OPINION: Rich promise as Mansfield Town show they can find a way to win
In football you sometimes have games that can be the most boring spectacle to watch.
But it’s a god sign for your team when they can come through those and find a way to win.
That’s exactly what the Stags did on Saturday by beating a stubborn Cambridge side 1-0, with Tyler Walker getting on the scoresheet for his 24th goal of the season in all competitions.
I think it is fair to say it was nowhere near our best performance-wise.
But you have to give some credit to Cambridge for defending well and putting us under pressure, especially in the last 10 minutes of the match.
It was never going to be an easy game, as they are still fighting to ensure they stay up, which in my opinion I think they will.
Also in midweek they disposed of Bury at their place 3-0, so it shows you how much of a threat they were.
The frustrating thing for me was every time we played long balls they dealt with every header, mainly by George Taft, who for me was their man of the match and hardly put a foot wrong for them. The first half was poor from both sides, as neither team really tested each other.
I thought Ben Turner had his best game for us, before being brought off, as he was first to every ball and looked commanding at the back.
The performance just lacked creativity, as we didn’t have one shot on target, showing how much we needed to improve in the second half.
Credit to boss David Flitcroft in the second half as the substitutions he made changed the game for us and ultimately we went on to win it.
Jacob Mellis did well to win the ball back for Mansfield and put in a through ball to Walker on the left hand side, which he slotted home, giving the keeper no chance.
At that point the game was far from over, as Cambridge did put us under pressure, but all the lads put in a shift to ensure we kept a clean sheet and came away with the three points.
It was great seeing Danny Rose back, who put in a good performance, winning most headers and adding that extra energy up front.
Without putting too much pressure on him, he could play a huge part in these last five games.
It is difficult signalling anyone out as all the lads put a shift in, no more so than Willem Tomlinson.
Since he has been in the club, he has been known as ‘Mini Bish’ and it’s easy to see why, as he runs his socks off and gives it his all.
Even though he has only been at the club a matter of months, he has already made a good impression with the fans and players alike.
The same can be said for Conrad Logan, who did his job when called upon and made a good save near the end, which was a big moment in the match.
With five games to go, it is looking promising for the Stags, as we have moved to up to second and are starting to hit a bit of form.
Every team goes through a patch where they don’t get the results, but it’s how you react to that and so far it seems as though we have come through that and started to hit form at the right time. Having said that we still can’t get too carried away, as there is still a way to go yet and football can be a strange game.
Even so, you can’t help but feel we now have a big chance to achieve our aim this season.