LOMAS ON STAGS: Cup run could kickstart a season of success

Steve Evans (Manager) (C) of Mansfield Town enters the field ahead of the match vs Shaw Lane AFC during the FA Cup match between Shaw Lane AFC and Mansfield Town at Sheerien Park, Barnsley, England on 4 November 2017. Photo by Stephen Gaunt/PRiME Media Images
Steve Evans (Manager) (C) of Mansfield Town enters the field ahead of the match vs Shaw Lane AFC during the FA Cup match between Shaw Lane AFC and Mansfield Town at Sheerien Park, Barnsley, England on 4 November 2017. Photo by Stephen Gaunt/PRiME Media Images

Two immaculate finishes from Danny Rose have left us all daydreaming about tonight’s FA Cup draw and its significance on the season ahead.

Rose’s quickfire double saw off plucky Shaw Lane Association in Saturday’s first round tie to book a ball in tonight’s second round draw.

People sometimes see cup runs as an annoying distraction from the bread and butter of the league.

But look back at the run the Stags went on last time they got to the third round, despite the home defeat by Liverpool.

The tie brought them international media coverage, glowing plaudits, lots of cash and a rush of self-belief that saw them win 20 of their last 24 games to end up champions.

We all know there is enough in that dressing room right now to see the club into this season’s play-offs or better.

What is missing is consistency and the lack of regular back-up to Rose’s goals, though the past record of his potential partners suggests they have the ability to do just that and have until January 1st to prove it.

So a dream third round tie against one of the country’s big guns could be just what the doctor ordered to give Steve Evans’ men a booster.

In order to get that Stags need Lady Luck on their side tonight with, hopefully, a home tie against non-League opposition.

Any home tie would be a bonus, having successfully overcome the potential ‘banana skin’ at Shaw Lane on Saturday.

The last thing Stags fans will want to hear tonight is an away tie at the likes of Bradford City, Blackburn Rovers, Charlton Athletic or Wigan Athletic, though all are good grounds to visit.

But it would become a massive hurdle to reach a potential third round dream tie.

Saturday’s win at Shaw Lane was as hard-earned as expected.

Most supporters were satisfied and relieved as Stags saw off their opponents in a professional manner.

Those supporters critical of Stags’ quality on the day are not taking into account the quality of the pitch and give no credit to the magnificent efforts of Shaw Lane’s players on what was their ‘FA Cup final’ day.

These games are never easy – ask Blackpool, who were knocked out at Boreham Wood.

You are there to be shot down and all you can do is get your head down and hope quality will win the day – which is did thanks to a brace of sublime finishes by Rose.

After Stags went ahead it was always inevitable the home side would have a go and enjoy a spell of pressure, and the non-Leaguers were desperately unlucky not to go in ahead after levelling and hitting a post.

But Stags took control after the break and Rose, who only lives four streets away from the ground, proved the matchwinner on the day.

You can do what you like with statistics and it is true that the Stags have failed to win any of their last five League Two outings.

But, throw in the two Checkatrade Trophy wins and the Shaw Lane victory, they are now unbeaten in six games with three wins and three draws and that will breed confidence and a growing belief.

Hopefully boss Evans is now starting to formulate his best XI which, for me, isn’t far off what we saw on Saturday.

If Hamilton fails to produce the goods on the left I’d move Anderson back there and bring in Hayden White or Rhys Bennett to right back.

But, otherwise it looks a great combination to me.

Once the excitement of tonight’s draw is out the way, the FA Cup dream will need to be placed on a backburner until next month and full attention focused on a first League Two win in six away at the magnificent Ricoh Arena on Saturday against a Coventry side in sixth place whose 3-0 win at Luton last week was their first League win in five.