LOMAS ON STAGS BLOG: Mini-break is perfect time to reflect on fairytale first year for Adam Murray

John Lomas. Mansfield chad.
John Lomas. Mansfield chad.

With a weekend off and the busy Festive period ahead, this is the perfect time for Mansfield Town supporters to take a deep breath and reflect just how far the club has come in the 53 weeks since Adam Murray took over the hot seat.

On the night that Paul Cox walked out the door for the last time, how many of us would have genuinely thought it possible that 12 months later Murray would have preserved the club’s League status, drastically improved the squad and, despite the much bigger budgets of the club around them, keep Stags in the top seven.

As we enter panto season, it’s been something of a fairytale really, even though I am sure Murray never had to try on a glass football boot left behind by Cox before being given the job!

So the abuse he and the players took after last week’s rare poor display against Exeter was shameful.

Which football club plays to the peak of their powers week in, week out?

So, when they are having an off night, the job of supporters – who want the win as much of the players – is to encourage and get behind their players to lift them.

The Accrington away display wasn’t the best, but that aside, Stags have done their best against the odds to entertain and score goals throughout the season.

Poor finishing rather than a lack of chances created was to blame for the run of five scoreless games.

The Exeter game then was a night to forget apart from congratulating the opposition on a job very well done from homework through to execution of game plan.

But after that Exeter blip, it was good to see Murray’s men roar back to form at Barnet on Saturday.

That was a sixth away win before November had even finished and Stags now to marry that to some improved home form to cement that top seven placing.

Stags won the toss of the coin on the day – crucial with a strong wind downfield – and made it count by going in a goal ahead.

Matt Green grabbed the second with another cool finish and is already on seven, two behind Marc Richards, who is third in the League Two scoring charts.

A confidence player, Green is suddenly all smiles after ending a run of eight games without a goal with three in as many games and you can see how it has lifted him and his game.

With the possibility of drawing Premier League opposition in round three, no one wants to be out of the FA Cup so early. It is a potential windfall pay day out the window for another year.

But Stags must make the most of their early exit over this next two weeks before Leyton Orient visit on December 12.

Players have the chance to heal niggles they have been playing through, Murray can work on things on the training ground and supporters can have a spare Saturday to get that damned Christmas shopping out of the way.

Murray will doubtless also be mulling over what, if anything, he will asking Santa Radford for as the January window begins to loom.

We know Murray is very happy with his versatile squad, but with a long haul ahead, he must be wondering if he needs to bolster it.

Stags’ final four games this year are all against sides below them and will hold no fear for them.

A rub of the genie’s lamp and 10-12 points from those would bring a fairytale year to a perfect end.