Stags’ boss David Flitcroft is encouraged to hear of supporters enjoying his men’s performances at One Call Stadium this season, after today’s win over Port Vale stretched Mansfield’s unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions.
Winger CJ Hamilton scored the only goal of this afternoon’s contest with a thunderous effort just before half-time.
After the match, the manager spoke of a supporter who recently spoke to him about Stags’ performances this campaign, and described the sense of community surrounding the club, catalysed by chairman John Radford, CEO Carolyn Radford, and the club’s board of directors.
“A fan pulled me aside yesterday in the car park and said: ‘I’m a Mansfield fan, and I get up excited to come down to the One Call on a Saturday,’ and I just want to thank him for saying that,” noted the Mansfield boss.
“I’m an idealist. I want to win football matches and get more fans in. I want to get the town energised behind it. What the chairman, Carolyn and the directors have built at this football club is something quite unique.
“There is a community feel to it and it’s really important that everyone knows what we are trying to do inside this stadium.
"A fan pulled me aside yesterday in the car park and said: ‘I’m a Mansfield fan, and I get up excited to come down to the One Call on a Saturday,’ and I just want to thank him for saying that."
“It is more than winning football matches. We’re trying to win hearts and minds and trying to get people inside the stadium.”
The manager also spoke highly of match-winner Hamilton, labelling the winger as the ‘quickest thing’ he’s seen in Sky Bet League One or Two.
“He [Hamilton] is in brilliant form,” he added. “I said a few weeks ago, when he set up Tyler [Walker], it was probably me understanding that his development curve is going through the roof.
“He’s the quickest thing I’ve seen in League One or League Two. Just in those major moments now we’re getting him to slow down and check where he’s at.
“When he lands in those positions, he’s making really good decisions. When he gets it right, it’s brilliant.
“You want him to do well because he’s a modern day footballer that wants to work harder than everyone else. He wants to get this right and is one of the hungriest players I’ve met.”
Reflecting on the victory, the Stags’ boss said that the only thing missing from a ‘fantastic performance’ was a ruthless edge from his side in the closing stages of the affair.
“It [win] feels good. I keep telling the players that it’s a belief factor [and to] keep working, keep plying your trade.
“We’ve missed four or five potentially open goals and put them to the sword in every aspect. To only have a 1-0 win is almost beyond belief.
“The goal that did win us the game, it’s important for CJ [Hamilton] to score goals. That’s what I’m working on with him. But it’s a winning goal, and they’re the special ones.
“I thought it was a fantastic performance and in the first half we controlled the game.
“When they went down to ten men, we stopped hurting them for around ten minutes. Playing football and working the ball across the pitch is what we’re about.
“I think that’s the only thing on reflection that I’m disappointed with. We had that ten minute spell [where we should] go and get that 2-0 and show our ruthless side.
“Tom Pope scores goals for fun. I had him in League One with Bury. We got good pressure [on him].
“We talk about the concentration levels but it’s not last gasp if we absolutely kill the other team off at two, or three, or four – and let’s be honest, it should have been.
“It’s a really fantastic team performance and the lads deserve all of the credit. They were desperate to win that football match.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.