Adam Murray said he was enjoying ‘over-achieving’ as his Mansfield Town side earned a superb 2-2 draw at promotion rivals Oxford United tonight to make it four games unbeaten and move to fourth place in League Two.
Oxford roared back to lead after Matt Green had put Stags ahead at his old club, but sub Jack Thomas popped up with an 89th minute leveller and manager Murray said: “To come here to a club like this in the mix with the big boys that we are at the minute, it feels really good. I am enjoying this over-achieving business.
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“We’ve still got a lot of football to play. But, before a ball was kicked, if people had said we’d be four points behind Oxford at this time of the season we’d have bitten their arms, legs and head off. We are happy with that.
“To come here and be disappointed we’ve not got more than a point speaks volumes.
“We want to stay in here and we want to get promoted. But we are also realistic. “We are flying high right now and people don’t expect us to be here and think we should be at the other end of the table. We’re enjoying proving everyone wrong at the minute and we’ll keep working hard.
“As long as we keep on showing that fight and that spirit, you never know.”
Few gave Stags a prayer at the Kassam Stadium tonight, and Murray had much praise for his old club.
“It’s obviously a great point for us,” he said. “I said before the game that Oxford are the best team in the league for me. They are very good at what they do. They play an excellent style, they’ve got some great players and a very good manager. So we knew it was going to be our toughest challenge.
“At times we looked a little jaded from Saturday, while they were fresher which made it a little more difficult.
“First half I thought we deserved a little bit more than we got. I thought our game plan and some of the performances were superb, then at times they showed their quality, which they were always going to do.
“We felt a little bit disappointed with the goals we conceded because, as good as Oxford’s play was, they were two sloppy goals to concede from our point of view – not like us at all.
“But, again the boys showed the ridiculous spirit we’ve got in the camp to come back and nick a point.
“We made some good chances and the one save their keeper pulled off was top drawer. He’s nearly as good as our keeper, so you expect that from him.
“We did have chances to get more out the game, but they had chances as well so it levelled itself out, and at times we had to be more ‘ugly’ than we’d probably like to be.
“A point was a fair result. On the balance of play I think we edged the first part of the game but second half of the game I think they had longer periods of better spells.”
On Green scoring, he said: “It’s great for him to come back here and score and I thought his performance again was top drawer,” and on the success of his substitutions again, he added: “Chris (Beardsley) when he came on changed the game and Dan (Alfei) made a great debut. Jack Thomas, when he came on, made the impact.
“The subs through the season have come on and played a massive part in our season which I am chuffed to bits with.”