Mansfield Town’s watertight defence were the foundation of the club’s excellent season last time around, finishing up League Two’s meanest defence.
Before the new season kicked off skipper Krystian Pearce said his target was 25 clean sheets this time around, so to concede two goals in each of the opening three winless games is a major concern for boss John Dempster.
Steven Old made full use of two openings offered to him from set pieces to bag a brace last night with Dempster questioning his side’s will to get there first.
“We can’t defend like that from set plays. That was the undoing of us,” he said. “Players know their roles and responsibilities.
“It comes down to getting that first contact on the header.
“But Morecambe had more will than us to get that first contact, which is really disappointing.
“I didn’t feel, even when Morecambe had 11 men on the pitch, they were ever going to open us up. It was more from the set play deliveries and our players standing up to them and heading it away.”
However, Pearce did pop up at the other end and typified the spirit he is looking for.
“The flip side is KP came up with a really good header in the opposition’s box,” said Dempster.
“You want players who will go and put their head in where it hurts and Krystian did that tonight – and he did it at Newport.
“If we had a few more people doing that, we’d pick up more points and progress to the following round in cups.”