Today (Monday) it is five years to the day since that fantastic night when Matt Green’s stoppage time winner at Hereford United set up Mansfield Town for the Conference title.
On one of the most memorable nights in the Stags’ history, Green’s crucial brace helped Mansfield come from behind to win 2-1 at the death.
A few days later Green’s penalty kick winner against Wrexham sealed the title ahead of chasing Kidderminster Harriers.
That was also a great moment but couldn’t beat the 92nd minute winner at Hereford for the sheer exhilaration.
RELIVE THE GAME WITH THESE VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
Green, now at promotion rivals Lincoln City, admitted: “That has flown by, but I can remember it like it was yesterday still.
“There is a lot of emotion and highs and lows in football, but that night was definitely one of the high points of my career, along with one or two others.
“At Hereford it was all about the importance of the game and the way the league was getting so exciting with us a couple of points off Kiddy.
“It was a magical moment.
“We’d been 1-0 down to Hereford, who had a good team at that time, including a young Sam Clucas.
“We wondered – are we just going to chuck this away?
“I can remember my first goal just as well, Linden (Meikle) down the left put a great ball across goal and I just managed to get my head on it.”
As the game went into stoppage time, huge drama unfolded as sub Matt Rhead flicked on a long clearance from keeper Alan Marriott and Green held off the defender to steer home the winner.
“The second one was all about big Matt Rhead and that huge kick,” said Green.
“I will never forget me and Rheady literally had a 10 second conversation just before he came on. We said we will get one more chance and let’s make it count and win this one.
“I still had a lot to do but we pulled it off. It was a great moment. I had that much belief and confidence in that moment. I wasn’t going to let it slip.
“There were a lot of Stags fans at Hereford and we knew the importance of the game. Kiddy were chasing us up until the final game of the season. I think that was our game in hand and we had to win it.
“I pretty much sort of said to friends and family that it was going to take something unreal by myself and the team to be able to do – and we managed to do it.”
Green and the squad then steadied themselves for the final hurdle against Wrexham where his nerves were tested by the match-winning penalty kick.
“By that time I think everybody knew which corner I was going to go for,” he said.
“The keeper went the right way so I had to really execute the penalty. I had all my family watching in the crowd too. “There was a lot of pressure on it. But at that point, when you’ve scored that amount of goals and you are on that sort of high, you never feel like you are ever going to miss.”
Green, along with Rhead, has enjoyed a great season at Lincoln since his summer release by former Stags boss Steve Evans and they are battling it out with his old club for a place in the play-offs.
“Us and Mansfield have both had good seasons and we’ve just got to try to get as many points as possible on the board and get in those play-off places. It’s a very tough league this year.”
Green admitted he was surprised by Evans’ recent departure from Mansfield and, although admitted he and Evans didn’t see eye to eye, described him as a ‘gentleman’.
“It was a shock when he went to be honest,” said Green.
“I thought he’d done a fantastic job in getting the squad together and team that would be competing and odds on favourites.
“But it’s football. You can never write the script.
“Obviously I am gutted for the chairman as he has invested a lot of time and effort into Steve taking the club up.
“I am a bit frustrated for the people in and around the place as they have also invested a lot of time in it and deserve a promotion.
“It’s football so you can’t really hold grudges or emotions. You have just got to get on with it.”
He added: “Me and Steve didn’t necessarily get on great but I can’t say bad things about him.
“He was a gentleman to me towards the end to be honest. We shook hands even though we didn’t see eye to eye.
“I thought I did a lot for the club and deserved to be treated slightly better when I was departing.
“But I don’t hold grudges. I guess it was business. I was scoring goals but they were happy with what they had there and didn’t see me as being part of it.
“I just had to take that on the chin and I’d like to think I’ve done well this season and proved a lot of people wrong so far.”
Green has been a regular scorer for the Imps and said: “I have really enjoyed the season.
“The managers at Lincoln are really, really top notch in terms of their attention to detail and their player management. They get the best out of players.
“It’s a very well run club. They do it right and they’ve got big ambitions.
“It’s perfect for this age and this stage of my career to be at a club like Lincoln. I am really enjoying my football.
“It could all end up with a Mansfield v Lincoln play-off final. You never know!”