Midfielder Kevan Hurst today praised his team-mates’ performance after scoring the winning goal in the Stags' 3-2 victory over Newport County.
Stags went ahead after just 12 minutes at Rodney Parade when Hurst picked out striker Matt Green in the box, who made no mistake as he headed the ball into the top corner.
County then hit back with a Jack Compton free-kick just four minutes later before striker Danny Rose put the Stags back in front with a well-placed finish in the second half.
The game was heading for a draw after Joss Labadie then equalised for a second time for the hosts, before Hurst produced a sublime curling effort which looped into the top corner in second-half stoppage time to secure the victory for Adam Murray's men.
And although the former Southend United man will undoubtedly receive the plaudits for his wonderful individual effort, he was keen to praise the determination of his team-mates on a beautiful summer's day in South Wales.
“It’s not just about the winning goal or anything like that, it’s about the team performance and I thought today even though, at times, we looked a bit sluggish, we stuck together and we really showed some character and we dug in for each other,” Hurst said.
“I think at stages of the game, we did quite well. We had quite a lot of possession so we always knew it was going to be difficult against Newport, we knew they were a good outfit and it was always going to be a tough first game of the season, but thankfully we’ve come through and done well and got the three points."
After the new front pairing of Danny Rose and Matt Green scored the Stags’ first two goals, 30-year-old Hurst praised the duo and also said Stags have a goal threat from a number of players.
“He’s (Green) a good player and obviously with Rosie (Danny Rose) as well, it’s a potent front two and I think definitely there’s goals there and you’ve got obviously Paddy (Pat Hoban) coming off the bench, Bax (James Baxendale), there’s a number of good players on the bench that can make an impact.
“We’ve all gelled quite well over the short period of time and obviously there’s plenty more to come from that and the more we play together, the more we understand each other and the better we’ll get.”
After scoring the winner in front of the North Stand at Rodney Parade, Hurst ran the length of the pitch to celebrate with the travelling contingent of 339 Stags’ fans, something which the Chesterfield-born man feels is important.
“I just ran the whole length, I just wanted to celebrate with the fans. Obviously I’m a Chesterfield lad so there’s always going to be some 'little bits and bobs' but I want to prove to them, the Mansfield fans, that I’m here to do the business and I’m enjoying my time here.”
Supporters will be able to view Kevan Hurst’s post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD later this evening.