Stalwart Mal Benning not worried about Mansfield Town’s slow start to the season

Mal Benning of Mansfield Town.
Mal Benning of Mansfield Town.

Stalwart Mansfield Town wing back Mal Benning, who has just chalked up 150 Football League appearances for the Stags, is not worried by their slow start to the new campaign.

“It’s still early days and I am sure we’ll click soon enough. And when we do we’ll go on a run,” he said.

“Everyone is down from the result on Tuesday. But you can’t get too down if you look back at last season when we started off very slowly with many draws.

“You win on Saturday and it’s a new perspective and everyone is buzzing again. We just have to keep working hard. Win Saturday and it’s a new day. It changes everything.

“We are eager to put it right on Saturday in front of the home fans.

“We showed in the first half on Tuesday how good we can be.

“We need to be positive and on the front foot – no sitting back, no negativity. We need to go out there, express ourselves and do what we do – put on a show and score goals.”

Against Leyton Orient on Tuesday, Stags saw their 2-0 lead slip away to lose 3-2 to a late goal but said: “We did the same thing at Colchester last year.

“I wouldn’t say it was a freak result as we could have prevented it ourselves. But we have to dust ourselves down and go again.

“I think we maybe felt too comfortable. We could have finished the game off – myself included. I had a couple of chances to score the third goal.

“For the first chance in the first half I felt a bit of contact and I should have just concentrated on finishing it and not going down.

“For the second chance in the second half, normally I am blasting those. I concentrated too much on trying to place it instead of putting my foot through it.

“After they scored their first goal, it was one of those where we had to regroup and concentrate on not conceding a second.

“But things happen and, if I’m honest, I think it was a lack of professionalism at the end, conceding in the 96th minute.”

Last season Stevenage stunned promotion-chasing Mansfield with a shock late 2-1 win at the One Call Stadium that proved so damaging in the final outcome.

“I don’t really want to think about that game – it’s gone,” said Benning.

“It’s always going to be a tough game against Stevenage or any team in League Two. But if we impose ourselves on them I am sure we’ll be fine.

“Last season we were unbeaten for a long time at home and it’s a good base for us to pick up points from.

“We did lose here on Tuesday. But if we can start an unbeaten run here on Saturday from now until the end of the season, it will stand us in good stead.”

On his 150th game for the club, he smiled: “I didn’t know that until I saw it on Twitter.

“But I am quite proud to achieve that landmark of 150 League appearances for Mansfield Town. It’s been a very good period in my career so far and I hope to continue that.

“Me and Krystian Pearce have been here a long time now and we are enjoying it.”