A fourth home game without a goal did nothing to lift the spirits of Mansfield Town supporters as Grimsby Town poached a 1-0 win at One Call Stadium on Saturday.
After flirting with the possibility of going top of the table in recent week, Stags slid down to 13th place on Saturday, though still only a tantalising three points off the play-offs.
But the sudden lack of goals is alarming and something they have to quickly put right.
Saturday’s blank took the current run to 451 minutes of football without finding the net.
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Click HERE to read a match report
Click HERE to see boss Adam Murray’s thoughts
Yet it’s not as if they are playing that badly. They had most of the possession and created by far the more chances on Saturday. But the finishing touch is missing.
There were some boos at the end, but many fans went away giving their side the benefit of the doubt after a display in which many of the team performed well.
However, for a second successive home game, the Stags were floored by a sucker punch.
They came out the traps well and pressurised the Grimsby goal, Danny Rose twice coming close, forcing keeper James McKeown to punch away a vicious shot on six minutes after good work from Lee Collins, then seeing Ben Davies clear his header off the line from a 13th minute corner.
But Mansfield were undone against the run of play five minutes later as Omar Bogle swapped passes with Kayden Jackson to burst into the box.
Alex Iacovitti appeared to leave Scott Shearer to grab the ball, but the keeper was a fraction late in setting off and that was enough for Bogle to get to the ball first and take the inevitable brunt of the keeper’s contact for a penalty.
His finish from the spot was confident and sent Shearer the wrong way.
For a time after that Mansfield looked shaken and Grimsby enjoyed their best spell of possession.
But Stags twice came close with a couple of Matt Green efforts as he cut in from the left.
After the break, the Mariners held little ambition in adding to their tally as they got men behind the ball and frustrated the home side.
Matt Green headed wide and Mitch Rose sent a header at McKeown, but despite three attacking changes by Adam Murray, no one could unpick the visitors’ watertight rearguard.
Indeed, Grimsby came closest to a goal as Shaun Pearson headed just wide with 12 minutes to go.
The appearance of midfielder Chris Clements as a 63rd minute substitute at least sparked some life back into the chase as he looked the most inventive player on the field.
Mitch Rose gave a powerful, energetic 90 minutes and never gave up while Lee Collins and Mal Benning were also highly influential.
However, new signing Oscar Gobern had a very quiet full debut, showing a neat touch here and there but faded badly and is undoubtably short of full fitness.
The game kicked off early due to police concerns over the 1,500+ away fans due at the ground.
But the match passed without incident amid a superb almost local derby atmosphere and celebrations at the end more akin to having won a trophy then just three points.
Stags now need to dust themselves down and try to find their finishing touch at Accrington tomorrow.
For, as Adam Murray pointed out, not scoring or winning when not playing badly is going to eventually take its toll on the players as confidence drops.