Bentley: We made changes for right reasons at Mansfield

Jim Bentley and assistant boss Ken McKenna.
Jim Bentley and assistant boss Ken McKenna.
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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley has defended his decision to make changes in the defeat at Mansfield on Tuesday night.

The Shrimps had five new faces in the starting 11 compared with the win over Plymouth on Saturday and also switched to a 3-5-2 system.

The visitors lost 1-0 to a 90th-minute Alex Fisher header with Bentley admitting his side looked at their most threatening when they switched to their preferred 4-2-3-1 shape with a quarter of the game to go.

The Shrimps boss said: “We looked a little bit more threatening when we went back to what we knew and in hindsight people will say well why did you change it anyway?

“But we changed it for the right reasons.

“Young Paul Mullin is still getting adjusted to this level and has been going down with cramp in games.

“I can’t play Kevin Ellison in every game like I did last season so we’ve learnt to give him a bit of a blow now and then and it’s the same with Alan Goodall to a certain extent.

“We’ve got a couple of knocks too. Little Jack (Redshaw) was due to start but went down in training yesterday.

“I thought everyone gave it their all and we could have easily come away with a good 0-0 at a tough place.

“There’s positives but we know we can play better.”

Bentley also set his side up with three central defenders, Andy Parrish, returning captain Mark Hughes and Ryan Edwards, with Mansfield’s more direct style in mind.

He said: “We knew what to expect and they threw the ball in the box but we defended really well.

“There wasn’t much in it. They had the lion share of the ball in the box but that’s the way they play.

“Somebody’s just told me 29 long throws went into the box tonight and we defended 28 of them well. But the one that we haven’t has ultimately cost us the game. 
“I’m gutted that the goal’s come from something we’ve worked on but these things happen.”

One positive for the Shrimps was youth team product Aaron McGowan’s impressive full debut at right wing back.

Bentley said: “(Shaun) Beeley’s not fit, we’re playing with wing backs and no disrespect to Wrighty, but I think Aaron McGowan is probably better offensively and that’s why we made the change.

“Aaron’s been doing well in the reserves, he’s trained really, really well and sometimes you’ve got to give youth a chance.

“I think he played well and can pleased with his efforts. We saw him stretching his hamstrings off with 20 to go so that’s why we made the change.”