LOMAS ON STAGS: First three points needed as quickly as possible for Mansfield Town

Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Salford City was not the start to the new campaign that Mansfield Town wanted.

Monday, 1st August 2022, 3:48 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2022, 3:48 pm

Early season injuries saw a makeshift back line and within five minutes they were caught out by a swift move down the centre and conceded – a blow the visitors never recovered from.

George Maris did seem to be fouled on 28 minutes.

But the home side were still only midway in their own half and it should not have been that easy for them to slice open the visitors for the killer second.

Hiram Boateng on his Mansfield Town debut at Salford City last weekend. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media.

After that Mansfield had much of the game and created enough chances to have won it.

But, it was not to be their day and in the end it took a smart save from agile debutant keeper Christy Pym to deny Salford an undeserved third just before the end.

This was a long way short of last season’s sparkling form but far from a disaster for Stags.

Nigel Clough does have key men to return and also has a month of the transfer window to make any adjustments needed.

The manager did warn last week that, with playing so long into the short summer break to contest the Wembley play-off final and then forced to return to action so soon due to the World Cup, he felt it would be some weeks before his players could pick up the pace again after so little rest.

He also said that lack of rest was the reason for the early injury list.

So getting the first three points on the board on Saturday is important as Tranmere Rovers provide the first opposition of the season at the One Call Stadium.

With a record number of around 4,500 season ticket holders bolstered by walk-ups on the day, Stags know they will have a big, noisy crowd firmly behind them and that will lift them massively after Saturday’s disappointment and raise adrenalin levels for all.

What Mansfield must avoid is any sort of hangover from last year’s Wembley heartbreak.

That has to be firmly behind them to progress this season.

But, if they fail to win this Saturday, the urgency and pressure will increase with every outing. The relief of that first three points will be massive to all – though the same applies to a Tranmere side smarting from a 2-1 home defeat by Stevenage on the opening day.