Stags' skipper Zander Diamond expressed his delight at returning to action as he scored the only goal of the game in tonight's 1-0 win over Everton U23s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
After a goalless first half, Stags got the reward their domination deserved in the second period as Diamond headed home winger Alfie Potter's corner in the 81st minute.
Tonight's match was the former Northampton Town defender's first appearance in over two months due to a groin strain, and the Scot was delighted to be back in action.
"I think a lot of people dismiss this tournament but it was important for me to come into this game. It was if I was 18 again, kicking a football," the 32-year-old said.
"It's been a long time coming; five to six weeks of hard graft and frustration but to get 90 minutes under my belt, a clean sheet and a goal is a good evening's work.
"I wouldn't say I was totally sharp. I've got to do all the necessary recovery after tonight's game but I'm old enough and wise enough to understand that the sharpness will come.
"Experience gets me through games, as it did tonight, and hopefully a run in the team and training will sharpen me up for the coming weeks."
"It's been a long time coming; five to six weeks of hard graft and frustration but to get 90 minutes under my belt, a clean sheet and a goal is a good evening's work."
The experienced defender is now hoping to put his injury nightmares behind him and help Stags climb the Sky Bet League Two table
"With that under my belt, the 90 minutes, hopefully I'll recover well and you can play your part in Mansfield's season going forward.
"I feel like it's been stop-start for my career here so hopefully we'll move in the right direction.
"Adrenaline does kick in but as I said before, experience gets you [through it]. You've got to tick off the minutes as you go along but it was important just to get through injury free.
"The methods of recovery, you know the medical team will have me on them and hopefully [I'll be] available for selection for Saturday."
Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view Zander Diamond's post-match interview.