The headline news is that we got three points from two tough home games played this week, keeping us among the play-off contenders.

Behind that headline lies the detail. On Saturday we were out-played by impressive Portsmouth and painfully lost 4-0. Everyone at the stadium understood that our injury-ravaged side had played a team who were in full flow and peaking in time for a promotion charge.

Pompey had quality all over the pitch and made it count.

On the rebound we faced Mansfield on Tuesday, badly needing to rediscover our belief. The first half was a good spectacle, with both sides having chances and committing players to attack.

We edged ahead 2-0 by the interval, thanks to brilliant play by Murray, Dickenson, and Szmodics - the latter two players getting the goals.

Mansfield were interesting opponents.

Pugnacious manager Steve Evans has turned them into a top ten team and they are at their highest point in many years, but they are not without problems.

They are on a bad run and haven’t scored in four games.

Possession of the ball is running at about 60 per cent in their favour, but they are missing chances they create.

Mansfield striker Matt Green looked a player on Tuesday - until he got within sight of goal, when his nerve deserted him.

A lesser player, but better finisher, would be of more value to the team.

But let’s talk about the first half, because it provided most of the good memories.

We worked like mad, chasing the ball down all over the pitch with Szmodics and Rekeil Pyke prominent, never giving Mansfield an inch.

We looked what we are: a very young and very honest side - it was good to watch. The two goals which won us the game were the result of moments of class.

Firstly Sean Murray in flight played the ball of the night, early, on the full, out to Brennan Dickenson. It was the confident pass of a player feeling good about himself, as it could have easily gone very wrong.

Sean looked an able deputy for Craig Slater, which is high praise.

A full-back standing his ground with space to attack behind him, is always a sitting duck for Dickenson.

This time Brennan cut inside on to his weaker right foot.

I hardly had time to say ‘he’s on his wrong foot’ before he pulled the trigger and the ball was fired into the far corner of the goal, via the post. The gods smiled on us and the ball rippled the evening dew off the net.

With his tail up, Dickenson then produced an exquisite ball into the box which Sammie Szmodics took superbly and fired home.

I have had long arguments with people whose opinion I respect, on the question of whether Sammie is a natural goal scorer.

He has shown in the under-18s and under-21s he is a player who can go cold in front of goal and not tense-up and he is now showing this quality at first team level.

He missed a few chances when he first came into the side but he’s found his feet.

It’s all a question of self-belief.

The South Stand loves Sammie and I am sure the songs and chants lift him considerably.

At half-time we clearly decided to shut up shop, defying toothless Mansfield to score against us, hoping to hit them on the break.

The important part of the game plan was to defend our goal and our advantage. That bit worked well, with fortune favouring us.

The second part of the plan was to catch Mansfield short at the back, and that part of the plan fell completely flat.

We were transformed into a side with gallant players behind the ball, but with little to offer going forward.

Rekeil Pyke disappeared into a compacted midfield and Chris Porter ran his legs off for 45 minutes, chasing long balls that he was never going to get to first.

The end (three points) justified the means, as Mansfield battered us but never broke us.

Should we always fall into a defensive shape when we establish a two goal lead? No, no, no.

But could we have kept up the work rate high up the pitch from the first half? Definitely not.

So maybe the tactics were the best way to secure the three points. Had we scored a couple of goals on the break there could have been no argument whatsoever.