After this afternoon’s 1-1 draw at home to Luton Town, Stags’ boss Steve Evans says his side are still very much ‘in the mix’ for the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.
Midfielder Alfie Potter scored his first goal in Stags’ colours to give the hosts the lead against the Hatters, but Luton striker Danny Hylton rescued a point for his side with a second half penalty following George Taft’s handball.
Today’s draw means Stags have secured four points from a possible six over the Easter weekend, closing the gap on the play-offs to two points.
And the manager says Stags are still ‘alive and kicking’ as the race for the top seven gathers momentum.
“With three games to go, we’re very much in the mix along with four or five other clubs and no one expected that of us," the Stags' chief said.
"We’re probably the one anomaly in there that people didn’t think we could get there, but we have to believe and we do believe.
“We were left with the hardest run-in of anyone in the top group, but we knew that. We knew that when we walked in the door but I always thought it would be an exciting way if we were involved in the shake-up.
“We have to get four out of the next six and if we get another four out of the next six, I think we’ll take it to the last day.”
After watching the penalty incident back, the gaffer has no complaints with the decision to award the Hatters a spot kick, but does believe Stags should have had one of their own in the first half.
“We score a goal and how we’ve not got a penalty for holding our defenders from set plays is beyond me.
“In fairness, I didn’t think it was a penalty at the time but having looked back at it, the referee’s been given the opportunity to make a decision and he gives them it. The disappointment is that he gives it in one box and not the other.
“Both teams had good spells in the game, both teams dominated at certain times in the game. I think the pivotal moment, for me, was when we’re one up and we should have a clear penalty [which isn’t] given.
“It was two good teams out there – three good teams - I think the officials did well today.”
With the end of the season just around the corner, the boss says the only thing of interest is how the league table is shaping up, hence why the final 10 minutes of today’s game saw Stags push for a winner, instead of playing to preserve a point.
“I hear managers around the country talking and I shake my head because they’re talking nonsense when they’re talking about runs of games and stuff like that.
“When you play games at this stage of the season, the only thing that’s of interest is the league table. We knew that a point today would have left us a couple of points off it (the top seven).
“I knew what was happening around the country and that’s why I said I’d rather try and win than not lose. I was prepared to lose but [while] trying to win the game and that’s why we laid siege to their box in the last five or six minutes because we tried to go and affect and win the game.
“It’s served us, as a management team, it’s served us well in the past and we have to hope that bravery is rewarded in the next three [games].”
Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager’s post-match interview.