Despite his side turning in a gutsy performance that delighted him, Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray watched a lucky deflection prove the difference as visitors Shrewsbury Town won 1-0 today to go top of League Two.
Tyrone Barnett’s close range finish on 50 minutes gave the Shrews their fifth straight win, but for Murray, it was a fourth defeat in a row that leaves Stags in trouble. “We have gone up against a top of the table team and dictated the game without being ruthless,” he said. “We should have beaten them.
We have put a top of the table team to the sword today and stabbed ourselves.
“You can’t put that many balls in danger areas that many times and not come away with something – it’s criminal.
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“Then you get beaten by a deflected shot, that’s how it is going for us.”
With tension mounting in the stands over the club’s league position, Murray was upset with some of the home supporters, saying: “I can’t understand some people’s views on the game.
“I take a holding midfielder off and bring on an extra striker and get booed?
“I thought we were all in the same battle and I want fans to support the team. I do understand their frustration and panic.
“But more people seemed interested in clapping (former Stag) Liam Lawrence instead of getting behind the team today. If we don’t get on the same page now it is going to be a million times tougher.”
He added: “We have have to work hard and stick together now. Only the group of 22/23 players inside those four walls are going to do this. Let’s be honest, we are up against the world. But if we stick together I am sure we will come out the other side.
“They have all given everything today for the cause. But sometimes you do just come up short. We have put a top of the table team to the sword today and stabbed ourselves.
“They have seven top class strikers. Give us three of those and we’d have won that 4-0. We don’t have the X-factor they have.
“The lads were shattered on their feet by the end. We couldn’t have done any more.
“Ricky Ravenhill has damaged ankle ligaments, Jamie McGuire went over on his ankle today but managed to soldier on till he came off, then Vadaine Oliver has done his shoulder.
“But no one really feels sorry for us. There is no point in me doing press as people don’t want to hear excuses or reasons.”
Shrewsbury manager Micky Mellon said: “People can get carried away sometimes and not understand what football is all about.
“At this time of the season that was what it is all about. You need guts and you need character. You have to defend your 18-yard box. We had so many free kicks come in and we defended them. That was massive.
“You have to stand your ground and fight and win the knock-downs.
“That was probably the story of the game today. We answered the questions that this game asked of us and we scored a goal.
“Not a coach in the world can do anything about that many free kicks coming into your box with four or five 6ft 3ins guys there to get on the end of them. You just have to get on the end of them – and we did.
“The boys protected the keeper superbly well and we have come out of it with an unbelievable result and a clean sheet.”