For the third year on the trot, Stags fans called for manager’s Paul Cox’s head amid angry scenes after today’s shock 3-2 home defeat by Accrington Stanley.
Mansfield – now without a win in 12 League games – looked home and dry at 2-1 up in the third minute of stoppage time.
But such is their confidence and concentration at the moment, Stags somehow scrappily succumbed to defeat against a side that scored from all three of their only shots on target all afternoon in a largely dismal game.
A stunned and emotional Cox said met the press after a dressing room inquisition and said: “I am absolutely gutted – I can’t express the emotions I am feeling at the moment.
“This just can’t keep happening. We have now got to scratch and bite and get our teeth into whatever is in front of us.
“We have to show improvement in our mindset, in our concentration levels and our basic decision-making which is costing us.
“The crowd reaction at the end was expected and I don’t have a problem with that. I have been here before and I will be here again. I would have probably booed myself tonight.
“I have been here when people have wanted my head on a block and everyone around you turns their backs on you and I have come through it.
“That’s this business. One minute you are a hero and the next minute you are hated. It’s up to me and the players now to prove a point.
“There is still a lot of football to be played. We took all the plaudits early on, now we have to take the stick and have a siege mentality.
“I though today we looked anxious defending and I don’t know why. It is just doing the basics and putting your foot or your head through the ball. It may look ugly buts it gets you three points.
“Even letting in the equaliser in stoppage time, you should come away with a point, not end up losing. It just sums us up at the moment.
“It doesn’t give us a basis to win games if we keep caving in in the latter stages of the game like we did at Fleetwood and in midweek against Oldham and then again today.
“We invite pressure on and then make bad decisions.
“I now have to do my job and make sure I turn this around. Sometimes as a manager you can’t legislate for for individual errors. But I pick the team and so I put my hands up too.”
Stanley boss James Beattie said: “It was an amazing experience. A couple of the lads said it was the best thing they had ever experienced in their life. I wouldn’t think there is anything quite like being 2-1 down after 90 minutes and winning the game 3-2 in stoppage time. The lads are absolutely buzzing in there.
“I always believe in them, even when we are losing away from home. The team spirit we have built up as a club was there for all to see. It wasn’t just the players on the pitch celebrating, it was the whole bench.
“I am pleased for them and very proud of them.
“I expect a few letters on my desk again about over-exuberant celebrations but I don’t mind that as long as no one stepped over the line.
“The adrenalin and feeling when the winning goal went in was amazing.
“It was great to get three points on the road when we haven’t even played that well.
“Mansfield are a big, physical side who I thought were only ever going to score from set plays. I thought we dealt with their direct threat quite well but we kept giving away silly free kicks and looked like we might be responsible for our own downfall.
“Only football can produce a finish like that and it’s why we love the game so much.”