Despite another frustrating home result, Mansfield Town have ended the year just two points outside the play-offs with a great chance of success in 2016.
The Stags have only won three times in front of their own fans this season and on Monday again wasted a succession of chances to finish off struggling York in an exciting 1-1 draw.
But their away form has kept them in the hunt and Adam Murray’s men know that a little more ruthlessness in front of goal, coupled with a dash more luck, could make all the difference in home games in which they are dominating and creating without finishing.
With two more successive homes games to come, there is plenty of chance to build on the promise they again showed on Monday.
Twice Stags hit the York bar, Matt Green clipping it from five yards when it seemed he must score, and twice keeper Scott Flinders made superb saves. But City hung on for the point and always looked dangerous.
York arrived with nine defeats in their last 10 games and may have been expected to shut up shop from the off.
Instead they looked the more dangerous early on as Mansfield struggled to settle in front of a big crowd, an all-too-often repeated trait for the Stags.
City made use of their extra man in midfield to test the home side’s new-look defence with Ryan Tafazolli dropped to the bench and Lee Collins pushed across to partner Krystian Pearce, Mitch Rose switching to right back.
The warning signs were there after just six minutes when Femi Ilesanmi drove a rising shot over from a tight angle on the left.
But on 10 minutes the Minstermen were ahead. Luke Summerfield curled in a free kick from wide on the left and, as the home back line moved up, they allowed Dave Winfield to stroll between them and get a deft touch on the ball to beat Brian Jensen.
It could have been worse as Jensen superbly clawed away a far post header from ex-Stag Vadaine Oliver on 23 minutes.
Instead, with the big home crowd in full voice behind them, Stags woke up and began to perform, Adam Chapman and Matty Blair firing efforts goalwards.
The reward came on 31 minutes as home man of the match Pearce steered a header inside the left post from 12 yards from Chapman’s corner.
Although York were always dangerous on the break, the second half was largely one-way traffic.
Flinders spread himself at his right post to block a Craig Westcarr finish before Green somehow saw his finish fly up from five yards and hit the bar after sub Nathan Thomas had drilled a brilliant low cross in front of goal from the left.
Reggie Lambe was a constant torment to York in a roving role and he also smashed a shot against the bar from 20 yards on 70 minutes.
When sub Adi Yussuf leapt into a close range diving header from Chapman’s cross on 84 minutes, Flinders pulled off his second heartbreaker save and City survived to give their flood-tormented city something to cheer.
Maybe in the transfer window Murray can produce the missing piece of the jigsaw – a high quality player who can get the goals for tally ticking by his own goals or by unlocking defences to set up others?