LOMAS ON MANSFIELD TOWN: Enormous Easter ahead for Stags

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Northampton Town v Mansfield Town; 13/4/2019  KO 15.00; PTS Academy Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield boss David Flitcroft watches on as Tyler Walker presses Northampton's Sam Foley
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Northampton Town v Mansfield Town; 13/4/2019 KO 15.00; PTS Academy Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield boss David Flitcroft watches on as Tyler Walker presses Northampton's Sam Foley

Mansfield Town head into an absolutely enormous Easter this weekend with so much at stake.

Still in the top three and with a better goal difference than their rivals, there remains huge optimism and all to play for with just four games left.

But last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Northampton did leave fans wondering ‘what if’ and hoping Sam Foley’s equaliser for the Cobblers won’t prove costly in the final reckoning.

Again Stags did not play well on the day, but were in the driving seat thanks to a Mal Benning corner that somehow found its way into the net after only 12 minutes.

Moments like that make you start to believe it is your season.

But Stags failed to capitalise on that and then came the kick in the teeth of the Northampton equaliser on 69 minutes.

Near the end, Danny Rose lifted over a finish from eight yards and suddenly the nerves are jangling hard again at the realisation of two points dropped.

Almost 1,500 Mansfield Town fans filed out of the ground listening to the other results which had seen Bury bounce back to form and over Stags into second and also Tranmere push themselves firmly back into contention by beating fellow hopefuls MK Dons to move within one point of them.

A home game with Morecambe this Friday would not usually be too much of a worry looking at the table, but the Shrimps have already pulled off three wins in their six visits to to the One Call Stadium and are always a tough nut to crack.

Mansfield can expect a bumper Bank Holiday crown behind them, who will probably make little use of the full area of their seat over 90 agonising minutes.

What Mansfield would give for an early nerve-settling goal.

Then 48 hours later it will be on to Boundary Park for a live Sky TV clash with an Oldham Athletic side who may still be in the chase for the play-offs if they can do the business at Cheltenham Town on Good Friday.

Stags have not won any of their last five games at Oldham, defeats including a 4-1 and a 6-1, and the Latics will have a good home Bank Holiday Monday crowd behind them.

With admission at just £5 and Oldham not being the furthest to travel, Stags will hope to have an army of their own behind them to try to match the home noise.

By Tuesday we will have a much clearer picture of what could happen and fans will be working out every last permutation of results.

As I said last week, it’s not about pretty performances now, purely about results and a good home win over Morecambe on Friday would set Stags up nicely for the final furlong.

Fans can play their part by sticking behind the side with plenty of noise and the more experienced players must help get the younger ones through a potentially overwhelming feeling of pressure.

Six points - or even four points - for Stags and the dream will remain alive, but anything less will mean it won’t only be chocolate eggs leaving Stags fans feeling sick by Tuesday.