Benning on cloud nine after hitting derby day winner

Chesterfield FC v Mansfield Town.'Mal Benning heads towards goal before netting the Stags' second half goal.
Chesterfield FC v Mansfield Town.'Mal Benning heads towards goal before netting the Stags' second half goal.

Mansfield defender Mal Benning was on cloud nine after scoring what he believes to be the most important goal of his career in today’s 1-0 derby win at Chesterfield.

The defender struck on 67 minutes and dedicated the win to the fans, saying he still believes Stags can make the play-offs.

Chesterfield FC v Mansfield Town.'Mal Benning turns away to celebrate his second half goal.

Chesterfield FC v Mansfield Town.'Mal Benning turns away to celebrate his second half goal.

“It was definitely the most important goal I’ve ever scored when you look at the size of the game, being a derby, and being a must-win,” he said.

“We can’t get too high. We’ve three games left and there is still work to do. Three victories I think will put us in the play-offs.

“It was a crazy game – I don’t even know how I am feeling at the moment.

“But first of all, that was for the fans. We know how much it means to them. And to get get the first win for the gaffer too – and to do it here – is a good feeling.

“People had written us off, but we’re still in with a shout. I think it’s going to go down to the wire.

“We hadn’t won in ages. The gaffer is trying to implement his things and the players are all trying to buy into that – you can see that when you looks at the performances against Accrington and Luton.

“Today was a must-win – and we did it and it shows how we are developing under the gaffer.”

Benning recalled his golden moment, saying: “CJ came on and the full back went in with him, so I thought there was an opportunity to get forward.

“It came into my path and bobbled a bit to be honest. I thought let’s have a shot, it deflected a little bit, but I think it was still going in anyway regardless.

“It was my first ever knee slide then afterwards – and I enjoyed it!”

It was a superb way to make a return from a three game ban, Benning saying: “It’s the ups and down football isn’t it? You just have to stay level-headed and not be too up or too down.”