LOMAS ON MANSFIELD TOWN: Critics silenced - was Crewe win the night everyone started to believe?
Last night's comprehensive 3-0 away win at Crewe Alexandra may be looked back upon as the night supporters and players really started to believe.
For once, Mansfield Towns’ loudest critics had nothing to say as their side excelled.
We all know they have let some precious points slip away from them this season through lapses in concentration.
But even those most vociferous critics – at least in private – must admit this is definitely one of the best squads the club have had in many years with David Flitcroft’s new recruits of high quality.
And, for all their faults, the current Stags facts do not lie.
Last night’s win was the 11th away game in a row without defeat – setting a new overall club record, beating the 10 set in the Conference in 2011, just two weeks after breaking their Football League record at Swindon.
It means boss Flitcroft has only lost once in 20 League Two matches and Stags are now just three points off the play-off places with a game in hand.
They also boast the joint best defensive record in the division.
With the youth system kicking into life and a brand new training ground about to open this month, Stags fans have so much to be proud of and every reason to anticipate a bright future.
Even loanee striker Tyler Walker, under intense scrutiny for his recent scoring record, answered his own critics last night with a goal and a fine display.
Crewe had only conceded two home League Two goals all season in their seven home games prior to last night.
But, with keeper Bobby Olejnik again in fine form, Mansfield defended solidly and were unlucky not to score even more at the other end.
Jacob Mellis was again at the heart of everything as he reminds everyone what Chelsea saw in him in his younger days and Timi Elsnik returned to the starting line-up and was disappointed not to end the night with more then the two excellent finishes he produced to his name.
As we bask in the moment, we all know football can often punch you in the teeth when you are least expecting it.
But who would bet against a rampant Mansfield adding to their away run at a struggling bottom two Cheltenham Town on Saturday and extending that points tally when Grimsby Town visit on Tuesday.
That could take them into the FA Cup weekend finally inside that top seven with designs on the top three.
None of that may yet transpire, but for a few days let’s just savour the current situation and its possibilities.
If the club’s biggest critics can only complain about the taste of their half-time pie or their favourite player being left out by the Grimsby visit - and they will do - then Flitcroft and Co must be doing something very right at the moment.