Stags’ winger Nathan Thomas believes his performance in the 4-0 victory over Crawley Town topped off a fantastic week for him personally after returning to the starting XI with a bang.
The 20-year-old scored the opening goal of the match after shrugging off a number of challenges before lacing the ball past Red Devils’ ‘keeper Freddie Woodman and the fleet-footed wide-man was convinced his impressive week in training sparked his up-turn in form.
Thomas said: “Being left out[the line-up] the past couple of weeks has been a bit frustrating for me, however the manager put his faith back in me today and I knew I had to repay it.
“I always believe I can affect the game but to be fair, I’ve had a great week in training. It’s been one of the best weeks I’ve had and the only reason I was in the team this week was because of what I did in training.
“I changed my frame of mind from being a bit down in the dumps and not playing like myself and I just came in with a new mind-set this week and it’s made the difference.
“I thought whatever I’d done so far is out the window; I was living off the goals I was scoring in pre-season so I needed a fresh start and acted like it was day one again.”
The former Plymouth Argyle man replaced Reggie Lambe on the left side of midfield in Adam Murray’s only change to the line-up and Thomas talked us through his goal that proved the catalyst for the club’s biggest home victory since their return to the Football League.
“I should have picked up the second ball first time around but I was caught a little bit on my heels,” he said.
“Chappy [Adam Chapman] picked up the second ball and it just fell to me in the middle of the pitch and I thought I’d take a touch then I saw the centre-half was coming.
“I just got there before him and then I really wanted to roll it to the side of him (the goalkeeper), but when I saw the defender coming I just hammered it and luckily it went in to the roof of the net.
After picking up such a significant victory that fired the Stags into the play-off spots, Thomas was in no doubt this result was brewing for a while after weeks of hard work and felt that with a bit of added luck it could have been so much more.
Thomas continued: “When the second goal went in as early as it did, we really felt we could have had seven or eight today, it could have been a whitewash.
“The boys were absolutely outstanding today and you can see how hard we’ve been working this week in training and today everything finally came right. You could see this coming for a few weeks that we’d turn somebody over four or five-nil, we could see that as a team and luckily it was today.”