Mansfield Town put themselves in a good position heading into the return fixture of the Sky Bet League One Semi-Final against Northampton Town, edging the Cobblers 2-1 in the first leg on Saturday evening.
But Stags boss Nigel Clough believes his side’s slender lead will give them added motivation heading into the second leg at the PTS Academy Stadium.
"I'm disappointed we conceded the goal having gone 2-0 up, but we could have then conceded again with the pressure that we were put under in the last half hour of the game,” he explained.
"We are delighted to have the lead. It's better than a draw, going with a 2-2 or a loss. We have something to hang on to.
You can see with the way they play. They are going to put you under pressure and put a lot of balls into the penalty area. We are going to have to defend well to protect it and certainly play better than we did tonight going forward."
And the decider can’t come soon enough for the 56-year-old, as the Stags travel to Northampton on Wednesday.
“I wish the second leg was tomorrow as I think we can play a lot better than we did,” he said.
“I think our nerves were a bit edgy at times and we didn't get our foot on the ball and play. I think we will be better away from home.
“We are still in there after 47 games. We are still in with a chance.”
Brady calls for Cobblers’ support in second leg
Nevertheless, Cobblers manager Jon Brady insisted that Northampton are not down and out just yet, despite trailing the Stags.
“We are very much still in it,” he noted. “We’re looking forward to taking them back to Sixfields, we have been strong at home all season, we were in the ascendancy in the second half, and we need to take that into the second leg.”
The visitors pulled one back in the second half at the One Call Stadium. Defender Ali Koiki notched his first goal in Cobblers colours to half the deficit going into the second leg.
“It was great for Ali to pop up with his first goal and it was a great bit of set up play from Louis Appere,” Brady added.
And Brady encouraged the fans to get behind the team on home soil.
“The fans can help us,” he said. “We’ve been together from the start this season and we need them to get Sixfields rocking on Wednesday night.”