Brick incident shows players are together at Mansfield Town
IT IS fair to say Adam Chapman's Mansfield Town debut came on a night of high drama.
But the midfielder believes what he witnessed was a real togetherness within the squad that can lead them all the way back into the Football League.
He has already made 34 appearances for Oxford in League Two this season, but was made available this week, believed to be after a disagreement behind the scenes.
But Mansfield, who had him on trial last January before he had a short loan stint at Newport following his release from prison – after serving over a year of a 30-month sentence for causing the death of a pensioner by dangerous driving – did not miss out this time.
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The 23-year-old joined on loan until the end of the season from Oxford on Wednesday morning and started that night in the 2-1 win at Woking which made it ten wins from Stags' last 11 games.
It moved them back to third in the Blue Square Bet Premier and three points behind leaders Wrexham.
But the game was soured by a brick being thrown through the Mansfield dressing window at the end, striking goalkeeper Alan Marriott on the head and showering glass everywhere in the process before manager Paul Cox was spat at in the eyes.
The Stags players reacted furiously, as did Cox, racing back up the tunnel and around the back of the stand to confront those involved.
After everything had calmed down, Chapman said it was a clear sign that there is a real unity in the dressing room.
"The incident was not good and I would rather get punched in the face than spat at. It is disgusting but it showed the togetherness of the boys," said Chapman.
"Some might see it as not such a positive reaction but for me I think it was the right way to show we are together and everybody is prepared to fight for each other.
"You are not going to sit there and take it and everyone is together, that is all you can ask for."
Chapman, who won promotion to the Football League with Oxford, was happy with his debut.
With Anthony Howell set to miss out through injury again tomorrow, he hopes to help the Stags seal another three points at home to Stockport before going into matches against promotion rivals Grimsby, Forest Green and Wrexham.
"It was a well-earned win," said Chapman. "It was not the greatest game and not the way we probably wanted to go about things, but everybody worked really, really hard and we were well deserved of the three points.
"There was a lot of good headers and good tackles flying in and we were unlucky because we had two or three chances we could have converted to make the game a little easier for ourselves, but we did not take them. But three points is the main thing.
"It was an all right debut. Playing alongside somebody like Adam Murray is quite easy. I have played with him before and we knew what we had to do.
"It was about hooking things on, winning tackles and winning the second balls.
"I have played 34 games this season so it is not as though I need fitness or anything. I feel pretty sharp and hopefully I can do well."
Chapman said the fact Mansfield are chasing the title and promotion was a big draw for him, as he looks to put another promotion on his CV.
"Once I found out I was made available by Oxford it was a no-brainer coming here because the form Mansfield have been in means they are flying and looking to win the league," he said. "It fits perfectly for me.
"I have been promoted from this league and a couple of the other boys like Greeny and Muzza have had promotion from this league.
"We know how to do it and it is important we keep going about our business in the way we are, stay positive and stick together to maintain this run.
"If it is a case of starting games then great but if not, I want to make a contribution as a substitute. I am here to help in any way I can to get this club promoted.
"I was made aware of the run of matches coming up against the other top teams before I came here by Muz.
"They are three big matches which will define how we are going to go about this season so it was important we went to Woking and got the win, no matter how we did it.
"It is the same tomorrow against Stockport.
"We will take a not-so-good performance but a win and then roll into those big games confident and in form.
"It is just about making sure you do whatever you can to get a positive result."