THREADBARE Mansfield Town could hold their heads high in a 2-0 defeat at champions-in-waiting Crawley Town at Broadfield Stadium last night.
Stags, with so many injuries, they could only name a keeper and two centre halves on a three-man bench, were expected to be lambs to the slaughter away to a Red Devils side who had won their previous 10 home league matches and not lost since mid-October.
But, with angry words still stinging their ears after the weekend home defeat by Kidderminster, this was a much gutsier showing from the Stags.
As expected they were under constant pressure from the runaway leaders though, after going behind to Kyle McFadzean’s 14th minute thunderbolt, Louis Briscoe did strike the post and Paul Connor fire the follow-up over the gaping goal.
But Steve Evans’ men made it a torrid night, keeper David Grof making two excellent fingertip saves to thwart Charlie Wassmer and Dean Howell, another flying save to deny Richard Brodie, Ben Smith hitting a post and Matt Tubbs seeing his finish hit the bar off Tyrone Thompson on the line.
But, with Tom Naylor and Kevin Sandwith again performing heroics in the centre of defence, it took until nine minutes from time before Matt Tubbs finally sealed the three points for the Football League-bound Red Devils.
See tomorrow’s Chad for full match report.