Nothing is ever simple — it is the Mansfield Town way!

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Was it former manager Keith Curle who said there is a hard way, an easy way and a Mansfield Town way?

Whoever it was, that is once again so true for the Stags as they try to achieve the dream of promotion to League One this season.

Mansfield Town v Milton Keynes.'David Flitcroft.

Mansfield Town v Milton Keynes.'David Flitcroft.

There is no getting away from the fact that Saturday’s 1-0 defeat in the winner-takes-all automatic promotion clash at MK Dons was a big let down — and that is an understatement — for the club, the players, the management, the owners and the massive travelling army of amber and blue.

The fans — officially the largest number for any Stags away league match, and the largest Mansfield following since 5,500 went to Newcastle United in the FA Cup in 2006 if you discount the FA Trophy final at Wembley — stuck with the side through the 100 odd minutes in total at MK Dons.

They deserved better, they deserved to see a better oerformance in the first half and they deserved to see more chances created.

There was a lack of quality going forward and too many hopeful balls lumped forward — not what we have come to expect in the successful periods of this season.

Remarkably, despite missing out on automatic promotion the Stags have conceded fewer goals than anyone, 41 — a testament to the defence that was again in good form at MK Dons though.

However, let’s not forget why the Stags have been contesting promotion all season — because they have good players who, when they get it right, are capable of beating any team in League Two.

They have missed out on one cup final — the defeat at MK Dons — but unlike most beaten cup finalists, they have an immediate chance to put that right, go again and still win the ultimate prize... promotion to League Two.

They also have the pedigree to progress through what has become known as the lottery of the play-offs.

Over the course of the season the Stags have beaten the three other teams in the play-offs — Newport, Forest Green and Tranmere — at home, and drawn at Forest Green and Tranmere.Their only defeat was 1-0 at Newport.

A repeat of that form and the Stags will be at Wembley at the end of May and in League Two next season.

Of course, current momentum is with Newport — the Stags have lost three on the trot, while the Welsh side are unbeaten in 10 matches.

But surely that also means they are due a defeat, while the Stags are due a win?

Thursday night in Wales would be the perfect time to end this disastrous run of losses — a decent result there and One Call Stadium will again be packed to the rafters on Sunday for the second leg of the semi-final.

It promises to be a nerve-wracking, but exciting week ahead.

Chief executive Carolyn Radford, who has urged fans to send video messages of support to the players, is right when she says it is not the time to be negative.

It is also not the time to start questioning the manager — even though the selection of Alex MacDonald at right wing back, for example, was a surprise on Saturday.

It is time to stick behind the players for the next 180 minutes and cheer them on to Wembley.