Sheri­dan: We can still miss drop!

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

NEW boss John Sheri­dan in­sisted his bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble New­port County side could still get out of trou­ble de­spite be­ing well beaten by Mans­field.

Three sec­ond-half goals, in­clud­ing a spec­tac­u­lar 20-yard volley from full-back Mal Ben­ning, stretched the Stags’ un­beaten home run to six matches.

But Sheri­dan is still de­fi­ant re­gard­ing his side’s sur­vival hopes.

“It is al­ways hard when you are down at the bot­tom but I def­i­nitely be­lieve we can get out of the sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

“We showed glimpses but we have got to have a bit of belief. I said to them at half-time to be brave and get on the ball. But we were a bit naive and didn’t get go­ing un­til they scored. Then we started to play a bit, but we should have been do­ing that from the off.

“The keeper’s made two world­class saves for them, but I am not happy with the per­for­mance. I have been here a short time and I am try­ing to give the play­ers an op­por­tu­nity to show me what they can do, but we need to be more con­sis­tent.

“To be fair once I put the sub­sti­tutes on we looked a bit brighter and we did cre­ate chances

“I haven’t beaten the lads up af­ter­wards and gone on too much. It has just given me more of an idea of what I need to look at and what I need to look at bring­ing in play­er­wise.”

Ben­nings’ cru­cial and stun­ning 70th-minute volley – his sec­ond in a week – from Jack Thomas’ pin­point crossfield pass came a minute af­ter vet­eran keeper Brian Jensen de­nied New­port sub­sti­tute Alex Rod­man an un­likely equaliser in a one-on-one.

Craig West­carr’s half-volley from another Thomas as­sist had given the Stags, to­tally dom­i­nant in the first half, a 49th-minute lead and sub­sti­tute Adi Yus­suf sealed the vic­tory with an in­jury-time strike from 15 yards.

De­spite the win, de­lighted Stags man­ager Adam Mur­ray de­manded more from his play­ers, say­ing: “That's the first quar­ter of the sea­son done and we need to up a gear now.We knew we had a good group but we thought it would take a bit longer to click. So we are prob­a­bly ahead of sched­ule.

“They work tire­lessly day in, day out and we’ve got to keep that go­ing. Noth­ing has been achieved yet. With time I be­lieve I can get this club where it needs to be.

“I think Mal Ben­ning is go­ing for goal of the sea­son on his own. Mal’s goal has got to be up there with the best I have ever seen. His one last week was a joke, but this was ex­traspe­cial.

“It was a great ball from Jack Thomas to pick him out. He could have just put it into an area. But he’s picked him out and Mal did the rest.

“We are happy, but fo­cused. There is a strong belief in there. There were times in the sec­ond half when I thought we took our foot off the gas, but we soon put that right. We have some good peo­ple, some strong char­ac­ters and they are in the po­si­tion they are as a team be­cause of how hard they are work­ing.”

Good first-half saves by Joe Day de­nied Ben­ning, Matt Green and Reg­gie Lambe as New­port strug­gled to get out of their half. He also had to scram­ble a header off the line from his own cen­tre half Matt Tay­lor.

In the sec­ond pe­riod the keeper re­peated his hero­ics to tip Green’s flick over the bar. Then from the re­sult­ing cor­ner Day dived full length to tip away Ryan Tafa­zolli’s pow­er­ful header.

PIC­TURES: Richard Parkes

FIND­ING THE GAP: Malvind Ben­ning lets fly to score Mans­field’s sec­ond

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