Chris Beardsley savours winning goal for Mansfield Town at Crawley Town

Chris Beardsley.
Chris Beardsley.

Chris Beardsley savoured his first Mansfield Town goal for over nine years as it proved enough to see the Stags home 1-0 at Crawley Town at the weekend.

The 31-year-old is back with the club for a third spell this season, but has spent much of it out with injury.

However, two starts this week have seen him play a big part in two away wins in five days and he said: “It’s been a long time out with injury.

Click HERE to see video of Beardsley’s winner and other highlights from Crawley.

“It’s been a frustrating time, sat on the periphery of it all. I’ve had to bide my time and get myself fit – though maybe not match fit.

“But it’s just been nice to get back out there on the pitch in a competitive game, and we’ve come out with six points this week which is always nice.

“Early doors this season I felt pretty good, I felt sharp but I knew I needed a run of games and the injury just held me back.”

He continued: “I couldn’t train flat out which is never a good thing.

“We had to pull me out of training twice for a long period and I remember sitting down with the gaffer prior to Barnet and he said – look we’re just going to have to manage you.

“Over the last two months, that’s what we’ve done. We have gradually built me back up and hopefully that’s the end of it and we can just concentrate on the football.

“There were days when I’d go home and I’d be pulling my hair out. But you do whatever you can to get fit. You try some really crazy things.

“But it’s football and I’ve been there before. That’s the one thing I can say – I have experienced bigger lows than this.

“The gaffer just said get yourself right or fit enough to get on the pitch and you have got a big part to play. It’s took a long time coming but it’s nice to get out there in competitive games and to win them.”

Beardsley got himself free of a marker on Saturday to head home a Mal Benning corner on the hour and said: “It’s always nice to get a goal.

“Personally it’s a great feeling, but then three points always tastes a bit sweeter than anything else and I think we’ve bounced back well this week with two very solid, disciplined and professional performances.”

The win was marred by a red card for a second bookable offence for fellow striker Matt Green, but Beardsley had nothing but praise for the club’s top scorer.

“He is a constant threat as you saw again today,” he said. “Defenders at this level can’t deal with him. It’s down to us as a team to try to give him some service and play to his strengths.

“He has took a battering so far this season. He has played a lot of football and played up there on his own for quite a bit, and physically he has been kicked from pillar to post.

“Again today I didn’t feel like we got much protection as a pair, similar to Tuesday night. But we are trying to give as good as we get and we know what it’s like at this level.

“Greeny will get chances and score goals and as a team it’s down to us to create them.”

He added: “My strength is probably to give the team a base to play off.

“Whether it be Greeny or anyone else, if I can give them a solid base and the footballers who are runners can play and get the timing off me, I feel we will be a force to be reckoned with.

“I’ve only played two games. There’s a lot of work still to be done.

“I constantly try to improve. We are a brand new squad that’s been together for six months, but we are gradually stepping in the right direction.

“We will always take one on the chin, but I think it’s how we bounce back.”