Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray feels his side had enough chances to prevent them from leaving empty handed at Kenilworth Road, Luton, this afternoon.
The Stags slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat to the Hatters after Craig Mackail-Smith scored a second-half penalty and Murray lamented the handful of chances his side had during the match.
“You can’t come away to a place like Luton and miss three one-on-one’s. That’s the bottom line,” said Murray.
“We’ve limited them to chances. [In the] First half, we knew they would come out and have a lot of the ball as they were under pressure to get a win today so we knew they’d come out with a [high] tempo and we weathered that well.
“We had a chance in the first half that we should have scored and in the second half we dominated the game and I felt we gave away a stupid penalty.”
The only goal of the game came through former Peterborough forward Mackail-Smith after he was pulled back inside the penalty area by Ryan Tafazolli and Murray shed some light on what he thought of the decision.
“We got ourselves in to a muddle at the back; to be fair to Mackail-Smith it was super movement and that was the difference today that little bit of movement that they’ve got.
“We weren’t ruthless in the final third today. It’s not bounced for us or we haven’t anticipated where it’s going to go, so it’s disappointing as we should have gotten something out of today.”
The Stags flew out the traps in the second half and Murray said that he told his players to ‘believe’ during the interval and he was impressed by the effect it had on his team.
“We spoke about it before the game that we are good enough to come to places like this and get something and we showed that today.
“In the first half we looked like we were in fear and we had no reason to be, we knew we had to tame them for 45 minutes but we knew we were good enough to get something out of the game. At half-time it was the case of [telling the players] ‘believe in how good you are, you can get something here’ and we should have done.”
Along with the penalty, Luton only registered one shot on target during the 90 minutes which ultimately ended the Stags’ four game unbeaten run in the league. Murray admitted although the defeat is disappointing, he’d rather take a look at the bigger picture.
“We are disappointed, but there is still realism that we are making massive strides forward as we’ve come here to one of the teams that will be in the top half of the league and we should have gotten something out of the game. I’d like to see the stats from the second half as I think Brian [Jensen] only had one shot to save.”
Midfielder Chris Clements hobbled off injured while captain Nicky Hunt will miss next weekend’s game with Plymouth Argyle after he received his fifth yellow card of the season and Murray feels that it was always going to be a case of ‘when’, not ‘if’ this situation was going to occur. It was also confirmed after the match that striker Chris Beardsley had missed today's game with a foot injury
Murray said: “Chris is struggling, it’s his groin.
“This is always going to be the tough part of our season when we do get injuries and suspensions and it’s going to be the testing time now as we are going to miss Nicky Hunt next week, it looks like Clem [Chris Clements] could be out.
“I think we are down to about 16 or 17 players now so it’s tough, but we knew that was going to be the case and like I say, we are positive in terms of where we are as a group at the minute and the direction we are going in.”