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Young guns give Stags hope for future

Posted onPosted on 25th Apr
Young guns give Stags hope for future

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray heaped praise on his young guns, despite a 2-1 defeat to Portsmouth in the last home game of the season.

With the Stags safe from relegation, Murray gave youth a chance with five players aged 21 and under, including debutant Joe Fitzpatrick.

But the young midfielder had to switch to centre half after just a minute when Richie Sutton, who received three player of the season awards, was red carded after 50 seconds for a foul on Jed Wallace as the midfielder looked certain to score.

Matt Tubbs netted the resulting penalty as Mansfield were forced to reshuffle.

The 10 men battled on and might have equalised three times from Matt Rhead flick-ons through man of the match Jack Thomas and Rakish Bingham. Junior Brown and Rhead also went close at the start of the second half.

Wallace doubled Pompey’s lead in the 55th minute with a long range drive that deceived Lenny Pidgeley.

But the Stags braveley battled on and Thomas, who won four player of the season awards before kick-off, curled in from 25 yards to spark a late revival.

Murray said: “All credit to the young boys, they were superb and couldn’t have done any more. It was a great experience for them and today was a glimpse of what’s to come.

“It was another ridiculous performance from Jack. I said to him before the game that he was due a goal after all his good performances and he scored the goal of the season. He should be an inspiration to everyone.”

“For Joe, it was daunting enough to be playing in his own position, so to go out there and do a job like that in defence after 90 seconds was superb.

““We all want to put this season in the past as quickly as we can. It’s been a long journey.

“The planning has already started for next season. I know what we need to do and, along with the fans, I don’t want to go through this again.

I don’t want to have to suffer this pain again.

“I am more than confident I can build a competitive side. Don’t get me wrong, there will be a hell of a lot of changes in the summer.

“Yes, we have a core of good, young lads. But you can’t heap all the pressure on them. We will bring in a lot of new faces to help them.

“I can’t tell you my frustration and anger at the minute. It’s torn my heart out these last few weeks. We’ve not been good enough. But I will put it right.”