LOMAS ON STAGS: Mansfield limp on towards end of a season to forget

Mansfield Town continued to limp towards the end of a disappointing season with a single point over the two Easter games.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 11:29 am
Mansfield manager Nigel Clough

But manager Nigel Clough continues to learn much about the squad he has inherited and what he needs to bring in over the summer ahead of Friday's visit of Newport County.

From Good Friday’s post match comments about the amount of mistakes he sounds like he may have made up his mind on many already.

The Stags could certainly be proud of their display at Exeter on Monday where a clean sheet and a point saw them restrict the Grecians to only one real chance.

After the litany of errors that saw them gift Leyton Orient a 2-0 win at the One Call Stadium on Good Friday, Monday was a much improved 90 minutes.

Clough had told his side that, if they are unable to win a game, then at least don't lose it – and so it proved at Exeter.

But it is that lack of goals that must dictate the players at the top of Clough's summer wanted list.

Sending big earners Nicky Maynard and Andy Cook out on loan in a season in which survival was deemed the main aim was understandable and allowed Jordan Bowery and Jamie Reid to flourish as a pair for a time.

But Reid has gone off the boil again, January window loan signing Oliver Sarkic has returned to Blackpool injured after barely kicking a ball for the club and options are severely limited.

Mansfield have now not won in seven games and have failed to score in four of them.

With a 10 point gap to the drop zone and only seven games left for the bottom two to play catch-up, Stags should be safe.

But Clough and the fans will all breath much easier once they can add the five points needed to reach the magic 50-point mark and hope they can begin overtures to locate and sign a goalscorer or two.

In the meantime Stags have another Friday game to tackle this week with the visit of promotion-chasing Newport County.

The Welsh club's ambitions of a top three automatic promotion place had looked to be fading with three defeats in a row before Stags loanee Maynard's goal saw them beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 on Monday, ending promotion rivals Bolton's proud 14-game unbeaten run

They arrive at the One Call Stadium in the seventh and final play-off place but still only four points off the top three with everything to play for.