Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans was delighted with his players after a 3-1 home win over Carlisle United propelled them into the top seven, just a point from the hallowed top three places.
It was a hard-earned win against Keith Curle’s Cumbrians, but Evans smiled: “I am really proud of the players.
“We are a point away from where it really matters and we are working really hard.
“Some teams around us have questioned us - and some of our own supporters questioned us.
“But we have got ourselves a point away from the automatics and not far away from second either.
“I think we’d all accept with their investment, Luton are going to get promoted.
“I think the other two automatic places are there to fight for. We are not alone. But we can’t affect any other result in the country apart from our own.
“You wouldn’t want to play against Mansfield Town at the minute as we are a decent side that, no doubt, is improving.”
In a thrilling game, a brace from Kane Hemmings proved the difference in the end.
Evans said: “They did have a chance before, but we scored two good goals.
“Kane has gambled for the first, which is what strikers do and gets the goals.
“Then there was some super play for the second goal.
“But you know at half-time that Keith Curle is going to get a reaction as he has too many good players in the opposition dressing room.”
United’s reply from a disputed penalty kick again saw some home fans shout abuse at the home bench which clearly upset Evans once more.
He said: “Then they go 2-1 with the penalty. There are no big dramas, I’ve looked at it back and it’s not a penalty – there is no contact. The boy has dived and we’ll see where that goes.
“Then we had to ensure some abuse on the bench because Carlisle scored. I’ve never known anything like it as a manager. But the players gave the best answer.
“Alfie Potter then showed why we signed him and Kane Hemmings, who was also suffering the abuse a few weeks ago, has popped up with another great finish.
“Then we had to work really hard to keep it at 3-1, though it should have been 3-0 today. I am really disappointed with Darren Drysdale, the referee, giving the penalty. I think he had ample opportunity to see it.”
Evans added: “I thought we were terrific and some of the one and two-touch passing was exhibition stuff at times. It’s no exhibition unless it comes off and today it came off with real aplomb.
“There were some really big performances today, probably no bigger than Lee Angol. It was a real lead-the-line type of performance.
“We were by far the better side through they missed a big chance at 2-1 – the boy should score.
“I still think if he’d have scored we’d have come back and won the game.”