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Shrimps win ignited at half-time - boss

27 January 2018

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans says he had to 'smash it up a bit' at today's half-time interval, before witnessing his troops stage a dramatic second-half fightback to earn a fine 2-1 win at the Globe Arena, Morecambe.

A below-par first half performance from the Stags saw the hosts go into the break in front after forward Callum Lang pounced on a short back-pass from centre-half Krystian Pearce and rounded goalkeeper Conrad Logan before rolling the ball into an empty net.

However, a rejuvenated Stags' side emerged for the second half and looked determined to extend their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two to eight games.

Steve Evans' men got back onto level terms in the 70th minute when top scorer Danny Rose converted winger CJ Hamilton's square ball, before left-back Mal Benning popped up in the fourth minute of stoppage time to strike a last-gasp winner.

And after admitting to losing his temper during the half-time interval, the gaffer believes his side deserved to leave Lancashire with maximum points after a dominant second half display. 

"It's a game of two halves, there's chalk and cheese, black and white, there's Celtic and Rangers; there's massive differences," the Stags' chief said.

"In the first half, we were poor. We had to make the two substitutions – Zander [Diamond] was on a caution, he was no worse than anyone else on the pitch, Alfie Potter because he wasn't in the game but no worse than anyone else on the pitch.

"I don't think we had any players that we were pleased with at half-time, so if I'm being honest, I had to 'smash it up a bit' at half-time. I said I wanted to give players an opportunity to come on early enough in the game who had really worked hard in training all week and Paul Anderson and Will Atkinson came on at half-time.

"I thought the second half was, apart from the odd breakaway or counter attack, I thought it was one-way traffic. I think maybe based on the two halves, we deserved to win."

The Morecambe opener came after Callum Lang had latched onto Pearce's short back-pass from an offside position and the gaffer believes the goal should not have stood, whilst also commenting that the players insist that frontman Jimmy Spencer got the final touch on Mal Benning's late winner.

"I thought the second half was, apart from the odd breakaway or counter attack, I thought it was one-way traffic. I think maybe based on the two halves, we deserved to win."

Steve Evans, manager

"I asked Seb [Stockbridge], the referee, at half-time – who I thought had a good game, by the way, it was a tough, physical match to referee – but I asked him for an explanation and he obviously gets aided by his assistant.

"It's the same phase of play, but the linesman decided no. I'll get a further explanation when I go in but if Krystian just clears his lines and does his job, they don't get the chance.

"I thought it was Mal but the players in the penalty box say Jimmy just got a nick on it. People, like me, will watch it on television and I'll make a decision.

"They say it's Jimmy and I couldn't wish a better guy to come on and help us. It was a big call whether we brought him or Lee [Angol] on but we wanted a physical presence and Jimmy gives us that."

The Stags' late winner sparked a dash down the touchline from the manager who went to celebrate in front of the travelling support and the boss gave an insight into the dressing room by saying there is a 'buzz' among the squad following the win.

"It was just natural elation (the celebration). We were asking the fourth [official] how long there is to go, we know there's less than 30 seconds when Mal picks it up and you know that unless you do something crazy, the game is over.

"The dressing room is obviously delighted and there's a real buzz about it but we just said let's travel home quietly this evening and have a little bit of remembrance about that first half, it was tough.

"They (the players) looked for the reaction of the staff and we said 'enjoy these nights'. We've been on the wrong end of late goals and being in front and it's gone against us."

Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's full post-match interview.

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