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Stags boss will sleep after vital win

Posted onPosted on 14th Apr

Reggie Lambe scored the only goal of the game as Mansfield Town won their crucial relegation battle with Tranmere Rovers 1-0 – and was then sent-off in a remarkable 14 minutes of injury time.

The victory, their first in six matches, took the Stags eight points clear of the drop zone. They need two more points from the final three matches to be mathematically safe, but Cheltenham and Tranmere would need to win all their remaining matches and the Stags not get those two points to send Mansfield back to non-league football two years after their promotion.

Hartlepool and Carlisle are also in the relegation equation.

Lambe’s accurate 12-yard shot into the bottom corner was the standout finish from either side in a scrappy, frenetic match dominated by the visitors.

After Vadaine Oliver’s shot in the first minute was well saved, Tranmere played the better football, but Mansfield defended resolutely if too deep.

Referee Darren Drysdale again did not endear himself to the home fans, adding eight minutes and then playing a total of 14 , during which Lambe was shown a second yellow card when he tried to act as peacemaker during a scuffle.

Adfterwards boss Adam Murray said: ““I might just sleep tonight for the first time in four months.

“I have seen certain players become men tonight and I am proud of them.

“That was a massive three points and we knew it would be a massive step. But the manager in me says we still have three games to go and we want to finish the season on a winning run. Our performances have deserved it.

“They will need some recovery in the next few days as there are some absolutely shattered bodies in there.
“Knowing this league you can never count your chickens. But we’ve made it a tad easier for the run-in. Now the boys must work harder and express themselves.

“It was probably the worst game of football I’ve ever watched in my life.

“But we knew what it was going to be. We knew it would be scrappy and a battle in such a big game. But the tension from both sides tonight was ridiculous.

“When our backs were against the wall tonight it showed what a great team spirit we’ve built here.

“If we’d scored the chance after 20 seconds it may have made it a bit easier.

“After the first 15 minutes we got a bit edgy with the football and the back four defended too deep which didn’t allow us to get up the pitch and press.

“It began to swing the game a bit. I said at half-time they’d throw the kitchen sink at us at some stage. Them playing four up front was difficult to deal with tactically.

“Although we were winning, I still ripped their heads off at half-time. The goal was against the run of play if I am totally honest, though it was a great finish by Reg.

“I thought Reggie was superb, though I was disappointed with his sending-off. I hope the referee will look at it again as he got it totally wrong.

“I sent Reggie in there to clam things down, yet he’s pulled him out and shown him a second yellow card. He wasn’t trying to be aggressive and I am glad it didn’t cost us.

“The 14 added minutes was incredible. There was nothing we could do but see it out.”