Stags went into the game against York knowing that a victory would ensure they retained their EFL Youth Alliance title, but they came up against a spirited York City side who held them to a 1-1 draw.
They now sit eight points clear of second-placed Oldham Athletic, meaning they require a further two points to ensure the league crown stays in north Nottinghamshire. However, to stop Stags from becoming back-to-back title winners, the Latics must take maximum points from their three remaining games and hope Stags take no more than one from their last two.
And although Dempster was disappointed with today’s stalemate with the Minstermen, he believes the players will need no encouragement to go and get the job done in Saturday’s match against Burton Albion.
“I looked at the first half performance and we didn’t really have the energy we usually have and we didn’t show enough quality and endeavour to press,” the former Stags’ skipper said.
“We changed the shape a little bit and changed the personal which did improve us slightly but I still expect more from certain players.
“If a player doesn’t want to win the league or a championship at any level, at any age, then they are in the wrong business because that’s the best part about it.
“Winning football matches and being part of a group that is successful is why you should be in the game. All the other things that come with it are great but that should be the sole purpose, the enjoyment level. To be fair to the lads from the two years I have been involved, they’ve been fantastic and it would be wonderful if we can finish the season with a title.”
Striker Nyle Blake was introduced at half-time in place of fellow frontman Devante Reittie and he drew the Stags level with a poacher’s finish just past the hour mark.
Dempster was impressed with how the first-year frontman affected the match and explained the reasons why Blake hasn’t featured as much as some possibly expected in recent weeks.
“He’s only a first year so he’s only 16-years-old but the way he handles himself is a credit to himself.
“He’s full of energy, the reason he’s probably not featured as much of late is because he’s been a little bit tired.
“He’s had a hard season, he’s played near enough every game but he looked rejuvenated today and hopefully he’ll have a big part to play from now until the end of the season.”
Supporters will be able to login to Stags PlayerHD
to view John Dempster’s post-match interview later this evening.