Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft said his side are ready for the final charge for promotion after tonight’s stirring 1-1 home draw with Lincoln City, shown live on Sky TV.
With eight games to go Stags are back into the top three, though would have taken all three points were it not for a second half John Akinde penalty, which Flitcroft said he was convinced should have been a spot kick.
“We are up there by merit. Three points would have been phenomenal,” he said.
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“But they have been brave getting one point and it’s put us back in the top three and we are now ready for that charge.
“It was phenomenal. The whole town came out to support us and our owners. It was a proper night of football under the lights and I enjoyed it. It was probably a fair result.
Krystian Pearce gave Stags an early lead but City were level after keeper Conrad Logan was adjudged to have brought down Harry Anderson in the box.
“I will have to look at the penalty again. I am not too sure it was one,” said Flitcroft.
“I have looked at it once and Conrad Logan can’t really change the course of where he is running.
“I think he tries to commit to sweeping it up, but the lad plays it through his legs and it’s a collision of two players.
“But was there intent in it? Was it meant? The ball would have just rolled off the pitch, he didn’t really have control over the ball.
“Lincoln only scoring a penalty here tonight shows you how well we have done.
“First half when we were on top and playing how we were playing, we had good chances and for me that’s an opportunity missed.
“We got it right. We had high energy and high octane. The players were up for it. It was a really committed performance.”
Flitcroft felt the intensity and passion of the game would have delighted the TV audience.
“One thing I will say is that there is a lot of Premier League and Championship football on TV and the football at that level is technically brilliant,” he said.
“But what we’ve seen today is a really committed performance and an honesty in League Two.
“There was only 20 minutes when we didn’t have that calm aura about us – and Lincoln do that to you when they get on top. But we limited them to a couple of shots that Logan has tucked in to him.
“But I am gutted we have not won tonight as I think our owners deserved a win with seeing the stadium full.”
He added: “We got the early goal from a new set piece we’ve been working on and it set the stadium off which was brilliant.
“We were then calm and influenced the game.
“Lincoln were always going to get a rocket at half-time and they came out and gave us a tougher time.
“They got the better of us, but we didn’t crack or crumble. We didn’t freeze on the night. The players embraced it.
“We ran for each other and some of the tackles were tasty in a local derby.
“They keep coming at you, that’s why they have won so many games and are top of the league.
“You have to go 2-0 up against Lincoln to take that fight away as at 1-0 they always have a chance being so deadly at set pieces.”