Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray says the secret behind Scott Shearer’s penalty heroics was the hard work by the performance analysts before the game.
Goalkeeper Shearer saved a penalty in each half to ensure the Stags secured all three points against Morecambe this afternoon after goals from Matty Blair and Krystian Pearce cancelled out Kevin Ellison’s first-minute opener.
The 34-year-old Scot dived to his left to beat away Shaun Miller’s first half spot kick before saving Paul Mullin’s second half effort with his legs, and Murray says first team performance analyst Sean O’Callaghan and his team studied the visitors in-depth prior to the match – including their penalties.
“I think credit goes to Scott but a lot of credit has to go to Sean, the analyst. Him and his team, there’s only two or three, they work for the club just for the experience of being involved and they put a lot of time in.
“I think Morecambe have had something like 11 penalties, it might be more than that, and there’s a reason why they get them.
“So we were aware of it and Sean has done his homework with his team and told Scott and Brian the patterns and the trends that have been happening, and it worked!
“That’s credit to the football club because I keep going on about the ‘one percents’ and today it got us the win."
The gaffer was also pleased with the determined attitude of his players on an afternoon when they had to deal with the tricky weather conditions as well as a battling Morecambe side.
“We kept coming back and we kept fighting and we kept clawing back. We never gave in and it’s that never-say-die attitude that we love to see.
“It was tricky. [In the] first half we had the wind, so things were running through a little bit too much.
“We knew that if we had our shape right, they’d play into our hands a little bit and they did play quite a few long balls which went through to Scott (Shearer) or we’d win the first ball with Pearcey (Krystian Pearce) or Taff (Ryan Tafazolli) and catch them on the counter.”
Following the award of the second Morecambe penalty, Murray was sent off by referee Mark Heywood for his reaction but the boss believes the referee got the decision for the first penalty correct.
“The first one, from the angle I’ve seen it from, it’s not too conclusive but I think he’s got that one right. The second one, I think it has struck Jack’s arm but I don’t know how he’s got to get out the way of it. It’s one of them where he’s gone to block the cross and he can’t really do much more.
“I’ve obviously reacted in a way that you react when you have a second penalty given against you. I didn’t say anything that was offensive but obviously my body language has told a story, but if people expect me to be happy, then I don’t know.
“I’m not sure why he’s sent me off but I’ve ruined my trainers walking round the pitch, so I’m not happy!”
You can watch Murray’s post-match interview, in full, on Stags Player.