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12th March 2018 12:01

Gaffer pleased with Stags' commitment in Imps draw
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 06 March 2018

Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft was encouraged by his players’ commitment in this evening’s 1-1 draw at home to Lincoln City, despite admitting his disappointment not to reward the Stags’ supporters with a victory.

Half-time substitute Joel Byrom headed the Stags ahead in the 49th minute before former Stags’ striker Ollie Palmer rescued a point for the visitors with a 90th minute equaliser.

Both sides finished with ten men after Luke Waterfall was first shown a red card for throwing a bottle into the Stags’ crowd after the Imps’ equaliser, before centre-half Rhys Bennett received a second yellow card for a foul on Palmer.

And after overseeing a draw in his first game in charge of the club, the gaffer was disappointed not to reward the club’s supporters with three points after receiving a rapturous welcome as he emerged from the tunnel prior to the game.

“I’m disappointed I’ve not been able to give the fans the home win I really wanted to give them and the three points," the manager said.


“The reception myself and Ben [Futcher, assistant manager] got was fantastic, I’m really appreciative of that.

“You can sense there’s an energy and they want to back the players. They’ve got a real belonging to the players for how they’ve performed this season and I just hope we can keep that energy high and that octane high.

“I was encouraged by the commitment. The commitment from all the lads, they’ve been good in the last two days but there’s still a lot of improvement.

“There’s still a lot work to do on the training ground, which I’m looking forward to. In possession, we can be a lot better on the ball, a lot calmer.

“When we did get it down and switch the play [in the] first half, for about eight or nine minutes, we looked a decent team and created a few chances.

“In the second half, the only bit of real quality was the goal. It’s a well-worked goal but there wasn’t much quality beyond that.”

The new Stags’ manager believes his side comfortably dealt with the physical presence of the Imps, in particular striker Matt Rhead, but admits Stags’ defence dropped too deep in the latter stages of the contest.

“From a spectacle, I don’t think it was a good spectacle at all. At times, we got involved in a sort of basketball match with them and you’ve got to retain the ball better against those types of teams because if you keep giving them the ball back, they keep shoving it down your throat.

“They keep coming at you and you’re susceptible to the goal we conceded. Later on in the game, we dropped too deep.

“Dealing with Rhead, when he’s on your six-yard box, becomes a problem. I thought the lads dealt with it, if I’m being honest, for 89 minutes. The crucial bit is dealing with it for 96 minutes and we didn’t.

“Lincoln keep coming at you, keep pressing you and don’t give you a minute. They throw the size on; they’re a big team anyway but they keep throwing the size on.”

Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager’s full post-match interview.


New boss Flitcroft impressed with home fans’ backing
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS,Tuesday 06 March 2018

David Flitcroft was disappointed not to win his first game in charge of Mansfield Town after visiting Lincoln stole a late 1-1 draw tonight. But Flitcroft, who took over the hot seat from Steve Evans last Thursday, was impressed by the commitment of his new charges and the response of the fans to them as well as to himself and assistant Ben Futcher. Sub Joel Byrom had Stags in charge until ex-Stag Ollie Palmer levelled on 90 minutes for a direct Lincoln side that had bombarded the home goal.

“I am disappointed I’ve not to be able to give the fans the home win I really wanted to give them and the three points,” said Flitcroft.

“But it is another point to the total and that’s how I’ll view it.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/new-boss-flitcroft-impressed-with-home-fans-backing-1-9050681

“I don’t think it was a good spectacle at all. “At times we got involved in a basketball match with them and you’ve got to retain the ball better against those direct teams. “If you give them the ball back they keep shoving it down your throat and keep coming at you. That leaves you susceptible to the goal we conceded. “We dropped too deep later on in the game, then dealing with Matt Rhead on the edge of your six yard box becomes a problem. “If I’m being honest the lads dealt with it for 89 minutes. But the crucial thing is dealing with it for 96 minutes and we didn’t.” Byrom came on as a half-time sub and scored his first goal for the club within four minutes. Explaining the switch, Flitcroft said: “Adam King was on a booking in a local derby. “I just thought second half it would hot up a bit and that Joel’s calmness and his considered approach would give us a springboard which it did.” On his new charges, he said: “I was encouraged by the commitment, but there’s still a lot of work to do. “I need to get them a bit calmer in possession. We can be a lot better in and out of possession. “When we did get the ball down and switch play in the first half we did look a decent team. Second half the goal was the only bit of quality. “I think a draw was about right. Lincoln keep coming at you and pressing you. They don’t give you a minute and keep throwing size on.” Flitcroft and Futcher were given a rapturous ovation as they walked onto the field at the start. Flitcroft said: “The reception myself and Ben got was fantastic and we’re really appreciative of that. You can sense there is an energy and they want to back the players. “They’ve got a real belonging to the players for how they’ve performed this season. I just hope we can keep that energy and that octane high.”


Byrom lauds new gaffer's positive impact
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 06 March 2018

Classy midfielder Joel Byrom has described new Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft as ‘a breath of fresh air’ since his arrival at the club last week.

The cultured midfielder was sent on as a half-time substitute in tonight’s 1-1 draw with Lincoln City and made an almost instant impact, heading the ball beyond Imps’ ‘keeper Ryan Allsop after 49 minutes.

Stags were on course for a maiden win under the new manager, before Lincoln frontman Ollie Palmer salvaged a point for the visitors in the 90th minute.

And speaking after the draw with the Imps, Byrom has described the positive influence of the new gaffer following his appointment less than a week ago.

“It’s been like a breath of fresh air, it’s been brilliant,” Byrom said.

“The manager’s come in and he’s been so positive. The training’s been fantastic. We’ve just got to look to improve now and take things on board and go again at the weekend.


“He’s tried to keep quite a few things the same because we’re on a good run. He’s just implemented little things you see in training, little tweaks that you can see that maybe we haven’t previously seen and it’s all positive.

“I think you could see tonight we’ve got to be better with the ball. If we’re a little bit more composed on the ball, and we don’t give it away cheaply, they don’t get to fire [those] diagonals into our box.”

Although he acknowledges Stags weren’t at their best this evening, Byrom believes Stags contained Lincoln well and is disappointed not to come away with maximum points.

“It hurts. We weren’t at our best tonight but we contained them. The defenders have dealt with the way they play fantastically in the second half and we’ve just got to get over the line.

“It was a sucker-punch right at the end but we just couldn’t hold on.

“It was probably a fair result. I think we’ve got improvement to work on with the ball but without the ball today I think we’ve worked hard and we’ve battled against a team that are very effective in this league.”

Byrom’s delicate header was his first goal in Stags’ colours and he now hopes to reclaim his spot in the starting XI after a run of four games out of the side.

“It’s my first goal in a couple of years.

“I got the call at half-time to come on and I just wanted to have an impact on the game.

“I was a bit disappointed to be out of the team but I just got my head down, worked hard and hopefully had an impact tonight to get a place at the weekend.

“Within five minutes I got the goal which was pleasing but it’s a shame we couldn’t hold on in the end.”

Supporters can view Joel Byrom’s full post-match interview on iFollow Stags.


Byrom hoping to win starting place back after maiden Stags goal
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS,Tuesday 06 March 2018

Mansfield Town midfielder Joel Byrom is hoping his first goal for the club in tonight’s 1-1 home draw with rivals Lincoln can help win him his starting place back under new boss David Flitcroft. Byrom had lost his place four games back to Swansea loanee Adam King, but came on as a half-time sub tonight to put Stags ahead before Ollie Palmer’s last minute leveller spoiled Flitcroft’s first game in charge. “I got the call at half-time to come on and I just wanted to have an impact on the game,” said Byrom.

“Within five minutes I got the goal, which was pleasing. But it’s a shame we couldn’t hold on in the end.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/byrom-hoping-to-win-starting-place-back-after-maiden-stags-goal-1-9050691

“It was a great ball. Hayden did really well. He just put it in between the defender and the keeper and, to be fair, I had a feeling as soon as I set off that I was going to get on the end of it. “It was my first goal in a couple of years and it’s got us a point at the end of the day, though I’d rather it had been three.” But the late Palmer goal spoiled the night and Byrom said: “It hurts. We weren’t at our best tonight but we sort of contained them. “Our defenders dealt with the way they play fantastically second half and we just had to get over the line. It was a bit of a sucker punch really right at the end. We just couldn’t hold on. “A draw was probably a fair result in the end. We won’t know how important it is until the end of then season.” On new manager Flitcroft’s first few days in charge, he said: “It’s been like a breath of fresh air. It’s been brilliant. “The manager has come in and been so positive and the training has been fantastic. We now need to take things on board and go again at the weekend. “He has tried to keep a lot of things the same as we’re on a good run but just implemented little things in training - little tweaks he can see. “You can see the lads are flying in training and it’s all positive. “I was a bit disappointed to be out the team but I just got my head down and worked hard. “Hopefully I had enough impact tonight to get a place at the weekend.”


Cowley full of praise for never say die Imps
"You'll have to kill us to beat us."

lincolnshirelive.co.uk, By Alan Johnson, 6 MAR 2018

A delighted Danny Cowley felt his side were worth at least a point as the Imps grabbed a last minute equaliser at Mansfield’s One Call Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Substitute Ollie Palmer was on hand to deny the Stags and thus prevented Cowley from suffering a third consecutive defeat for the first time in his tenure.

The Imps boss felt such a performance stood his side in good stead going into the business end of the season.

“I liked a lot of what I saw tonight and it’s given us a platform to build on for the rest of the season,” he said.


“To concede that goal was really disappointing and when you’ve had two defeats it really tests your mettle. I was just really proud of the players’ response and fight, because that’s where we have had our success.

“The will (to win) is really important. We’ve all had to work really hard to get to this place - we all want better for ourselves and for this brilliant football club. To do that you have to fight really hard and out-work people, which tonight we did.”

City had the lions’ share of the attacking play throughout the night and limited the hosts to just two shots on target - something that didn’t go unnoticed by Cowley.

“I was pleased to take a point, but I genuinely felt we deserved more,” he said.

“It was tight, but if you look at the context of the game whereby we’ve come to a Mansfield team who are in a really good place and only lost once here all season it speaks volumes. They have a new manager and some top players so we’re really pleased with our performance, and as I said in terms of the will, and the intensity, we set every standard tonight and must continue to do so.”

“Forget league tables, we have 11 games to go and we’re fighting. You’ll have to kill us to beat us because we have a lot of determination in the group and we want to make our lives better.”

As it happened: Mansfield Town v Lincoln City

The Imps players, as they have done time and time again, fought to the death, which is something Stags boss David Flitcroft knows only too well.

The manager, who was in charge of Mansfield for the first time, knows only too well what it feels like to be denied by City in the dying seconds. For Flitcroft was manager of the Swindon Town side who led at Sincil Bank last month until Michael Bostwick popped up with a 93 minute leveller.

“It just shows you we go to the end and we never know when we’re beaten,” added Cowley.

“You can throw a lot of things at us, but we’ll always fight and give it our all. We try to align ourselves with people who have the work ethic and the determination that we do.”

City boast a remarkable record of Tuesday night league results this season with the point at Mansfield adding to seven wins and just one defeat.

Similarly in cup competitions City’s unbeaten run in the Checkatrade Trophy, which has culminated in next month’s Wembley final, has also been the result of Tuesday evening successes.

Away from the league only League One Rotherham United have beaten City this season in midweek - a defeat that came in the first week of the campaign.

Cowley responded when questioned whether there was something about playing under the lights that inspired his team.

“Yeah maybe there is an intensity and an extra level we can get to on midweek games,” he said. “There could be something in that.”

“The fans always stay with us and Nicky and I have had some special nights.”

The valuable point did come at a price though, with Luke Waterfall receiving his marching orders following the Imps’ celebrations after Ollie Palmer’s goal.

The Imps’ skipper is likely to serve a ban of at least three games after appearing to throw a plastic water bottle back into the crowd, which had initially been aimed at the City players.

“The bottle was thrown at him and I think Luke has thrown it back off the pitch,” said Cowley.

“I know people hate it when managers say this, but I didn’t see it. I can only go on what Luke has said and what the referee has said, and there’s a little bit of difference between both stories.

“We’ll have a look at it and decide what we do from there. It was an emotional game and it felt a lot to us at the end because we’ve been working so hard to put things right.

“When you do find a goal in the dying moments against your local rivals of course you’re going to be happy. Luke hasn’t instigated the incident. If he’s just thrown the bottle off the pitch that’s okay because it can’t be on the pitch, but if he’s thrown it aggressively off the pitch and into the stand then that’s something different.”


Cowley proud of Lincoln players after best away display of the season
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS,Tuesday 06 March 2018

Lincoln City boss Danny Cowley said he was proud of his players as they battled to the end for a late 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town in the big derby tonight. Play-off chasing City had lost their last two games and were 1-0 down tonight before a late Ollie Palmer strike gave them a deserved share of the spoils. “In terms of our away performances it was probably about as good as we’ve been,” said Cowley. “Regardless of the result, even if we’d ended up losing 1-0 - which would have been harsh on us - I would have been proud of our efforts today. READ THE FULL MATCH REPORT “I thought we played with a lot of commitment and all the qualities we expect of them. “That now has to be the standard. We played with a good intensity and a real enthusiasm. We certainly deserved the late goal. “I thought we played well in the first half and had real dominance. We looked a goal threat against a very good Mansfield team, who have the best squad in the league.” He added: “It was frustrating for us as I don’t remember Mansfield having a shot on target in the second half. “It was disappointing to concede that goal and, after two defeats, it really tests your mettle. So I was really proud of the players’ response.”

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/cowley-proud-of-lincoln-players-after-best-away-display-of-the-season-1-9050683


Palmer's delight at earning City a point
"My first thought was to run to the fans who had been giving me stick."

lincolnshirelive.co.uk, By Alan Johnson, 6 MAR 2018

Striker Ollie Palmer couldn’t hide his delight after coming off the bench to snatch a point for the Imps at Mansfield on Tuesday evening.

Just as he did in the Checkatrade Trophy win at the One Call Stadium in August, Palmer returned to haunt his former club sparking wild scenes amongst the 1,700 travelling supporters.

The forward, who had only been on the field for nine minutes, made the most of his one opportunity in front of goal.

“I just wanted to get a clean connection on the ball as it came in,” said Palmer. “Then after the goal my first thought was to run to the fans who had been giving me stick. “It’s not the first time I have shut them up here this season!”


“I was a little bit immature when I left the football club, I’m aware of that. But their supporters gave all the boys a bit of abuse all night, even Matt Green who helped them get promoted back to the Football League.”

In spite of that though Palmer has no hard feelings towards his former employers and wished them success going forward.

“Mansfield is a big football club and John Radford has put a lot of money into it. He’s a great guy who cares greatly about the club.

“They have great support here and hopefully with the new gaffer in place they can kick on as well.”

Palmer has found league starts hard to come by this season, however, he boasts an impressive record of four goals from his seven full appearances. The striker has made a further 27 appearances from the substitutes’ bench though, which he has found disappointing.

“Obviously the most important thing for me is Lincoln City and our fans have been brilliant to me,” he said. “It’s been a little bit of a frustrating season in terms of opportunities for me personally - I’ve not had too many.

“But I’ll keep on trying to prove the gaffer wrong, and keep doing what I can when I do get the minutes to help us get promoted this season.”

A late goal to earn a point in a local derby can often feel like a victory afterwards, but not for Palmer who felt the Imps were worthy of all three.

“I wouldn’t say it felt like a victory, because we actually deserved three points,” he said.

“In terms of opportunities I don’t think either team had many clear cut chances. It was a game of open play, a real battle that saw only one or two chances at both ends.

“Having said that though I think we showed that fighting spirit that perhaps we have lacked in recent games and probably deserved to win.

“Apart from Luke (Waterfall)’s sending off I thought it was a pretty perfect performance from us.”