Ben­ning back with a bang for Stags

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By War­ren Lucy

A STUN­NING dis­play by the re­turn­ing Mal Ben­ning earned high praise from Mans­field boss Adam Mur­ray af­ter the left-back helped the Stags down Craw­ley at the Broad­field Sta­dium.

Ben­ning re­turned to the line-up fol­low­ing three months our with a cru­ci­ate in­jury and pro­vided the as­sist for Chris Beard­s­ley’s 60th-minute win­ner in Sus­sex, as the Stags picked up their se­cond away win in the space of a week against a lack­lus­tre Craw­ley side.

“What a ma­chine,” Mur­ray said of his full­back.

“He’s not played for three months and he’s not stopped run­ning all game. He’s had three days of full train­ing since com­ing back, which is re­mark­able.

“The guy’s a mon­ster and he must have some spe­cial genes. I took him off be­cause I was just happy he got cramp rather than a pulled ham­string.

“The phys­ios have had to hold him back and I’ve found out he was prac­tic­ing block tack­les in his liv­ing room at home.”

The Stags were the bet­ter side through­out the match, with Matt Green – who was sent off for two book­able of­fences late in the game – miss­ing a cou­ple of gilt-edged chances in the first half be­fore Beard­s­ley’s first of the sea­son earned the points, fol­low­ing Ben­ning’s wicked cor­ner on the hour-mark.

And de­spite the per­for­mance of his team, Mur­ray said Green’s dis­missal left a sour note to the game.

“Matt’s dis­traught in there,” he added.

“The lads are gut­ted for them­selves but they aren’t gut­ted for Matt be­cause it was his de­ci­sion. Matt’s per­for­mance was great and his work rate was top drawer.

“Those de­ci­sions can cost you and as old as he is, he has to learn from that.”

Craw­ley cre­ated lit­tle, with Sonny Bradley’s late header nar­rowly fly­ing over and sub­sti­tute Chris Atkin­son’s drive be­ing blocked on the line in the fi­nal minute.

And Reds boss Mark Yates ad­mit­ted his side – who have now suf­fered three con­sec­u­tive de­feats – weren’t at the races, with keeper Cal­lum Pre­ston their stand­out per­former.

He said: “It was a tight game, Cal­lum has made a cou­ple of top saves but we prob­a­bly got what we de­served. It’s a frus­trat­ing end to a frus­trat­ing cou­ple of weeks.

“Cal­lum’s a good 'keeper.We knew what we had when we signed him. He’s cer­tainly one for the fu­ture. The group needs some fresh faces and the sooner we get them in the bet­ter. Our lads are a lit­tle bit low of con­fi­dence.

“Mans­field’s late win on Tues­day gave them a bit of a boost and we got done by a set-piece. Mis­takes are cost­ing us at the mo­ment.”


N Crawle


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