Manager Adam Murray described Mansfield Town’s 2-1 home win over Morecambe today as ‘phenomenal’ as they came from behind to hang on for victory against the odds with keeper Scott Shearer saving two penalties.
On a dreadful afternoon weather-wise, the two sides fought out a thrilling battle with Murray sent from the bench for his reaction to the second Morecambe penalty decision near the end.
Kevin Ellison had netted as early as the first minute, but Matty Blair and Krystian Pearce had Stags ahead at half-time.
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But the visitors had a goal disallowed and saw Shearer save Shaun miller’s spot kick before he denied Paul Mullin from the spot near the end to secure a third win on the trot.
“I think it was phenomenal to be honest with you,” he smiled.
“You couldn’t write the script in terms of us conceding early goals. Something is written in the stars at the minute trying to make us concede even earlier.
“But from then I thought we were exceptional. We knew conditions would play a big part.
“They were two good, training ground goals that we were over the moon with.
“But the biggest thing that’s pleased me today is we got a lot thrown at us and we just kept coming back. We kept fighting and we kept clawing back. We never gave in.
“It was that never-say-die attitude that we love to see and it’s a major part of our team.”
He added: “It was tricky. First half we had the wind so things were running through a bit too much. We knew if we got our shape right they’d play into our hands a little bit. They would play quite a few long balls that would go through to Scott.
“Second half we were against the wind and couldn’t get out our half.
“People were probably thinking what’s he doing playing with no centre forward for 20 minutes, but we had to get some energy in there and overload our half and try to catch them on the break as the first ball forward wasn’t reaching and it was just coming back.
“Beardo (Chris Beardsley) put a hell of a shift in and didn’t have much more left in the tank.”
On the two penalty decisions, he said: “First one, from the angle I’ve seen it from, it’s not too conclusive, but I think he’s got that one right. The lads were saying it was a penalty.
“The second one, I think it has struck Jack’s arm, but how was he expected to get out the way of it? It’s one of them where he’s gone to block the cross and he can’t really do much more. It’s hit his arm but it wasn’t outstretched or anything. So I think that one was very harsh.
“We had everything we could thrown at us today so what spirit?”
Murray is hoping there will be no further repercussions for his dismissal, saying: “That’s the first time I’ve ever been in that situation so I just hope it will be a bit of a telling off as there was nothing in it. It’s not as if I threw someone over the fence of something.
“I just reacted in the way you react when you get a second penalty awarded against you.
“I didn’t say anything that was offensive. I think my body language told the story, but do people expect me to be happy?
“I’ve ruined my trainers walking round the pitch so I’m not happy.
“I’ve not done anything to be specific to be sent-off apart from react to a penalty given against me which every manager in the world would do, especially when you’re 2-1 up and it’s the second penalty against you.
“I felt all game we had little things that didn’t go our way. We were a bit frustrated with the inconsistency of the decisions but you take it on the chin.”
Shearer took the man of the match plaudits with his saves, but Murray also paid tribute to his team of analysts who studied Morecambe’s penalties this season and advised where they would try to put them
“Credit to Scott but credit also has to go to Shaun O’Callaghan, the analyst, and his team,” said Murray.
“I think Morecambe have had something like 11 penalties and Shaun had done his homework with his team and told Scott and Brian the patterns and trends that have been happening and it worked.
“I keep going on about the one per cents and today it gave us a win.
“The points and the wins mean everything, but my team have to take credit for the reaction, spirit and attitude, which have been incredible.
“To do what they did today just sums up the group of men I’ve got. Nothing I didn’t expect, though, as I trust every one of them.”