Mansfield Town followed up the impressive win at Blackpool at New Year by cruising to a convincing 3-0 win over out-of-form Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
As at Blackpool, the performances of the four new boys really caught the eye.
Yoann Arquin and Ben Whiteman both scored on their home debuts. Arquin drilled home from six yards after just five minutes, which was Mansfield’s first goal in the first half of a league or cup match at home this season, at the 17th attempt.
The sense of relief at the One Call Stadium at getting the monkey off the back was palpable.
Ben Whiteman, on loan from Sheffield United, then scored the second goal early in the second half, firing in from 20 yards, though Crewe keeper Garratt really should have saved it.
At the other end, new keeper Jake Kean impressed again with two good saves, though nearly embarrassed himself with one error of judgement when he came out of his area and presented a chance from long range to Crewe striker Dagnell.
The other new boy Joel Byrom also did well, including a good ball in build-up to the second goal, and a good shot pushed out by the keeper straight to Rhys Bennett who should have scored.
Rhys Bennett it was who sealed the game with the third goal, poking home from a corner. He earlier missed a couple of sitters. But having not scored at all in the first half of the season, it was encouraging to see him in the opposition box having so many chances.
Plenty of other encouraging performances too with Mal Benning and CJ Hamilton combining really well on the left, and the defence generally solid.
Hamilton is really coming into his own under Steve Evans and exciting the home fans. And now he is adding some final product to promising runs. Against Crewe, he was involved in the build-up to the second goal, he won the corner for the third goal, and he was involved in the build-up to Bennett’s two missed chances.
Mansfield had one stroke of luck at the back in the first half. Crewe left back Bakayogo seemed to be clipped on his way into the box but took a few more strides before he went down and the referee waved away appeals.
On review of the video, Bennett tried to tackle Bakayogo from behind and did appear to clip the man, who didn’t go down immediately. The referee could have easily given that as a penalty. That might have changed the game.
A convincing win for Mansfield yet there is still room for improvement in the performance in all departments. Stags fans are looking forward to the huge local derby at Meadow Lane on Saturday full of optimism.