesty of Davis Keillor-Dunn’s curling eighth minute winner – a goal worthy of winning any football match.
Some fans have had their knickers in a twist for a while saying Mansfield will not go up unless they sign a 20-goals a season striker. Well Keillor-Dunn already has 15 and it’s only just February, and there are plenty around him to chip in let alone the nous that new boy Nicols brings.
It was nice to see Nicols come on for a late debut and make one or two neat, confident touches. He is a class player and his signing could prove crucial to the club’s ambitions.
The derby game was a tense, thrilling affair with chances at both ends but ultimately sealed a double over their neighbours for Nigel Clough’s men to start an interesting and crucial February in which they could cement their place in that top three.
Away trips to bottom club Forest Green and mid-table Walsall sandwich perhaps the toughest game of the month at home on Tuesday to a Harrogate Town side that have quietly come up on the rails to mount a promotion challenge.
The month then ends with a home game against an inconsistent but dangerous Salford City side who sit an unimpressive 19th in the table but have just won away at play-off hopefuls Crewe and then beaten big guns Wrexham at home in their last two games.
Games against Forest Green have a horrible habit of being called off so let’s hope the predicted snow and rain this week do not affect Stags’ trip on Saturday.