Another poor result today strengthened manager Steve Evans’ determination to improve his Mansfield Town squad in the January transfer window.
Evans already has players lined up to join with other deals still being thrashed out, their urgency underlined by a 1-0 defeat by a poor Morecambe side this afternoon to disappoint the home Boxing Day crowd.
“It was a poor performance, despite dominating,” he said.
“The stats demonstrate we had all the ball, but we know what we are lacking. It’s just a bigger job than we all thought we had and I have said for weeks now we need to get through to January then do what we need to do.
“We now need to regroup and get ready for the league leaders.”
He added: “I don’t think we were overly creative today. I think their keeper has only had one save to make from 25 yards. When it came out we hit the post. Young Rosey (Danny Rose) gave us an impact when he came on but he should score, it was an open goal.”
Andrew Fleming’s winner for Morecambe winner stemmed from slack defending and Evans said: “I am not going to name individuals but their goal was a catalogue of errors.
“If you don’t win a header, if you don’t win a tackle, if you don’t pick a runner up, that’s three things individually that will create a goal for the opposition, never mind all three.
“I don’t think they made another chance. I am not sitting here saying we dominated the match in terms of quality play, but we have just absolutely dominated the game.”
Morecambe showed little ambition after scoring and employed plenty of gamesmanship that frustrated the home side and fans.
“If a team ever wanted to stop football that would be the opposition today, who did what they had to do,” said Evans.
“But they had gone in front and, like us, they were needing points. It’s not about them – we didn’t do enough to win the game.”
Now Evans is preparing for some ‘surgery’ to the squad he inherited from Adam Murray.
“John Radford did not bring us in here because this is a squad capable of getting into the top end of League Two,” he said.
“He brought us in here because it needed some surgery.
“Every week the surgery gets more. It’s like an operation and a consultant saying I only meant to cut an inch off and I have cut half a metre. That’s where we are.
“I have said at every football club I’ve been in I will be judged over a longer period and I will be judged on the players we bring.
“Sometimes you say four or five (new faces) and you are not sure of the full picture. But there will be some new players. We are working really hard to get them.
“There is no point in me bringing bodies in that are similar to what we’ve got. Mansfield supporters deserve better than that.
“Apart from a few hours on Christmas Day we have been travelling up and won the country, meeting agents and players and clubs and that has to continue. That’s why John Radford has brought me in.
“I have just said to to the players, it’s starting to tell just what’s been assembled.
“I am not knocking previous people, that’s never been my thought process, but the Mansfield public, the chairman and the chief executive deserve a lot more and it’s my job to fix it and fix it as quickly as I can.”
There were boos from the stands at half and full time this afternoon and Evans said: “There was some criticism creeping in today, but let me just deal with myself and my own players coming in and then aim the criticism. That won’t be happening then but we have to deal with it now.
“I don’t the atmosphere was a problem. I think you have to help create an atmosphere.
“I think the referee needs to hang his head in shame tonight. He’s not cost us the game but he contributed and some of the stuff that went on today was shocking.
“But we need to do a lot more in every area of the pitch than we showed today.
“Even if we had a goal or two late goals I wouldn’t have been saying much different.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Mansfield with League Two leaders Doncaster Rovers in town on Saturday (12.15pm).
“From our point of view we can’t wait for January – but we have a game in between times and it doesn’t get any tougher than Doncaster,” he said.
“We are not going to do anything other than work hard on a team and a shape and freshen people up for Doncaster, then see what we can do.
“We will get into January and see what business we do then.”
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley said: “I took the decision not to bring the players in yesterday so players could spend time with their families.
“I wondered if it was the best thing, but if you give the players something they have to give you something back in return and today they gave everything for the cause. “They were superb from the first minute.
“We could have played better with the ball, but Mansfield make it hard for you. They are strong, competitive and get in your face.
“They are a massive side and we thought we might come unstuck against that, especially at set plays, but our players battled and put their bodies on the line.
“Barry Roche came and gathered crosses and was excellent in goal.
“As a group they defended really well and if we lost the first ball we reacted really well to the second ball. It was all hands to the pump at times.
“It looked like the chance when they hit the post was offside, but I will have to see it again. Sometimes that is the bit of luck you get, but we had other chances to wrap the game up.
“We could have been better on the counter attack, but to come away from home and win 1-0 against a team like this who are so strong and physical and have the new manager syndrome. I can’t give enough credit to the players and I am made up for everyone who travelled here to support us on Boxing Day.
“Everyone connected with the club deserves a massive pat on the back.”