Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough admired the way his side defended their early 1-0 lead in the victory at home to Carlisle United this evening.
The Stags were able to defend resolutely to extend their excellent run to eight victories in nine matches.
Despite missing some key performers through injury, the boss took pride in the way his side saw out the result.
“[The win was] Unbelievably hard-earned,” he said. “I thought we started the game very well for the first 30 minutes.
“I think we [eventually] ran out of energy and they [Carlisle] got back into the game ten minutes before half-time and continued that in the second-half.
“Although we had a couple of situations [to extend the lead further] it was more about looking after our clean sheet and protecting that 1-0 lead.
“Apart from them hitting the bar from 25 yards with an unbelievably good effort, I thought we did it [defending the advantage] exceptionally well on low energy levels tonight.”
Mansfield were able to protect the one goal advantage with an XI that consisted of numerous performers who had been on the peripheries in recent weeks.
“In the context of having our three possibly main strikers out: Oli Hawkins, Danny Johnson and Rhys Oates [it’s a big victory].
“No Perch, we lose Forrester [in the game due to a head injury], no Gordon, no skipper (Ollie Clarke) tonight, having seven players out, it’s an unbelievably good three points.
“That felt very important tonight.”
The Stags produced an electric display of passing football in the second-half at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday. The gaffer, however, admitted that tonight’s disciplined performance was just as pleasing.
“You’ve just got to do whatever [it takes] to win a game. Whatever the circumstances are. This is what we’re trying to get through to the players.
“Every single game is different. In some you’re going to play nice football, have opportunities and score brilliant goals like we did against on Saturday.
“I thought our goal tonight was great again by the way, the build-up again was excellent.”
He continued: “Sometimes you have to scrap and fight. We were not at our best, we gave the ball away too easily, but we got the three points.
“In a couple of days’ time, we’ll look at the performance but we’ll look back at three points and a clean sheet.”
The amber and blue host Salford City this Saturday. The manager gave an update on when some of his unavailable squad members will make a return.
“[On the reason for Rhys Oates’ absence] Dead leg. He got it at Doncaster on Saturday. He’s got an outside chance [to feature against Salford on Saturday.]”
When asked about Ollie Clarke’s omission from the matchday squad the manager said: “Calf. He felt it really late on in the game [last Saturday]. Once again, he came off in the Doncaster game, we’ll see how he is but doubtful [to feature against Salford] I would think.
“If he’s fit [Oli Hawkins will feature]. He’s been ill over the weekend and didn’t train yesterday. He’ll come in and start building back up [to full fitness]. Anyone who’s had this bug that’s going around will know it’s quite debilitating.
“We’ll see how it is but he’ll certainly be back in the squad.
“[On Danny Johnson’s injury progress] He’s coming along well. He starts running again tomorrow. He still has a niggle with it [the injury].
“He’ll need a good weeks’ training so as soon as we can get him back on the grass and involved it will be great for everybody.”