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Stags win thriller

Posted onPosted on 20th Feb
Stags win thriller

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray has urged his players to relish the play-off battle after a thrilling 3-2 win over bottom club Dagenham at One Call Stadium on Saturday.

The 10-man Stags fought back from conceding against the run of play just before half-time, Oliver Hawkins tapping in a Joe Widdowson cross, to lead 2-1 before a frenetic finish.

First Matty Blair fired in from the edge of the area, via the inside of the post, before substitute Adi Yussuf raced clear and finish calmly on his 24th birthday.

Seven minutes from time Krystian Pearce was sent off for pulling back Jamie Cureton – though the offence looked to be outside the area – but the Dagenham substitute skied his spot-kick high and wide.

It was the third penalty not converted that the Stags had conceded in their last two home matches.

A minute later Matt Green looked to have made the game safe with a calm close-range finish, only for Cureton to tap in to set up a frenetic finale.

In injury time Stags keeper Scott Shearer was the hero with a point-blank save to keep out Ashley Chambers’ close-range header.

The Stags, who had been denied a hatful of second-half goals by Liam O’Brien as the home side totally dominated the second half, fully deserved the win that took them fifth.

Manager Adam Murray said: “I am happy with three points but disappointed with the first 45 minutes. After that we showed our team spirit to fight back. Fair play to the boys for that, but they know our standards are better than the first half.

“They had a kick up the backside at half-time. It’s a weird time of the season now. I’ve watched games recently with the teams around us and people start shaking. A different pressure comes into it now and
we’ve got to continue to believe how good we can be, and play with an enthusiasm and an energy, which we didn’t first half.

“Second half we came out the blocks and we showed what a good team we are. We should have had it won well before that nervy ending.

“It was a massive win. I’ve just told them – you have got a great opportunity here. We’ve only got 13 games left and you’ve put yourselves in a very good position.

“These are the worst games – they’re bloody horrible. You have to understand teams are playing for their lives. We were there last year and we know ho much teams put into it. You have to be ready. If you’re
not you get your pants pulled down.

“I want these players to enjoy this. Pre-season and over the summer people were writing me off as a manager and we were odds-on to go down. That gave me a fire. Now we are in this position I’ve told them to go out and prove every Tom, Dick and Harry wrong.

“We are in the mix for a reason and that is because we are a very good team. Let’s not
throw it away now.

“Go out and play with freedom, we’ve nothing to lose. These boys have real passion for the shirt and the club – go out and show it. If we don’t win, we don’t win.”