Left back Stephen McLaughlin says that defensive resilience was key for Mansfield to overcome a ‘tough task’ and defeat Barrow 1-3, despite being reduced to ten men.
Mansfield’s defence remained resolute in the key stages of the Sky Bet League Two affair despite Stags' centre back Farrend Rawson being dismissed before half-time.
McLaughlin had coolly netted in the 25th minute to put Mansfield 1-2 ahead. That was before the Irishman guided a flawless free-kick delivery onto the head of Jordan Bowery to seal the points for Stags on 68 minutes.
The 31-year-old credited Mansfield’s magnificent performance to gain maximum points from a difficult fixture.
“That [win is] massive especially [with] going down to ten men,” he said. “It’s a very good result for us.
“We knew it was going to be a tough task. This is a very difficult place to come, and to play the way that we did [was] a credit to everyone.
“We knew that set pieces were going to be a big problem for them. We just had to get the delivery right and get someone on the end of it.
“Sometimes free kicks can be floated into the right area. I fed it into the back stick area [and] took the ‘keeper out of it and it was a great header from him [Bowery].
“We knew it was going to be tough for them to break us down because we’re such a unit and we defend very well.
“Bish [Nathan Bishop] I don’t think had a big save to make in the end. We defended well [and] we made it very, very difficult for them.”
McLaughlin also contributed to Mansfield’s cause in attack as well as in defence. The full-back riffled home a knock down from John-Joe O’Toole on 25 minutes to eye-catchingly notch Stags back in front.
“It [the ball] came off JJ’s head,” he said. “He came to the front post and there was a flick on, and I wasn’t picked up. I had all the time on the world.
“I was just concerned on keeping it down and it slid into the side of the net. I just needed to get good contact on it, that was the main thing.”
Mansfield’s number three alluded to the immense role played by the 358 travelling Stags fans in the team’s heroic victory.
“They [the fans] went all the way to Forest Green in good numbers too, for the game to be called off after four minutes,” said McLaughlin. “Then [for them] to travel here and bring that crowd again it’s unbelievable.
“I haven’t had that kind of following [before in my career].
“We’re ever so grateful [for it], every one of us. It really lifts us for the game when we hear it. It gives [us] that extra yard. We appreciate it.
“[They] give us something to fight for, we’ve got to send them home happy.”