MURRAY, STEVENSON, PAUL TISDALE REACTION
Murray hails vital win
Assistant Manager Adam Murray believes our side picked up ‘a huge three points’ following a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Exeter City this afternoon.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/murray-hails-vital-win-1275607.aspx?#vQzBXctmQJBDPk1p.99
Lee Stevenson's close-range strike on the stroke of half-time proved to be just enough for Mansfield Town to take all three points as they dealt with Exeter's ever-lasting pressure.
The win lifts us up into 16th place in Sky Bet League Two as they recorded their seventh point in three games.
However, we were left to fight for maximum points this afternoon in a nerve-wracking finish that saw six minutes of added time on top of the 90 which midfielder Murray believes was a test of character for our side.
“When the six minutes went up, all the lads looked at each other as if to say ‘what is going on here?” said Murray.
“Again, it was another test of character; you have to refocus yourself and dig in. The last few minutes were live or die but we have picked up a huge three points today.
“If you’re in the group and around the players every day, there has been a feeling in the last couple of weeks that there’s a bit of grit in between people’s teeth and a few of us have seen the light knowing what their roles and jobs are.
Meanwhile, Murray has urged our side not to get carried away with today's victory at St James’ Park and has aimed our players to continue their fine run of form.
He added: “Obviously we don’t want to get too carried away, but we have shown again today we are putting building blocks in place and building on previous results we have achieved.
“It was a hard-fought game today and we were under the cosh for a little bit, but we got the result we wanted and now we move on.
“I didn't realise how heavy the pitch was, but for the boys to keep up a good work rate for 90 minutes was a fantastic job.
“We’ve got some fit boys in there and lads that have gone through the mill this week so full credit to all of them for digging in and seeing out the 90 minutes.”
500th game is a grueller for Adam Murray as Stags hang on at Exeter
Few matches in his career can have been as gruelling as Adam Murray’s landmark 500th game in Mansfield Town’s heroic 1-0 win at Exeter City today.
The Stags assistant manager came on as part of a triple second half substitution as the visitors desperately clung onto a first half Lee Stevenson goal under wave after wave of Exeter attacks.
The Grecians had the luxury of a blank midweek after heavy rain left their pitch waterlogged, while Stags battled out a grim 0-0 draw with Burton.
So it was no surprise that Exeter looked the fresher later on in a game played on what was still a very wet pitch.
“I think they call that backs to the wall. In the last 15-20 minutes there were a lot of tired legs out there,” said Murray.
“The pitch was heavy and cut up and you could see people on their last legs out there.
“Matt Rhead is in there laying on the floor and looks like he may be dead!
“We got there with sheer determination, team spirit and desire to see it through.
“Up top Rheady had run his socks off. But the ball starting coming back at us so we just went for getting bodies behind the ball.
“The recent run we’ve been on before this week showed through with the anxiety we showed not to give the points away.
“We still need to be a hell of a lot better with the football, but we are working on that.
“You can’t argue with three points away from home.
“They did hit the post at the end. But it is all about putting the ball in the net. We did that and they didn’t.
“I won’t lie and say it was a great performance.”
Murray was delighted to see Stevenson pop up with the winner.
He said: “We needed someone to get onto those second balls, and he is like a little sniffer dog isn’t he? The fox in the box got the goal.
“Alan Marriott made a couple of saves that kept us in the game too. Even at his ripe old age he is still one of the best around.
“It is a massive three points as this was a huge game for us today.”
Mansfield Town tightlipped over move for Marlon Harewood as they talk to 'quite a few players'
Nottingham Post by Matt Halfpenny
MANSFIELD Town are remaining tightlipped over a possible move for former Nottingham Forest striker Marlon Harewood.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Mansfield-Town-tightlipped-Marlon-Harewood-talk/story-20404524-detail/story.html#ixzz2pbwObGg5
Rumours have been rife that the 34-year-old ex-Aston Villa and West Ham Premier League front man has been at the One Call Stadium for talks.
London-born 6ft 1ins hitman Harewood is a friend of Stags' coach Richard Cooper, with the two having been together as players at the City Ground.
Asked after the hard-fought 1-0 win at Exeter whether the man recently released by Bristol City was a Mansfield target, player-assistant boss Adam Murray said: "There's been a lot of talks going on over the last two weeks trying to prepare things for this January transfer window.
"I know the gaffer is talking to quite a few players, and good quality players at that. But it's not as easy as just drawing up a list and saying we want X, Y and Z.
"There is a lot of work to be done and finance involved before you can bring a new player in, but hopefully we will see something happen within the next seven days."
Murray, however, was more forthcoming on the future of Darryl Westlake, who played the final game of a loan spell from League One Sheffield United.
Manager Paul Cox has previously said he would like to keep the right-back until the end of the current campaign.
Murray added: "We're hoping he will be in the squad with us to play against Scunthorpe on Saturday.
"I know there have been continuous talks between the gaffer and Sheffield United and we're looking to keep him as long as we can."
"He's a good player and I think the fans have seen what he's capable of since he's come here."
The Stags' weekend triumph at St James' Park was secured courtesy of Lee Stevenson's fourth goal of the season.
But after chances at both ends, Mansfield were left to hold on in the last 20 minutes.
"We have come away from home to a team that has been in this league a while and knows it inside out and had a week's rest, while we had a tough game on an energy-sapping pitch on Wednesday and then a four-and-a-half journey down here," said Murray.
"We showed our team spirit and belief in ourselves that we could dig in and see it out. If we'd have taken our chances first half it might have given us more breathing space.
"These last three games in a short space of time were always going to be tricky, so to get seven points out of nine is a fantastic effort.
"We got that little bit of luck that we didn't get in the run we had before Christmas. Hopefully now we are coming around the corner and building to better things."
Harewood and McGinty on Stags‘ wanted list?
chad.co.uk, 06 January 2014
Mansfield Town fans are eagerly awaiting news of new signings with strong rumours that former Nottingham Forest striker Marlon Harewood and Sheffield United defender Sean McGinty are on the club’s hit list.
Paul Cox and his team are working hard to try to strengthen the squad in this current window and former Forest, Aston Villa and West Ham striker Harewood (34) was recently released by Bristol City and is a friend of Stags coach Richard Cooper, the pair having been players together at Forest.
Hareweood is said to have been seen at One Call Stadium having talks, but the club are not making any comment over potential targets.
Also rumoured to be a Mansfield target is Sheffield United left back McGinty (19), who has the dubious honour of being the last player shown the door by Alex Ferguson at Manchester United after failing to turn up for training while on loan at Tranmere.
McGinty cost United around £1m when signed from Charlton Athletic’s Academy as a highly promising 16-year-old.
Stags have already let midfielder Godfrey Poku go out on loan to Alfreton Town as they try to free up wages for new faces.
Don’t write us off for play-offs battle - Stevenson
From talk of a possible relegation battle, Mansfield Town have now taken seven points from three games and Lee Stevenson insisted fans should not write them off for a part in the battle for the play-offs instead.
Stevenson’s winning goal in yesterday’s nerve-racking 1-0 win at Exeter eased the Stags up to 16th, nine points off the play-off spots.
Stevenson said: “I think we have had a lot of bad luck recently with our results and we have always worked hard. We have never not believed in ourselves.
“I have never been involved in a relegation battle in my career and I don’t want to start now.”
“We have had a lot of bad luck recently. Today we rode our luck so maybe this is the start of something?
“Before the game we were only 12 points off the play-offs which is only a few wins. It is all very tight.”
Stevenson came up with the match-winning goal just before half-time and said: “I was due one to be honest. I saw John Dempster had put a quality ball forward to Matt Rhead.
“He gave it to Ollie Palmer, who made a great assist for me.
“I was going to hit it first time, but decided to take a touch as I thought the defender would take me out and it would be a penalty.
“He didn’t, but I was in on goal and I slotted it in. I am a one (goal) in three (games) man and that’s what the gaffer picks me for.
“We haven’t seen much of our families over Christmas, but this makes it all worthwhile. We have taken seven points from three matches and I am chuffed to bits.
“Exeter playing 4-4-2 suited us and the gaffer had done his homework. He just said go out and express yourself and pick the second balls up.
“I had a very hard training session on Thursday as I didn’t know I was playing today. The gaffer just sprang it on me. Now I hope I can keep my shirt.”
Alan Marriott @Mazza_78
Finally home after a long ass trip from Exeter!! Felt like I've just participated in a war film. Bodies flying everywhere! #3pts
Lord Oliver Palmer @OliverJPalmer
Absolutely shattered. Boys had to dig deep today, it's been a busy period. Good to get an assist for my boy @leestevoooo great goal lad
Tis: “We’re an inch away”
Read more at http://www.exetercityfc.co.uk/news/article/tis-were-an-inch-away-1275347.aspx#FrcPv84KZ04SePc4.99
Manager gives verdict on Mansfield defeat
We’re an inch away from being a really good team, but that last inch in the most difficult inch."
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale, like the St James Park crowd, was left scratching his head as to how the Grecians were undone by a 1-0 defeat against visitors Mansfield Town.
Lee Stevenson’s goal for the Stags, on the cusp of half-time, was game’s only goal. An evenly contested first half was followed by a second period where Exeter attacked in waves and simply could not, by hook or by crook, find the back of the net.
“It was a really good game of football - the game deserved more goals than the one goal that we got,” said Tis.
“I think we were on the better side of a performance - I don’t think we played poorly and I felt, as the players do, really frustrated that we didn’t manage to even get a draw.
“I suppose that’s what happens when a team hangs on; we’ve seen it once or twice in the last couple of weeks, like away at Cheltenham.”
The Grecians were a hair’s breadth from equalising on a number of occasions - and the post came to the rescue of Mansfield on no less than three times. Even with the Big Bank doing their best to suck the ball into the net, the visitors survived to take all three points back to the East Midlands.
And, as well as hitting the woodwork, Tis felt that his boys were ‘an inch away’ in a different sense of the analogy. He felt that the developing side are oh so close to being a success, but that they can’t claim to be until they begin finding a way of winning matches.
“We’re an inch away from being a really good team, but that last inch in the most difficult inch because it’s about defending at one end at a crucial moment, and it’s about putting the ball in the net,” he explained.
“It’s going to be a case of a step forward, a step back, two forward, one back - that’s how it’s going to go. I’m pleased with the players today, but I’ve made it clear to them - you can’t call yourself a good side if you’re a losing team, and if when you concede a goal you can’t score. That’s the vital part of the game.
“It’s about the details and the vital moments, and all of that put together. But we’ve got to keep going because we’ve got a promising team there.”
The home fans were certainly singing from the same hymn-sheet too. As City ramped up the pressure on the Stags’ goal in the second period, drawing plentiful saves from Alan Marriott, the supporters cranked up the decibels in kind.
Paul was delighted with the reaction of the crowd and the way they backed the young team as they went in search of what ultimately proved to be an elusive goal.
“There was energy there and was a vitality to the way we played - it wasn’t perfect, but there was a vitality to it, and that was reciprocated by our supporters,” continued the City boss.”
“It doesn’t take a lot, and it works both ways - it would have been hard not to support your team today, the way they took the game to Mansfield.”
Latest | January 2014