Manager Steve Evans was delighted to see his Mansfield Town side finally get their just reward for recent displays with a crucial 2-0 home win over promotion rivals Carlisle United.
Stags had failed to win or score in four games and again today they missed a host of chances until strikes from Matt Green and Shaq Coulthirst finally saw off former Stags boss Keith Curle’s fading Cumbrians.
“I was really pleased again with the performance. In the last three or four games our football has been absolutely outstanding,” beamed Evans.
“I picked a very offensive team today and if I could have got another striker on the pitch I’d have put one on, but it wouldn’t have given us a balance and a shape.
“I’m really pleased for the dressing room. We’ve worked on that type of shape for a couple of days and they’ve embraced it.
“We have put a good team to the sword today and the only disappointment was that it was only two and not five.”
Green’s goal on 63 minutes was Mansfield’s first in 438 minutes of football and Evans said: “As a manger you have to believe the goals will come. We have got players that can score at this level, but they were going through a spell when they were missing the simplest of chances.
“In the first half Danny Rose hits a great instinctive volley, it hit the goalkeeper on the shoulder when he’s going the other way and you think here we go again.
“I think the supporters would have been shaking their heads again at half-time that we weren’t in front.
“I thought we needed to get the first goal today to get a bit of confidence. I said to them at half-time I don’t care if it comes in the 90th minute, let’s be dominant in both boxes and take our chance if it comes.”
On the two goals, he said: “I’m pleased for Matt Green today as he missed a couple of big chances at Colchester and took a lot of criticism. But I stuck with him today and it was a fantastic header.
“Shaq Coulthirst has got that in his locker every day to do. He cut in and the goalkeeper didn’t move. It was a wonderful finish.
“I am also pleased we kept a clean sheet. Jake Kean came back in and I thought he looked very assured and like the keeper who first walked in here.”
The only downside to the game was the sight of skipper Krystian Pearce limping off in the first half.
“Krystian twisted his ankle so he may be a week,” said Evans.
“We think it’s a sprain but you don’t know for 24-48 hours. The medical staff are confident. He just rolled it and as he rolled it the guy landed on it accidentally. He could have played on but he was just feeling it.
“So we brought on Keyle Howkins, who has been waiting to come in, and we’ve got George Taft, who the most unfortunate man in the world not to be on the bench today.”
Mansfield are now two places and three points off the play-offs and Evans concluded: “If we can take a number of points out of our next two games suddenly with six games to go we’ll be in the mix and that’s incredible from when we first walked in.
“The credit goes not only to us but to the players that were here and those that have joined us. They deserve all the accolades.”