EVANS AND DIAMOND REACTION
Boss pleased with performances in Trophy victories
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 31 October 2017
Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans has been impressed by the quality of football displayed by his side in their last two Checkatrade Trophy matches as back-to-back victories against Everton and Notts County put the Stags in a strong position to qualify for the second round.
Skipper Zander Diamond marked his return from injury with the winning goal in tonight's 1-0 victory over Everton U23s as Stags drew level with Group G leaders Lincoln City on six points.
Stags will now qualify unless Notts County beat Lincoln City by one, two or three goals next week.
If County fail to win, or beat the Imps by four or more, Stags will qualify.
And after seeing his side pick up their second consecutive win in the competition after last week's 2-1 victory over Notts County, the gaffer credited his players for their high performance levels in both matches.
"I thought we had some real good performances [tonight] and credit to the players, on both Tuesdays they've stepped up and the quality of the football's been impressive," the Stags' chief said.
"We dominated from start to finish. If I'm being honest, it resembled Exeter on Saturday.
"I think the young Everton goalkeeper (Louis Gray) makes a mistake for the goal but he's kept his team in it with three or four wonder saves when he's going in different directions and manages to get back."
Although Stags always looked the most likely side to get a winner during tonight's encounter, it took until the 81st minute for the home side to breach the Toffees' defence and the manager commended the quality in the Merseyside club's ranks.
"Because Everton turn up here with a 23s' side, maybe people don't know who they are - and they're not expected to know who they are - in terms of players in the Everton side, they'll probably think these are kids. These are boys who have played in the Championship.
"Two or three of them travelled with the first team at the weekend. The acting boss up above them in the first team, David Unsworth, knows these players very well and he's not taking those players if he doesn't think they've got a contribution to make, that's for sure.
"You don't go and train with Everton's first team, with the likes of Wayne Rooney etcetera, if you've not got real ability to play.
"We watched the highlights of their two previous [games] and we think they are possibly unfortunate to have zero points. They certainly should have four, if not six, and I think tonight the best thing I can say about our performance is we could have won by five or six here ourselves."
Stags' match-winner against the Toffees was defender Zander Diamond, who has spent the last two months on the sidelines with a groin injury and the boss was impressed by his skipper's overall contribution in this evening's match.
"I thought he was very dominant. Their young striker's very good and he will play at a very decent level, but Zander's not given him a kick today. He's been very powerful and strong against him and we've missed that.
"We're in the journey and in the process of getting him back. The plan was [for him to play] 65 or 70 minutes, but typical Diamond, we're looking at him and he's shaking his head saying 'no'. He'll be tired tomorrow but it's good to have the big fella back."
Stags' fans can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's post-match interview in full.
Steve Evans delighted as Mansfield Town players ‘step it up’
chad.co.uk, by STEPHEN THIRKILL, Tuesday 31 October 2017
Delighted Stags boss Steve Evans praised his back-up players for once again stepping up to the mark. He was left thrilled after watching his side, which featured 11 changes from the Exeter draw, defeat Everton U23’s 1-0 thanks to Zander Diamond’s 81st minute header.
It was a thoroughly deserved win as Mansfield dominated from start to finish, with only heroic goalkeeping and brilliant last-ditch defending keeping them at bay for so long.
Evans said: ““We have domInated from start to finish. It resembled Exeter on Saturday if I am honest. “We had the chances, Their keeper made a mistake on the goal but he has kept them in it with some great saves.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/steve-evans-delighted-as-mansfield-town-players-step-it-up-1-8833950
“We played some terrific football in both halves and there were some really good performances. “Credit to the boys, they have really stepped it up both Tuesdays (tonight and Notts County game). “What a wonderful situation we are in when we can make changes and bring in good players.
“We are bringing in the likes of Joel Byrom and Diamond back and have other players battling to get back to full fitness. We have got good options.
“There were four or five big performers tonight, which gives me selection issues to think about on Saturday. “Everton brought some very good players tonight, players who travelled and trained with the first team and players who have a contribution to the club and offer real ability. “People might not have heard of these players but make no mistake, we have played against a very good team tonight. “It’s a shame we did not get to three tonight, we could have won five or six.” And he was also full of praise for returning captain Zander Diamond, who played his first match in two months after returning from injury. “I’m pleased Zander Diamond got the goal because he missed a shocker,” he said. “He was every dominate against a very good young striker who will play at a good level. “He was strong and he hasn’t given the striker a kick tonight and we have missed that. “He will be tired tomorrow, it was a good shift and very good to have him back.” The win moves Stags up to second in the Group G table, level on points with leaders Lincoln and three ahead of Notts County, who face each other in the group’s final fixture at Sincil Bank on Tuesday. “Progressing is not a priority for us and I won’t be at the game next Tuesday,” he added “We have put in three strong performances and Lincoln v Notts will be a good game. “I won’t be there though as we are looking at other opposition. “We want to go through. If you are in it you want to win, but it has not been a priority.”
Diamond buzzing to be back
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 31 October 2017
Stags' skipper Zander Diamond expressed his delight at returning to action as he scored the only goal of the game in tonight's 1-0 win over Everton U23s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
After a goalless first half, Stags got the reward their domination deserved in the second period as Diamond headed home winger Alfie Potter's corner in the 81st minute.
Tonight's match was the former Northampton Town defender's first appearance in over two months due to a groin strain, and the Scot was delighted to be back in action.
"I think a lot of people dismiss this tournament but it was important for me to come into this game. It was if I was 18 again, kicking a football," the 32-year-old said.
"It's been a long time coming; five to six weeks of hard graft and frustration but to get 90 minutes under my belt, a clean sheet and a goal is a good evening's work.
"I wouldn't say I was totally sharp. I've got to do all the necessary recovery after tonight's game but I'm old enough and wise enough to understand that the sharpness will come.
"Experience gets me through games, as it did tonight, and hopefully a run in the team and training will sharpen me up for the coming weeks."
The experienced defender is now hoping to put his injury nightmares behind him and help Stags climb the Sky Bet League Two table
"With that under my belt, the 90 minutes, hopefully I'll recover well and you can play your part in Mansfield's season going forward.
"I feel like it's been stop-start for my career here so hopefully we'll move in the right direction.
"Adrenaline does kick in but as I said before, experience gets you [through it]. You've got to tick off the minutes as you go along but it was important just to get through injury free.
"The methods of recovery, you know the medical team will have me on them and hopefully [I'll be] available for selection for Saturday."
Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view Zander Diamond's post-match interview.