500th game is a grueller for Adam Murray as Stags hang on at Exeter

Adam Murray.
Adam Murray.

Few matches in his career can have been as gruelling as Adam Murray’s landmark 500th game in Mansfield Town’s heroic 1-0 win at Exeter City today.

The Stags assistant manager came on as part of a triple second half substitution as the visitors desperately clung onto a first half Lee Stevenson goal under wave after wave of Exeter attacks.

The Grecians had the luxury of a blank midweek after heavy rain left their pitch waterlogged, while Stags battled out a grim 0-0 draw with Burton.

So it was no surprise that Exeter looked the fresher later on in a game played on what was still a very wet pitch.

“I think they call that backs to the wall. In the last 15-20 minutes there were a lot of tired legs out there,” said Murray.

“The pitch was heavy and cut up and you could see people on their last legs out there.

“Matt Rhead is in there laying on the floor and looks like he may be dead!

“We got there with sheer determination, team spirit and desire to see it through.

“Up top Rheady had run his socks off. But the ball starting coming back at us so we just went for getting bodies behind the ball.

“The recent run we’ve been on before this week showed through with the anxiety we showed not to give the points away.

“We still need to be a hell of a lot better with the football, but we are working on that.

“You can’t argue with three points away from home.

“They did hit the post at the end. But it is all about putting the ball in the net. We did that and they didn’t.

“I won’t lie and say it was a great performance.”

Murray was delighted to see Stevenson pop up with the winner.

He said: “We needed someone to get onto those second balls, and he is like a little sniffer dog isn’t he? The fox in the box got the goal.

“Alan Marriott made a couple of saves that kept us in the game too. Even at his ripe old age he is still one of the best around.

“It is a massive three points as this was a huge game for us today.”