Craig Priest writes....
There's no better feeling than a 90th minute winner, especially when it's essentially to beat yourselves as The Stags did at Morecambe.
It was one of the most frustrating afternoon's football played on a pitch which had more sand on than the beach and more bobbles that a bobble hat convention – yet the fighting spirit and desire played a pivotal role in over turning our own wrong doings.
In the first half we broke the golden rule of not playing to the whistle, we all stood still appealing for offside before Pearce played a lacklustre and criminal back pass which was feebly weak and sold Logan short. A far too easy goal to concede.
Steve Evans has been wrong so often with his substitutions, yet the double switch at half time to introduce Anderson to right back and Atkinson into central midfield worked wonders and whilst at times it was very much trying to put a square peg into a round hole, there was a sense the result would come in the end.
It doesn't matter in the slightest about it being pretty, what counts is getting the job done and finally taking advantage of the slips around us – hence why the late winner, has taken us into third place and closed the gap on dear old Notts County.
Winning in the manner we did after making things so hard for ourselves, is all the more sweeter. The boys will be buzzing in the dressing room, the music will be booming and the energy electric. The ripple effect of that, can't be underestimated especially as the result moves us up in the league standings and gives us a real foothold to build upon.
Since the full time whistle the Stags have added highly rated midfielder Adam King to the ranks, a key addition to add some more fire to the attack which again never said die – I can’t wait to see the rest of this rollercoaster ride continue.
Steve Evans made two changes, both enforced, from the side who came from behind to beat Chetenham last weekend, skipper Zander Diamond replaced the suspended Hayden White with the injured Jacob Mellis’ place taken by Kane Hemmings – Alex MacDonald thus dropping back into his central midfield role.
For a ground opened eight years ago, it lacked soul and the pitch was awful – and as a result, the Stags really suffered to get going – the hosts too found it tough but it was Evans men who had the better of the early scraps – Kane Hemmings seeing an effort deflect behind and another also held by Roche in the Morecambe goal.
It was a game which was going nowhere and despite the difficulty to create clear cut chances, the Stags were in control enough to make a break given time as the usually do, but on the half hour – the Stags just stopped, flat footed expecting the linesman to flag for off-side. The golden rule of play to the whistle went out of the window and as Pearce deftly tried to knock the ball back to Logan – he failed to look or take in what was happening, allowing Lang to pounce, round Logan and score.
The hosts then looked sharper and should have perhaps had a second as former Stags Vadaine Oliver headed over, Mansfield fortunately limped to half-time just the one goal down, a goal essentially they’d scored themselves.
Paul Anderson and Will Atkinson replaced Diamond and Potter at the break and the Stags finally started to go through the gears and attempt to claw the game back, having a shout for a spot kick waved away when Rose appeared to be fouled by Kenyon.
Rose would soon be celebrating as on 70 minutes he levelled the game, CJ Hamilton’s give and go with Atkinson seeing the quick winger square for Rose who tucked home much to the Stags support delight.
From that moment you sensed drama was still to come, and it did – right in the final minute as Anderson and MacDonald combined down the right, the latter’s cross headed away into the path of Benning – whose shot found the back of the net, as both he and Spencer claimed the goal, the scorer doesn’t matter – the effect of it does!
FULL TIME: Morecambe 1-2 Stags
Rhys Bennett – Zander Diamond © (Paul Anderson HT) – Krystian Pearce – Mal Benning
Alfie Potter (Will Atkinson HT) – Alex MacDonald – Joel Byrom – CJ Hamilton
Danny Rose – Kane Hemmings (Jimmy Spencer 79)
Unused Substitutes: Bobby Olejnik, Paul Digby, Lee Angol, Calum Butcher
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge Assistants Darren Stain and Mark Cunliffe Fourth Official Iain Siddall
Attendance: 1,416 (334)
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