Stags’ boss Adam Murray says he was proud of the fight and spirit of his nine-man side that were defeated 2-1 by Bristol Rovers in dramatic fashion this afternoon.
Jermaine Easter put the away side ahead before being shown the first red card of the day for an alleged head-butt on Jamie McGuire just before half-time. The second half saw a red card for Krystian Pearce and a second yellow for Nicky Hunt before Ryan Tafazolli volleyed the Stags level with ten minutes remaining.
In the eighth minute of injury time, Matty Taylor cruelly headed home to ensure the Bristol side went home with all three points.
Murray was disappointed to lose the game, but says he was proud with the fight and spirit which his side showed.
“We did more than enough to win that game, we didn’t deserve to lose. They’ve had one entry into our box before they scored. It was a poor goal for us to concede but we should have been out of sight by then.
"We showed great fight and great spirit," Murray was proud to add.
“Credit to the players, credit to the fans- they stuck with us all the way through and they epitomise what we’re about at the minute, everybody’s in it together.”
Stags ended the game with a makeshift-looking side which included forward Craig Westcarr being required to play at right-back, and Murray was pleased with how the Stags adapted to playing with nine men.
“If you’re going to lose – that’s the way to lose because I couldn’t have asked for anymore from my team. To go down to nine men, we couldn’t do anymore. I had my two centre-forwards playing right-back and right midfield in the end. We’re still fourth in the league so I’m proud of my lads tonight.”
The gaffer revealed that both defender Malvind Benning and goalkeeper Brian Jensen, who clashed towards the end of the game whilst trying to clear a Rovers’ attack, are both struggling with their respective knocks.
“Mal’s struggling and Brian’s [almost] knocked out. If we hadn’t have made our [three] substitutions to try and win the game, then I would’ve taken him [Jensen] off. He took a bang to his knee and he was all over the place to be honest.”
After losing at home for the first time this season, Murray believes his side deserved something from the game, but will be looking to bounce back straight away against Yeovil on Tuesday night.
“I don’t think we deserved to get beat today, even with nine men. Everything was against them (the Stags’ players) today and we’ve kept going, even at the end.
“[I’m] very frustrated but proud of my team and that’s the fight and spirit that will bring us success, ultimately,” Murray added.
“We’ll patch up the wounds and move on, we’ve got a big game on Tuesday.”