Benning back with a bang for Stags
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.”
STAR MAN CALLUM PRESTO