Stags’ boss Steve Evans says no-one will stop his side’s fight after they continued their pursuit of a play-off spot with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Newport County this afternoon.
On a cold and blustery day in north Nottinghamshire, Stags had to come from behind to secure an excellent three points against a spirited Newport outfit. Exiles’ striker Ryan Bird tapped in the opener after six minutes but centre-half Krystian Pearce popped up with a calm finish to level the contest later in the half.
With both sides fighting for every inch, Stags clinched all three points when striker Shaq Coulthirst converted a second half penalty to keep Stags level on points with Colchester United in eighth position in Sky Bet League Two.
And the manager says his charges showed their character during today’s 2-1 victory as they bounced straight back from their first defeat of the calendar year last week.
“There would have been a big question of our players’ character today after Grimsby and going 1-0 down so early,” the Stags’ chief said.
“You’re looking for character in your group and I thought we showed that in abundance. I thought we had some big players out there today that showed they’re prepared to go the whole way.
“No-one’s going to stop our fight; we’re going to give these supporters – hopefully – something special come the end [of the season].”
After seeing striker Shaq Coulthirst bag his fourth goal for the club with a well-taken penalty, the gaffer commended the performance of the Peterborough United loanee, as well as that of Pat Hoban, who made his first appearance since the Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Wycombe Wanderers last month.
“I think Shaq does some marvellous things and at other times he frustrates you but I wouldn’t like to play against him. Certainly when we play opposition teams, the one thing they say is how hard the centre-halves have had to work.
“I thought him and Paddy Hoban covered every blade of grass today. I wanted to get Matt Green on to the pitch – he’s a real asset late on – but he just felt his groin a little bit in the warm-up at half-time.”
The boss revealed that striker Danny Rose should be fit to travel to Yeovil Town on Tuesday and the medical staff are hoping Matt Green’s groin strain isn’t anything serious. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Jake Kean will have a scan this evening to determine the extent of the damage he suffered in the first half challenge which forced him off this afternoon.
“People talk about five strikers but suddenly we’ve got Danny Rose, who should be fit for Tuesday, suddenly not out there today and then we’ve got Greeny telling us at half-time that he would go out there for us [if needed].
“We’re booking him a scan [for Jake Kean], he’ll have a scan this evening. He’s had a block with the boy – think Jake was brave, a lot of people would have pulled out of that – he stuck his leg out and Rhys Bennett has a fantastic block afterwards. Otherwise, they tap it in to an empty net and go 2-1 in front.”
Supporters can view Steve Evans’ post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD.