VIDEO - LOMAS ON STAGS: There’s something special in the air in Mansfield right now

Mansfield Town v Hartlepool United.
Alex MacDonald turns away to celebrate his second half goal.
Mansfield Town v Hartlepool United. Alex MacDonald turns away to celebrate his second half goal.

Spring may be a long time away yet, but there is definitely something special in the air in Mansfield right now.

New boss Steve Evans has planted the seeds of something very exciting indeed, and I am fully expecting it to grow and blossom into something quite magnificent by April.

It is going to take some careful tending, but the roots are looking so fresh and strong it’s already hard to believe the side’s new plot in the top seven play-offs places isn’t the minimum finishing place.

Click HERE to see video highlights of Stags v Hartlepool

Evans has already dismissed the club’s chances of a top three automatic promotion spot as ‘crazy’ and is right to do so.

That comes with being a wily, experienced manager who doesn’t want to build up expectations and pressure on his squad.

Ben Whiteman is a little greener and very honest. And the midfield goals ace was adamant after the game that Mansfield can finish in that top three. I fully agree with him.

Stags have soared from 18th to seventh in less than three months with the gap to those in the hallowed top three places now down to just six points.

Yes, that will take hard work to close further and there will be setbacks along the way, but with 16 games still to go and 48 points to play for, this new-look side is only going to get better.

Six wins and a draw in the seven League games with only one goal conceded so far this year, and eight League games unbeaten tells you all you need to know about the squad Evans has quickly constructed.

On Saturday, with almost 4,000 of their own fans in the ground, and on a heavy pitch against poor opposition, those are exactly the sort of games the Stags have let themselves down in year after year.

But not any more. Under Evans they were ruthless and clinical and yet even had spells where they were cruising in second gear.

A rare mistake by Rhys Bennett almost let the struggling visitors draw first blood on 14 minutes, but Padraig Amond’s lob was too high with keeper Jake Kean stranded and that proved to be the wake-up call needed as Mansfield moved into top gear.

Two goals in seven minutes followed.

Whiteman was once again in the right place at the right time, a great knack for a striker let alone a midfielder, to make it three goals in as many games.

Then Danny Rose was rewarded for his tenacity as he took the ball from Matthew Bates like candy from a baby before rounding the keeper.

Hartlepool were lucky to go in only 2-0 behind and, despite Stags’ labours at the start of the second half, the visitors never looked like troubling the home defence, Kean again largely a spectator.

On a cloying surface, Stags needed an injection of life in their search for the killer third goal, and that came from the 65th minute introduction of Alex MacDonald for his full debut.

Within six minutes he had drilled in his first goal for the club and five minutes later crossed for Whiteman to head his second of the game.

Back in top gear and with some phenomenal noise from the home fans, Mansfield poured forwards and Pools were just happy to hear the final whistle in the end.

The positivity in town is unprecedented in my time watching the club.

People are already starting to talk about the current squad as one of the best ever assembled - and there have been some very good ones along the way.

Rome wasn’t built in a day they say, but Emperor Evans is already turning the One Call into a Colosseum that few opponents will be wanting to visit right now. I really don’t want to see him in a toga though!

Momentum is accelerating at a rate of knots and there has rarely been a more exciting time to be a Mansfield Town supporter.

Accrington Stanley provide the next opposition at home tomorrow night and many, largely males, will be torn between the two loves of their life on Valentine’s Day.