Mansfield Town slowly climbing the table at long last says happy boss John Dempster

John Dempster.
John Dempster.

Mansfield Town manager John Dempster was not getting carried away, but believes his side are slowly but surely clicking into gear after today’s 2-1 win at Walsall.

He also had high praise for the 877 away fans who helped see them over the line.

“What an outstanding support we had today,” he smiled.

“At the end the noise was echoing around the stadium and it was a joy to be a part of.

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“We’ve been to Carlisle and won, we’ve been to Grimsby and won, now we’ve come to Walsall – who were in League One last season – and won.

“I am probably annoyed with myself that I have only got the team to this point now. I wanted to get them to this point sooner.

“I am not saying we are going to go on and win every game because we’ve won this afternoon. But there’s definitely been a change in energy – probably since the Cambridge game.

“We hit rock bottom but we are now slowly bouncing up the table.

“But I won’t get carried away. We have to back these away wins up at home as our home form has not been good enough.”

He added: “There are little things that go for you – the rub of the green – in the game. Conrad Logan makes an excellent save and we go straight up the other end and make it 2-1.

“We were disappointed with the goal we conceded late in the first half as, at times in that half, we had controlled the game. So it was another sucker punch to concede. But I thought the players were excellent today – and that was matched by the supporters.”

Dempster had some nice words for his opposite number, Darrell Clarke, the ex-Stags player.

“Darrell is another young manager who I think has got a bright future. He is more experienced than myself and he’s had a lot of success already,” he said.

“He is somebody I really respect in the game.

“Walsall are probably in a transition at the minute. I read his press in the week and he was quite critical of his players.

“He is trying to change things that obviously weren’t right with Walsall going down last season.

“We wish him well. He is a Mansfield lad – a good lad – and I am sure they will pick up over the coming weeks.”

Otis Khan provided the first goal with his cross and was Stags’ man of the match.

“I thought Otis was unplayable today, the way he was running down the left wing and coming inside. It was a magnificent ball in for the first goal – they are bread and butter for Cooky (Andy Cook),” said Dempster.

“I was pleased with Cooky today too. When you return to your old club it can be difficult and you can be too motivated. But I thought he handled himself well today and I am sure he enjoyed his goal celebration.

“He got a bit of stick today but the best answer to that is always winning football matches.”

On Alex MacDonald’s winner, he added: “He doesn’t score a lot of goals but what he does bring is energy and enthusiasm.

“He is a real livewire so for him to pop up today with the winner was fully deserved, not just for today but for his performances all season.”

Mansfield will assess skipper Krystian Pearce over the weekend after he came off with a groin problem.