LOMAS ON STAGS: First goals for under-fire pair can ease pressure on them

The passion and desire for their side to do well can often spill over into football supporters taking a dislike to certain players they consider are not producing the goods.

Certainly down the years there have been players like that at Mansfield who, for one reason or another have not worked out, despite whatever talents got them into the pro game in the first place.

Some of them have gone on to star elsewhere too.

I can remember as a kid being at Forest games where skipper John McGovern was taking some stick for not being good enough – this is a man who ended up captaining two European Cup-winning sides.

Mansfield Town midfielder Jamie Murphy - first goal for the club was a special moment on Saturday. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media.

In recent times at the City Ground it seems to be midfielder Ryan Yates who has been the butt of the stick, though few of those fans seem to see how much work he gets through and how much he is appreciated by his fellow professionals.

At Mansfield Town in recent months both Lucas Akins and Jamie Murphy have been the target of stick both from the stands and on social media.

Yet both are top quality players, who have played at a much higher level and have been trying to find their feet.

So it was a huge relief to both and perfectly timed that they should both get their first goals for the club in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Crawley Town to revive Stags’ promotion ambitions.

Murphy has got better and better with each passing game while, despite his first touch letting hin down at times, no one can deny Akins has worked as hard as anyone for the cause and is a handful for any defender. Hopefully they have now started to get fans onside and behind them for the last vital games of a thrilling season.

It was no great surprise to see no Mansfield Town players included in the EFL League Two Team of the Season at the weekend.

Nigel Clough has had three Manager of the Month nominations but won none during an incredible season in which he masterminded a fightback from one of the club’s worst ever injury crises to challenging for automatic promotion.

Nominations for Goal of the Month also failed to get the nod.

Hopefully Stags can now get over the promotion line as that is one accolade no one will be able to deny them at the end of an incredible season.