Sheridan: We can still miss drop!
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.
FINDING THE GAP: Malvind Benning lets fly to score Mansfield’s second