Mur­ray’s happy to be above

Dot­ted line

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Tim Mor­riss

DE­LIGHTED Mans­field Town manager Adam Mur­ray saluted his side’s bat­tling qual­i­ties af­ter they moved out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone with a first victory in seven matches to dent Steve­nage’s play­off hopes.

Reg­gie Lambe’s 52nd­minute goal clinched the Stags’ first home win since mid-Novem­ber in a scrappy match of few chances and sent in­juryrav­aged Steve­nage to their third suc­ces­sive de­feat.

Mur­ray said:“I couldn’t have asked for any more from the boys. Their per­for­mance, ef­fort, ap­pli­ca­tion and com­mit­ment were amaz­ing. They have done them­selves proud.

“We set up for the game to be scrappy and it paid off. There wasn’t much foot­ball played, but the pitch didn’t al­low it. You have to rein­vent your­selves for cer­tain games.

“That was a great re­sult.We needed it, but noth­ing has changed.We are still in a rel­e­ga­tion battle.

“Last week­end, ev­ery­one hit the panic but­ton be­cause we dropped be­low that dot­ted line.

“In the dress­ing room, it feels like we have won the World Cup, but in 24 hours they will come back down to earth to con­tinue our fight to stay in the league.”

Mans­field flew at Steve­nage from the kick-off and Matt Rhead had a shot on the turn blocked in the first 30 sec­onds. Then, a great block by Dean Wells di­verted Vadaine Oliver’s closerange drive for a cor­ner.

Chris Cle­ments’ curl­ing 30-yard free-kick was tipped around the post by Chris Day as Mans­field cre­ated the bet­ter chances. And the keeper went full length again to keep out Michael Raynes’ header.

The win­ner came from Lee Beev­ers’ deep cross, headed back across goal by Rhead and thumped into the top cor­ner by half-time sub­sti­tute Lambe. QPR loan winger Bruno An­drade and Cardiff striker Danny John­son made their de­buts for Steve­nage, who also gave a first start to teenage striker Ben Kennedy.

How­ever, they failed to test Mans­field keeper Lenny Pidge­ley on his de­but. Steve­nage manager Gra­ham West­ley said: “They didn’t of­fer a lot go­ing for­ward, but nei­ther did we. I’m not sure ei­ther side did enough to win it. In the sec­ond half they got the early goal and then it was backs to the wall for them.

“I threw ev­ery­thing at it to try to get an equaliser, but we were un­able to find the an­swer.

“Goals change games. It gave them some­thing to de­fend and a bit of im­pe­tus. They did well to hang on.We looked like a side that had a num­ber of debu­tants.We looked a lit­tle dis­or­gan­ised and like a side in pre-sea­son.”



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