When losing skipper Ricky Ravenhill in the pre-match warm-up, Stags manager Adam Murray could be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t to be his day again after six games without a win had seen them drop into the bottom two.
But a gutsy 1-0 home win over Stevenage on a poor One Call Stadium surface this afternoon had Murray purring: “That was a great result for us and we needed that.
“It was one of those again when Ricky Ravenhill pulled up in the warm-up with his hamstring and you thought that’s another black cat we’ve run over.
“But I couldn’t ask for any more from the boys today. I thought their performance, effort, application and commitment for this football club was amazing and they have done themselves proud.
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“We set up for the game to be scrappy today and it paid off.
“There wasn’t much football played but the pitch didn’t allow and we knew the game wouldn’t allow it. You have to reinvent yourselves for certain games.”
The game was won by a 52nd minute volley from interval substitute Reggie Lambe and Murray said: “I went for three up front today with Billy Kee trying to get bits off the other two. But we were lacking a bit of energy and probing behind.
“I didn’t want to change our shape too early and I knew Reggie Lambe would get in behind and cause their back four problems with runs from deep.
“We always had a plan B and it paid off. That was a big win for us.”
Stevenage won few fans today with their gamesmanship, but Murray said: “Stevenage do everything they can to win and sometimes it comes across a bit disrespectful.
“But this game is all about winning and Graham Westley is a top drawer manager.”
And, even though the win saw Stags leapfrog Tranmere, York and Cheltenham into 20th, Murray warned: “Nothing has changed. We are still in a relegation battle all the way.
“Last weekend everyone hit the panic button as we had dropped below that dotted line.
“In that dressing room it feels like we have won the World Cup right now. But in 24 hours they will all come back down to earth and on Monday we will continue our fight to stay in the League.
“I want people to be proud of the team tonight and know they gave 200 per cent for the cause. That’s a big thing for me.
“We will be successful eventually. I feel confident in these players, in myself and my staff. It’s all about focus now.
“Credit to the back three today, I thought they were immense. And the wing backs worked their socks off.”
It was a clean sheet for debut-making loanee keeper Lenny Pidgeley on his 31st birthday and Murray added: “Lenny showed today why we brought him in as he didn’t shut up all game. He didn’t really have a save to make and he shouldn’t have saves to make with his organisation and making sure no shots come in.”
Stevenage manager Graham Westley said: “It was a fairly even game. They didn’t offer a lot going forward, but neither did we.
“I’m not sure either side did enough to win it. We had the better of the chances in the first half, although Day made a good save for us.
“In the second half they got the early goal and then it was backs to the wall for them and I threw everything at it to try to get an equaliser, but we were unable to find the answer.
“They did enough to win in the end. Goals change games. It gave them something to defend a bit of impetus. They did well to hang on.”
He added: “We looked like a side that had the number of debutants that we had. We didn’t look sure of ourselves, we looked a little bit disorganised and like a side in pre-season.
“The fluidity we were showing when we were fully fit a few weeks ago has disintegrated as the changes have been forced upon us.
“It is difficult for us at the moment as we haven’t got the biggest squad.”
On Tuesday night Stags head off to play away at Morecambe.