Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray paid tribute to his side’s character after their dramatic 2-1 victory over Morecambe this evening.
The Stags trailed 1-0 to Paul Mullin’s penalty after Nicky Hunt brought down Kevin Ellison in the box, but Murray’s side turned the game on its head in an astonishing final ten minutes.
Midfielder Chris Clements reacted quickest to bundle the ball over the line to draw the Stags level, before substitute Adi Yussuf pounced in the 90th minute to hand Stags a fantastic three points.
Speaking post-match, Murray said the spirit which was shown by his side epitomised what they're about: “For the lads to have a kick in the ‘gonads’ like that and then come back in the way that they did – I think they’ve repaid the angry fans from Saturday with that character and that spirit that they showed today, and that’s what we’re about.
“It epitomised everything we wanted from the team today.
“I’m absolutely over the moon and I'd go as far as saying it’s the biggest win of our season. I’m a little bit emotional at the minute, if I’m honest.”
The gaffer chose to go with a different system for the trip to Lancashire and he says credit has to go to the players for carrying it out with such conviction.
“It takes a lot of concentration to carry out what we just did, especially with a couple of hours’ walk-through, not even proper work because the lads were recovering yesterday. It’s important that you stay switched on all over the park.
“I think it was a real tactical battle today. We had an inkling that they’d go three at the back today, because they do it at home so we changed our shape a little bit,” Murray continued.
“When they got on top in the second half, we had to change it again and that’s credit to the footballers because they had to take on the information and change shape, it’s hard work. All the credit goes to the boys; [it was] a superb performance.”
Murray says the substitutions which the Stags made were key to the victory and was keen to emphasise the importance of every player.
“When we did go 1-0 down, we tweaked it again and I thought the subs tonight were incredible.
“Every single one of them made a difference and Kav (Sean Kavanagh) came on, in what is probably his preferred position, and looked a class above. His tactical positioning and his delivery with his left foot was superb.
“That was the Jack Thomas that we all know and love. What a difference. When I get him to where he needs to be, he’s the perfect midfielder to play in a two which will allow us to play that formation that everybody wants us to play – that 4-4-2. When he does that today, he changed the game.
“Adi (Yussuf) does what Adi does, I don’t think he’s got his breath yet!
“Chris Beardsley came in tonight for his first start [since Accrington away in August] and I thought he was outstanding. He was a proper centre forward; he got battered, took some punches, he was probably lacking a little bit of match sharpness but you expect that because he’s not played.”