Ten-man Stags ride their luck in victory
DOWN to ten men after half an hour and without a win in December, things were looking pretty bleak for Adam Murray’s Mansfield side.
But Vadaine Oliver’s strike and a fine rearguard defensive effort saw the Stags claim a hard-fought victory that owed everything to their collective spirit.
Robert Taylor saw red for the visitors for a twofooted lunge on Sammy Moore after 33 minutes but Oliver raced onto a long ball in the second half to score.
Dannie Bulman had three great chances for the hosts late on but each time was denied by Dimitar Evtimov in the Stags goal or the post and Mansfield held firm. And Murray could scarcely hide his delight at his side’s fighting spirit in the face of adversity.
“We knew it would be a tough game and it was made even more difficult with ten men. This is a tough place to come and I am over the moon with the result,” he said.“It was a scrappy game but we did what needed to be done to get the result. Wimbledon threw everything at us but we held out.
“The performance of the whole team is equally as pleasing as the win.
“I can’t single out one person in particular as everyone from the keeper to the centre-forward played superbly. I am proud of every single one of them, even the subs. They were kicking every ball, too.
“The keeper made a number of top saves and the defence remained strong throughout.
“I haven’t seen the red card yet as I was on the far side. Once we’ve had the chance to review it, we will take it from there.
“It’s been eventful since I took over the job but days like these are those to enjoy.”
Meanwhile, Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley was left to rue what might have been as his side failed to grab an equaliser despite late pressure. “Naturally I am disappointed and frustrated as this was a winnable game. But credit to Mansfield, they came here and scrapped and fought for everything,” he said. “It’s too early to say about the injury to Bayo [Akinfenwa] but once he had to go off, we carried less of a physical threat up front.
“I can’t fault my players. Sometimes you can say we didn’t give everything but they gave me everything. It’s just one minor error that has cost us the point.
“Some people believed that they should have been down to nine but I’m not sure.
“The match showed that playing against 10 men can be tough.
“We were walking wounded out there. But the players were so brave out there. At the end, we were peppering their goal but it’s just one of those days.”
STAR MAN VADAIN
E OLIVER Mansfi