OPINION: Mansfield Town must start to build momentum
Mondays seem much better when your team has won at the weekend, don't they? While you might not be ready to face the mountain of paperwork or get stuck into the long list of chores on your desk, a win makes you look forward to that chat around the coffee machine.
The Stags must now keep that up as they head into September rather than take steps back, as a month into the season is the time that momentum is built and things start to take shape.
For Mansfield, Saturday’s victory over Grimsby Town was worth far more than three points.
Not only was the penalty hoodoo lifted, but also the players got to lift off the huge weight that their own mistakes had placed upon them, and that – with such a huge dressing room — is vital.
Football is a game that so easily becomes a blame culture when things go wrong, and with such a big pool of players that is very dangerous – especially when the starting line-up continues to remain practically the same.
Now the boys can focus more on winning, and those not in the side can focus on making a statement to manager Steve Evans on the training ground, which in turn makes those selected up their own game – a positive situation all round.
Saturday’s performance against Grimsby saw David Murfin continue his improving displays at the back. He’s now starting to form a solid understanding partnership with Krystian Pearce and for the first time all season, it looked like the back four had a little more faith in Conrad Logan behind them – cutting out the indecisive nature of play that had cost them seven points prior to the weekend.
However, whilst we rejoice in the warmness of a win, we have to make sure it becomes a regular thing and start to build up a bit of momentum. Tomorrow night [Tuesday] we face Wycombe Wanderers at home, which is a very tough test — one where chances won’t be as frequent.
Again ot will be a real test of staying switched on and focused until the very last whistle as we know they can hit teams late.
I’d happily take a 0-0 draw against Gareth Ainsworth’s men. A clean sheet against a team who WILL be in the mix at the end of the season is just as vital as the three points were on Saturday against Grimsby.
It’s about showing we can be hard to break down, physical and up for the challenge – teams know we can attack and we know that we have the players to set some games alight, but it’s at the other end where we slightly fear a mucky blot to the canvas.
I’m reminded now of the list of stuff I have on my work desk labelled “objectives for the week” – to put a twist on that, if I was Steve Evans sharing a Monday morning brew with my colleagues, there’s only one thing that would be on my “objectives for the month” – and that’s to stay unbeaten.
If we achieve that goal, the train will have gathered some momentum and at last that feeling that Mansfield Town CAN be the team that wins promotion, may just formulate with a little more confidence.