Tafazolli - three more wins to safety for Stags?

Anthony Howells

Anthony Howells

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Saturday’s man of the match Ryan Tafazolli believes another three wins might be enough to keep Mansfield Town in the Football League.

The young defender bagged his first goal for the club in a 2-1 home win over Newport County with Anthony Howell scoring a last minute winner after Rene Howe had levelled it.

The victory opened up an eight point gap to safety and Tafazolli said: “To win it in the last minute just shows our persistence today and, all in all, I think we deserved it.

“It wasn’t the best but I’d rather get three points than put in a great performance.

“Now we have 11 cup finals left and we need to win as many as we can. I think three more wins might keep us safe. But we won’t rest on our laurels.”

Tafazolli’s goal was partly down to a blunder by keeper Elliott Parish, who let the header slip through his grasp and over the line.

“I was delighted to see my header go in,” said Tafazolli.

“I thought I needed more power on it and it looked like he had saved it at first. I think a goal was overdue for me.

“We showed heart and desire today and kept going to the end.

“I gave the free kick away for their goal, though we should have dealt with the first ball better as well as the second.”

The game was a bruiser with seven yellow cards shown.

“Both sides were in the Conference together and have similar styles of football so we knew it would be a battle today when we saw the familiar faces on their team,” he added.

Anthony Howell’s last gasp diving header secured the win after he had failed to head home from five yards 20 minutes earlier and he said: “To pop up with the winner means everything to the lads.

“It was a magnificent feeling. It’s everything for the fans too.

“We didn’t play that well. But last season there were times when we didn’t play well and won games and that’s what we need – to grind results out.

“The first chance I just tried to flick it in but it went over the bar and looked more like a clearance!

“But I managed to score the second chance and the roar was brilliant from the fans. You could see the enjoyment on their faces and see them jumping around. That’s what it’s all about.

“We are looking forward to the next game on Tuesday now as we are all on a high.”

Stags face York City at One Call Stadium on Tuesday when Ritchie Sutton is likely to be missing with a hamstring injury.