LOMAS ON STAGS: Defeat is no crisis as derby day looms

Cheltenham Town v Mansfield Town - Conrad Logan shows his anger after Brian Graham of Cheltenham Town gives his side the lead - Pic By James Williamson
Cheltenham Town v Mansfield Town - Conrad Logan shows his anger after Brian Graham of Cheltenham Town gives his side the lead - Pic By James Williamson

As painful as it was, results like the 3-0 defeat at Cheltenham on Tuesday night are inevitable along the way as Steve Evans tries to build a promotion-winning side at Mansfield Town.

Evans is still trying out combinations within his new-look squad and only last week said fans won’t see the best of his side until the New Year when things properly start to gel.

During the six-game unbeaten run comments were few and far between as the demanding supporters that modern-day football produces saw their side finally go into the top five in League Two where some think they should sit by right.

But one bad night at the office and pandemonium seemed to break out and the doomsday merchants and naysayers were suddenly in their element with some very harsh things written about Evans on social media.

The bad news for them is that it will happen again this season, possibly a few times.

Clubs simply don’t glide through seasons unbeaten, particularly a club with so many new faces.

Evans has already told fans there will be ups and downs over a 46-game season, that everyone needs to stay on an even keel through those peaks and troughs and should judge him and his players in May.

And, following his latest dismissal, those fans who think Evans should stop arguing with officials can save their breath as, like it or not, this leopard will never change his spots and it is part of his DNA.

I am sure few will complain if he tells Darren Drysdale a few home truths this Saturday!

However, Tuesday was a very poor result and performance and admittedly some of the recent games have seen Stags pick up points when not at their best.

But, the last five minutes aside, the home display against Luton Town was a glimpse of what they are capable of and why Evans brought this group of players to the club.

His record speaks for itself and his warning that things may not go smoothly for the first half of the season made well in advance of Cheltenham.

There will certainly be no trace of complacency when the Magpies come to town on Saturday.

They are in sublime form and can do no wrong right now.

It is a huge occasion with local pride at stake and Stags need the fans behind them for the full 90 minutes, whatever is happening on the field.

It has to be remembered that promotion won’t be won or lost on the outcome.

But, without a doubt, Stags do have the players within this new squad to halt the Magpies’ winning run and send them back to Meadow Lane with their tail feathers between their legs.

Evans is the man charged with picking those 11 players and has several dilemmas, mostly across midfield and also whether or not to recall loanee Kane Hemmings up front, dropped in midweek after failing to score in his first six games.

Fans will be hoping the anger and resentment bubbling inside the players after the Cheltenham defeat can provide a catalyst to shock County who, after seeing off their nearest rivals with something to spare at Exeter on Tuesday, may arrive with a whiff of complacency.

Derby days are always great levellers and the mental side of the game will be just as important as the playing side in that opening 45 minutes on Saturday.

A win can take Stags back into the play-offs spots and it’s only September still. Crisis? What crisis?