Lincoln is a City steeped in history, it’s also a nice city to visit culturally with many a landmark – but, from here on in, it shall be known for 2017 at least as the location where Mansfield Town finally clicked.
A one-nil victory over the conference champions was certainly a sweet one – alright it was far from pretty, but does that matter in the grand scheme of things. League One football come the end of the season with a few ugly games, or missing out again but fluent sexy football?
Walking back to my car a few streets away from Sincil Bank gave me ample time to reflect on the result – it’s the first time all season I’ve walked away thinking that this Mansfield Town side can actually live up to their billing.
I could sit here and rave about the impact of Danny Rose, or the excellence of Alex MacDonald, David Mirfin or Paul Digby – but on reflection, there’s one man to thank for our up turn in fortune, a man in other articles and the weekly Mansfield Matters Podcast I’ve questioned – Conrad Logan.
Two, maybe three weeks ago, we’d have been beaten in a game like Saturday – we simply wouldn’t have been able to cope with the pressure Lincoln applied – yet across the park we we’re stubborn, resilient and battled for one another, that is because the team are growing more confident in the man between the sticks, in turn the back line is more comfortable and that, like a ripple – creates a wave.
Logan has made a string of fine, game changing, stops over the past few weeks and has started to be more vocal and play a little higher – the clean sheet he kept against Wycombe did him the world of good, and as a whole was a big result for us for the reason which I hope people see more now having defended the way we did at Lincoln – it built trust and tightened the vice.
By the vice, I mean the Stags as a defensive unit who, from open play haven’t conceded a goal in 345 minutes of football – only the penalty for Grimsby last weekend puts a small blot on the canvas – but even so, two clean sheets on the spin is good going.
Teams who are tight at the back adopt a hard to break down reputation which gives them an edge before the game has started, it’s important from that you don’t become arrogant but I don’t believe for a second Steve Evans would let that happen.
Saturday’s victory was huge for the dressing room, every single one of them gave their all for the cause and that was obvious in the reaction, I said at the start of the month, if we could get through it unbeaten we’d deliver on what many predicted promotion – let’s see where we are in three games time.
I’ll end on this, sometimes when you’re building something – it starts off a little weak and shaky – you need to have faith in the man turning the handle on the vice and allow the glue to set.
Yes, I like others asked questions of Logan, perhaps in haste, who knows? One thing I do know however is, I love being proved wrong so Conrad, keep turning that handle.