Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray was delighted to see his players answer their critics with a second away win in five days as Chris Beardsley’s goal saw them win 1-0 at Crawley Town today.
Despite it only being the first time all season they had lost back-to-back League Two games last Saturday, the players were booed off after a disappointing 2-0 home loss to Luton with Murray taking some vicious personal abuse.
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However, Stags have now won eight games on the road this season and made it six points out of six this week.
“I was pleased with the character we showed,” said Murray.
“Some of these players were questioned last weekend – how I don’t know. How they can question us at the minute I don’t know. But the comeback from the boys has been incredible.
“To show that character and desire not to give up, even in the last six or seven minutes here when we were on our last legs and we were physically gone. But we mentally stuck in there.”
Stags were left clutching on at the end after striker Matt Green was red-carded for a second bookable offence.
“We were hanging on for the last five or six minutes and down to 10 men, but I think by half-time the game should have been out of sight,” said Murray.
“It was down to our lack of ruthlessness as we created some really good chances.
“I think I would probably call that a League Two performance, we were solid, we did the scrappy bits, we made them defend, we were organised and disciplined and we deserved the win.
“We had a few one-on-ones with Greeny and Blairy (Matty Blair), and we’ve had shots blocked on the line. So overall it was a really pleasing performance and another building block from Tuesday night.”
On the red card, he said: “I was frustrated as it could have cost us if we are being totally honest.
“The biggest disappointment is for his team mates as they are not going to have him in the team next week. He has to learn from it. It doesn’t matter how old you are.
“We all get frustrated but sometimes you’ve got to keep your calm and kick the cat when you get home, so to speak. But we have a small squad and it gives someone an opportunity.”
The game saw a return from injury for left back Mal Benning, who lasted 85 minutes before coming off with cramp.
“It’s a real emotional rollercoaster for me with Mal as I see how hard he’s worked in his rehab,” said Murray.
“He did his injury yet carried on playing in the Bristol game, how I don’t know. The next day his knee was all over the place and the physio said to me off the record, this is not good gaffer.
“Mal was saying he’d be fit for Tuesday, we got the scan results back and he was in bits. All the way through his rehab it’s been ‘can I do more?’, and I’ve heard he has been practicing block tackling in his living room – no joking.
“I asked him yesterday how confident are you of starting and he said put me in. I will give you everything I’ve got though I don’t know how long I am going to last.
“I spoke to the physios and they are not going to be happy as they told me 60 minutes as we were risking other injuries, so when he pulled up with cramp (after 85) I was thinking please, no, let it be cramp. So we got him off as quick as we could.
“It summed up the man and for him to get an assist as well – what a guy.”
On match winner Beardsley, he added: “I think it was the first header he’d won all game.
“I gave him a bit of stick at half-time, but he is another proper bloke that’s come into the side. He brings a different dimension to us.
“He brings a lot to the team with his personality and character and his know-how in League Two and I thought he was immense today.
“I thought his work rate - his intelligence in the shape and helping others around him.”