From talk of a possible relegation battle, Mansfield Town have now taken seven points from three games and Lee Stevenson insisted fans should not write them off for a part in the battle for the play-offs instead.
Stevenson’s winning goal in yesterday’s nerve-racking 1-0 win at Exeter eased the Stags up to 16th, nine points off the play-off spots.
Stevenson said: “I think we have had a lot of bad luck recently with our results and we have always worked hard. We have never not believed in ourselves.
“I have never been involved in a relegation battle in my career and I don’t want to start now.”
“We have had a lot of bad luck recently. Today we rode our luck so maybe this is the start of something?
“Before the game we were only 12 points off the play-offs which is only a few wins. It is all very tight.”
Stevenson came up with the match-winning goal just before half-time and said: “I was due one to be honest. I saw John Dempster had put a quality ball forward to Matt Rhead.
“He gave it to Ollie Palmer, who made a great assist for me.
“I was going to hit it first time, but decided to take a touch as I thought the defender would take me out and it would be a penalty.
“He didn’t, but I was in on goal and I slotted it in. I am a one (goal) in three (games) man and that’s what the gaffer picks me for.
“We haven’t seen much of our families over Christmas, but this makes it all worthwhile. We have taken seven points from three matches and I am chuffed to bits.
“Exeter playing 4-4-2 suited us and the gaffer had done his homework. He just said go out and express yourself and pick the second balls up.
“I had a very hard training session on Thursday as I didn’t know I was playing today. The gaffer just sprang it on me. Now I hope I can keep my shirt.”