Substitute and matchwinner Will Atkinson lauded the character of his Mansfield Town teammates after they shrugged off a Cheltenham Town comeback to clinch three vital points in their quest for promotion.
The Stags led 2-0 at half-time through a brace from wing-back CJ Hamilton as they made light of the absence of suspended leading scorer Tyler Walker.
But two Cheltenham goals made it 2-2 in the second period before Atkinson dived to head in his first goal of the season and restore the Stags’ lead. Fellow substitute Alex MacDonald then struck to clinch a 4-2 win that kept the Stags in the automatic promotion places and mark his return from long-term injury in style.
“It had everything in that second half,” said Atkinson.
“Coming on at two-nil up you’re looking to see the game through.
“The next goal was vital and they got it with a quality free-kick. We know he [Hussey] has a great left foot, but to then concede from another set-piece is disappointing.
“It meant we had to show character, which I think we did in abundance.
“It would have been easy to hold on to the draw but knowing the players we had out on the pitch I always fancied us to get a goal. And I’m even more pleased that it was me that got it.”
Atkinson said the dressing room was buzzing after the win
“It’s a big win from the position we saw ourselves in first half and to be then pegged back. To show the character we did is great.
“I took a little bit of stick earlier on in the season after missing a few good chances, especially with my head, but you’ve just got to keep believing in those positions and luckily that one went in today.
“I thought the player was going to volley it at the same so I half shut my eyes, threw my head at it and when I’d opened them again it had gone in. [I was] delighted to see it go in.”