Mansfield boss John Dempster believes his struggling side should be encouraged by their display in the 1-0 home defeat by Plymouth.
The Stags were beaten by Conor Grant’s 30-yard blockbuster after 13 minutes but dominated the second half and wasted two great chances on the day as they stayed 19th in the Sky Bet League Two table.
“The players are despondent as they know what they’ve put in today,” said Dempster.
“But in those crucial moments it’s about individuals stepping up and being the hero on the day. We lacked that today.
“The players have two options on Monday. You either give in and curl up into a ball or you come back fighting and dust yourself down. That’s certainly what I will be doing on Monday.
“No one hid. People were courageous, wanting the ball and helping each other.
“We just needed that little bit of quality. We got into good areas, but Plymouth defended well and scored a very good goal and that was the difference today. You have to take your hat off to him for that finish.
“In terms of effort and endeavour, you can’t question the boys. They covered every blade of grass and we chucked the kitchen sink at them. We had four centre forwards on at the end.”
Had CJ Hamilton’s bad touch not spoiled his third-minute one-on-one with Alex Palmer, things may have turned out differently.
But Argyle looked dangerous and Callum McFadzean hit a post before Grant’s wonder strike.
Conrad Logan had saved well from Joel Grant, but the ball reached Conor Grant, whose long-distance effort flew into the top corner.
Logan also denied Conor Grant with a low save and George Cooper sent a free header over from five yards.
Mansfield upped a gear and dominated after the break, but Argyle defended well and Palmer made a superb late stop to deny Andy Cook.
Argyle boss Ryan Lowe said: “It wasn’t a good football performance but it was a gutsy performance.
“We have been criticised of late for conceding sloppy goals, but today I have seen a different side to my team and they really put their bodies on the line.
“They’ve shown they can do it and they will now carry on doing it.
“They were resilient, made block tackles and George Cooper has a broken nose and a black eye. That is League Two football for you at times.”
He added: “We were not great, but we have footballed teams to death at times this season and not got any points for it.
“We dominated the first half and should have scored more.
“Conor popped up with a great goal. He has had to wait patiently and took his chance today. It was a fantastic strike.”