Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has lauded the ‘squad contribution’ that saw his side record a dramatic late 2-1 comeback away at Crewe this afternoon.
Jason Law and Will Swan climbed off the bench to combine for Mansfield’s leveller on 87 minutes.
Fellow substitute Kieran Wallace delivered invitingly for Oli Hawkins to power home the match-winner in stoppage time.
Speaking to iFollow Stags after the match at Mornflake Stadium, Nigel said: “When you’re 1-0 down at 86 minutes you certainly do doubt it [that a victory can be found].
“The substitutes, as they have done already this season, proved very important for us.
“Jason Law’s played a great through ball, I think it was his first touch almost.
“Will Swan’s tucked it away.
“Then Kieran Wallace has put the cross in for Hawks’ header.
“It’s a squad contribution today.”
The gaffer’s side had the majority of possession but went behind with 20 minutes of normal time remaining.
“For it to come so late was incredible,” said the gaffer.
“I didn’t think we were going to get anything, having had so much of the game for the first 70-80 minutes.
“To go 1-0 down, it was a tough challenge to get back into the game.
“Once we got the first one, we didn’t sit back.
“We scored the second one into added time.”
Mansfield were made to wait for glory after some resolute defending from the hosts.
“Christy’s [Pym] hardly had a shot to save today, we’ve come away from home,” said the boss.
“We just have to be better in that final third.
“On days like today when you need somebody to carve something open, your Boatengs and your Hartigans are very important players.”
On 87 minutes, substitute duo Jason Law and Will Swan combined to level things up.
“Jason is just coming back from a long-term injury, a nasty injury.
“So having played 20 minutes at Grimsby, he’s had an impact today.
“Will Swan - illness and injury has kept him from being a regular starter.
“That’s what you need [impact off the bench].
“Lucas [Akins] has had an off day today.
“Off you come, the next one comes on and makes an impact.”
The gaffer was full of praise for Mansfield’s eventual match-winner, Oli Hawkins, after the game.
“It was a very, very good header,” said the former striker.
“When the ball’s coming out of the sky like that, it’s difficult to control it and get it on target.
“He’s been battling away in both penalty areas all afternoon.”
Today’s result extends Stags’ winning league run on the road to three games.
“We try and be as positive as we can, home and away.
“The three points’ incentive is there.
“Draws are good to keep unbeaten runs going but let’s go for it.”
The boss provided the latest on the injury front at Mornflake Stadium.
“In the next couple of weeks, he’s [Anthony Hartigan] going to build up his strength on it [his shoulder].
“We’re going to look at strapping it up, there’s no operation needed at this stage.
“We’ll get him back on the pitch as soon as we can, the same with Rhys Oates.
“He’ll [Oates] keep building up the strength on his shoulder now, the range of movement.
“We’re looking at three-four weeks for Anthony and another six weeks for Rhys.”