Under-fire Mansfield boss John Dempster believes his struggling side would now need to win 17 of their remaining games to make the play-offs after a 3-0 home defeat by Cheltenham.
Jonte Smith, Will Boyle and Alex Addai were on target to ease the Robins to victory and leave the Stags 10 points off the play-off places down in 18th spot.
Dempster admitted: “I believe we’ve got a mountain to climb, but we’re not dead.
“I think we need 17 wins from the remaining 26 games.
“That’s how tough the challenge is to get in the play-offs.
“Stranger things have happened and we’ve had bigger mountains to climb.
“There will be a team that comes late, that always happens, but the way we’re playing at the minute it won’t be us. It is gut-wrenching.
“Cheltenham’s togetherness and spirit was probably the difference.
“At times it was a decent League Two fixture but they scored two very poor goals and one on the break in an otherwise even game. I felt for the supporters today.
“It’s the old cliche of both boxes. We’re leaking too many goals and not scoring enough and that’s a recipe for disaster.
“So far we haven’t seen enough character in this dressing room. Equally it’s up to me to get it out of the players.”
Delighted Robins boss Michael Duff said: “That was a complete away performance.
“We scored three goals and could have scored several more and we defended well.
“Scott Flinders has hardly had a save to make. They did put us under some pressure, but they are a good team with some good players, make no mistake about that. So I thought we were excellent.
“Winning 3-0 away from home you’re going to struggle to pick things out to criticise. First half we could have used the ball slightly better.
“I thought we hurt them in all sorts of areas today. I was really pleased with every facet of the game. We look difficult to beat.
“We put two halves together today so that was much better.”