OPINION: More goals needed for Mansfield Town’s promotion push

Kane Hemmings of Mansfield Town celebrates scoring during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Mansfield Town and Stevenage at the One Call Stadium, Mansfield, England on 18 November 2017. Photo by Leila Coker / PRiME Media Images.
Kane Hemmings of Mansfield Town celebrates scoring during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Mansfield Town and Stevenage at the One Call Stadium, Mansfield, England on 18 November 2017. Photo by Leila Coker / PRiME Media Images.

When John Radford opened his cheque book in the summer for Steve Evans to build a squad to challenge for promotion, goalscorers were high on the flamboyant manager’s shopping list.

The previous season’s rollercoaster had seen the Stags arguably miss out on the play-offs because of a lack of goals.

So Evans was determined to address that problem — and immediately brought in promotion-winning forward Jimmy Spencer from Plymouth Argyle alongside retaining Danny Rose.

Lee Angol, from Peterborough United.

In June, Omari Sterling-James, perhaps one more for the future, came from non-league Solihull Moors.

A club record bid, rumoured to be for Sheffield United’s James Hanson, was rejected and Scunthorpe’s Tom Hopper was thought to be a target as well. It all raised expectations among the fans.

So there was some relief when, after the season started, Evans managed to secure the loan services of Oxford goalscorer Kane Hemmings.

No doubt Evans and the fans hoped Hemmings would continue his career record of scoring at a ratio of every other game.

But how have the striker and his fellow new forwards done in the amber and blue so far?

Frustratingly it took Hemmings two months to notch his first league goal for the Stags, despite playing well.

Since then he should have been more clinical, but the goals still began to flow before injury struck with him having scored four from 14 league appearances ahead of opening the scoring on his return in the 2-1 win over Morecambe on Saturday.

Frustrating is the word around Angol too as, after four early goals from nine league starts, injury also hampered his progress.

Spencer is another who has worked hard but, with limited opportunities in just three league starts (and nine substitute appearances), he has yet to find the back of the net in League Two, despite a hat-trick in the FA Cup.

Unfortunately, that has all meant the first half of the season has seen the Stags having to rely more heavily on the goals of the one striker who was already at the club.

Danny Rose has positively bloomed under Evans.

Ten league goals from 17 starts — including Saturday’s winner — is a decent return.

But I wonder if Evans will be looking to add further firepower in the transfer window.

For despite being just three points off the automatic promotion places, the Stags need to be more clinical in front of goal and kill teams off if the promotion dream is to become a reality.

Saturday’s goals were the first in three league matches — Evans won’t want many more blanks in the months ahead.