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Archived News from December 2021

15th December 2021 0:01

Manager: We’re ‘determined’ to keep this run going
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday, 11th December 2021

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough insists his team are ‘determined’ to maintain their excellent run after acquiring nine victories from ten games.

The Stags cemented their position in the top half of Sky Bet League Two with a 2-1 home victory against Salford City this afternoon.

The win is Mansfield’s fifth successive win at One Call Stadium.

“There’s a momentum, a desire and a determination to keep this run going as much as we can,” the gaffer said.


“It is an outstanding performance and result again [especially] off the back of Tuesday night [against Carlisle] and the cup victory at Doncaster.

“For pretty much the same lads [that played in those two recent matches] to put the same amount of effort in today [is fantastic].”

Despite an encouraging overall performance and result, the Stags went behind early on. The boss admitted his side shaped up the wrong formation in the opening exchanges.

“We picked the wrong formation [in the first 20 minutes]. We didn’t think they would play a three [at the back] today but they did, so we started with that [3-4-2-1] formation.

“It [the original formation] wasn’t working so we changed it as soon as we could. [After the tactical change] We settled down and we looked much better from that point.”

The tide soon changed for the Stags and after scoring two goals in eight minutes before half-time the manager admired the way his side played after the restart.

“I thought for [the first] 15-20 minutes [in the second-half] we were very good indeed. As well as we’ve played [this season].

“If we got that third goal then I think we would have won the game possibly more comfortably.

“Some of the stuff we played; the one-twos around the box [were exceptional].

“Jordan Bowery linking up with Elliott Hewitt and George Lapslie’s one-twos in and around the penalty area... the football for that first 15-20 minutes was brilliant,” said the manager.

Whilst pushing for the important third goal to kill the game off, the Stags ensured they remained resolute at the back, something the manager deemed just as important post-match.

“It [the ability to see out results] is getting better each week. To restrict Salford to one long range shot from 25-yards straight into Nathan Bishop’s hands in 49 minutes [was pleasing].

“We were organised, we closed down all over the pitch. A third goal would’ve been lovely, a second goal would’ve been [lovely] against Carlisle but sometimes you don’t need them.

“It [ensuring leads remain intact] is absolutely vital. We don’t win many games by more than one goal. We did against Tranmere and Scunthorpe here but not in too many [matches].

“[Fixtures in Sky Bet League Two] Are going to be tight so we have to see games out, not in a negative way as we’re always trying to score.”

Forward Rhys Oates returned to lead the line for Mansfield after missing the Carlisle win through injury. The boss singled out the scorer of the Stags’ second for his work rate.

“Defenders are very wary when he’s on the pitch because they know they haven’t got a second [to think].

“Even when he charges goalkeepers down and things like that [he’s a threat].

“If he does that for 80 minutes and then has to come off then that’s absolutely fine.”

The recent run of nine wins in ten has boosted the Stags’ morale and league position ahead of next weekend’s fixture at league-leaders Forest Green Rovers.

“We go into it in good spirits, [with] nine [wins] out of ten [games],” said the manager.

“I think it is absolutely incredible where we’ve come from to win nine out of ten.

“No draws. To actually win nine games is extremely difficult to do.

“An incredible amount of credit goes to the fans, they know the players are giving absolutely everything.”

When asked about John-Joe OToole’s absence, the manager said: “He might have this flu [that is going around], we’re not sure. We do all the tests; we’ll see how he is for next weekend [against Forest Green].

“[On Ollie Clarke] It’s still his calf. He felt it in the cup game and when he came off. He tried to do a bit of training yesterday morning but it was too sore, he has a chance [to play] next week.

"Danny Johnson is out on the grass, doing some running. We hope to have him back involved in a couple of weeks for the Christmas period.

Meanwhile, Will Forrester is expected to be out for four to six weeks with an ankle injury.


Nigel Clough told Craig Priest for Mansfield 103.2:
"We only lost John-Joe O'Toole at about 11.30 this morning. So we had to have a rethink and you've got to play Oli Hawkins at the back then.
"And we thought George Lapslie playing off Oatesey might cause them problems.
"Will Forrester is his other ankle. There was nobody near him. Ankle ligament. Probably 4 to 6 weeks something like that.

on January dealings:
"We've started talking with John-Joe and his representative. We're working on that one.
"With Will Forrester, we'll see how his ankle is and how long he's going to be out, but we'd love to keep him."

"We've got a game up at Sunderland in the U23 Premier League Cup on Monday. So Jason Law, James Gale, and Richard Nartey ... very importantly will get a game. He's been out 10 weeks now. So those who need it will get a game on Monday.

"It'll be a couple of days off for the other lads and then we'll get down to some serious training in the middle of the week."


‘Absolutely incredible’ says Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough as his side make it nine wins in 10 games
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday, 11th December 2021

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough said it was 'absolutely incredible' to win nine out of 10 games after that run of 14 without a win.

Stags came from behind to beat Salford City 2-1 and keep the run going at the One Call Stadium today and Clough beamed: “It was an outstanding result and performance again on the back of Tuesday night and the cup win at Doncaster.

“I think it's absolutely incredible to win nine out of 10 from where we've come from with no draws. To actually win nine games is extremely difficult to do.


“A great deal of credit goes to players for how hard they're working.

“We didn't think they would play a three today so I changed the formation after 20 minutes and we settled down after that and looked much better.”

Stags levelled when Rhys Oates got a touch onto a powerful low Stephen McLaughlin free kick and Clough said: “I love those sort of goals where you put a good ball into the box.

“We just say if you're in any doubt, smash it low and hard and it just caught his shin or ankle and rolled in.”

That levelled Salford's ninth minute opener.

“There's no excuse for conceding a goal from a long throw in,” said Clough.

“Jordan Bowery, who was exceptionally good today, was on his heels and lost two two balls in our box, and if you do that you're going to concede.”

Stags won it with a cheeky McLaughlin free kick just before half-time when, with everyone waiting for a cross, he bent a low one inside the near post to catch out the keeper.

“We were behind the free kick and Andy Garner said to me he could bend this round in these conditions,” said Clough.

“It is difficult for a keeper in these conditions and it was a lovely bit of thinking off the cuff, which is what set plays should be.

“For 15-20 minutes of the second half we were very good indeed, as good as we have been.

“We are getting better at seeing out games week by week. To restrict Salford to one long range shot in 49 minutes shows we were organised and we made it hard for them.

“We don't win many games by more than one goal, they're very tight, so we have to learn how to see them out, though not in a negative way as we are always still trying to break and score a goal.”


Stags' run has come from training ground - defender
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday, 11th December 2021

Mansfield Town defender Stephen McLaughlin says that the team’s recent run of incredible form has come as a result of weeks of hard work on the training ground.

McLaughlin scored Mansfield’s winning goal in their well-battled 2-1 victory over Salford City at One Call Stadium.

The defender’s goal secured Mansfield’s ninth win from ten games in all competitions as the Stags tightened their grip on a top half league position in Sky Bet League Two.

The 31-year-old credited Mansfield’s effective training regime as well as key players returning from injury as the core components to their scintillating form.

When asked what gives the team their confidence, McLaughlin said: “Training. Training every day. It’s the best I’ve been involved with.

“The intensity, the passing and moving, the talking to each other. It’s a real tight group.


“The information that we’re getting from the coaches and the gaffer, it’s simple information but effective. [We] just do as we’re asked and this is why we’re on this run right now.

“We’ve all said ‘once we get our players back and we can field the same eleven week in week out [we’re] going to take off’ and that’s the way it’s gone. It’s been no surprise to be quite honest.

“We always believed that this was going to happen. Right now we’re on a high.

“Things are turning [for us] and when we’re getting chances [which] we’re putting them away which is good.”

Mansfield’s improvement in form has coincided with McLaughlin’s recent upturn in goalscoring form.

The high-energy full-back scored for the second time in a week, having notched against Carlisle United on Tuesday.

The Irishman’s winning goal over Salford came via a well-constructed free-kick routine. The defender clipped a shot over the wall and into the bottom corner whilst the Salford defence expected a crossed delivery.

“It’s about time for myself,” he said. “It’s taken me until Christmas to get a goal.

“It’s two goals back to back and six points as well. [I’m] really happy on a personal level.

“Initially I was crossing it because the big lads had come up, Faz [Farrend Rawson] and that. I had just noticed where the ‘keeper was stood, and I just thought if I just get this round here there’s no way he’s getting across [to save it].

“I just believed in myself and hit it hard and thankfully it’s gone in.”

Mansfield face a tough test in their next match as they travel 134 miles south to face league leaders Forest Green Rovers.

“Every game’s a challenge,” he said. “They’re top of the table and [are] flying.

“They had a 5-5 today so obviously [they’re] scoring for fun, but we enjoy it.

“Today was a big game for us. We’ll go on to Forest Green [with] a full clear week ahead and we’ll go there expecting to win. That’s what we want whenever we step out [onto the pitch], we want to win games.

“Luck is on our side now and we’ve just got to keep riding it.”


A week to remember for Mansfield Town hero Stephen McLaughlin
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday, 11th December 2021

Mansfield Town hero Stephen McLaughlin completed a week to remember with a winning goal and an assist in today's 2-1 win over Salford City to follow up his winning strike against Carlisle United in midweek.

“It's about time for myself as it's taken me nearly till Christmas to score but I have now got two goals back to back and six points as well,” he said.

“I am really happy on a personal level.


“We have always said that once we get our players back and they play week in week out then it is going to take off. That's the way it's gone and it's no surprise to us to be honest.

“We always believed this was going to happen and we were hoping sooner rather than later.

“You can see it in training every day - it's the best I've ever been involved with.

“Right now we're on a high, but make no bones about it there have been a few games where teams have hit the post and crossbar and we've got away with that. Before that things were going in. Things are turning round.”

On his cheeky 25 yard free kick that fooled keeper Tom King, he said: “Initially I was crossing it as all the big lads had come up. Then I just noticed where the keeper was stood and thought if I just get this round here there is no way he's getting across.

“I just believed in myself, hit it hard and it's gone in.”


Salford City boss Gary Bowyer angry over free kick decision that saw Mansfield Town fight back
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday, 11th December 2021

Salford City manager Gary Bowyer believes referee Anthony Backhouse gave the crucial free kick the wrong way which proved a turning point in his side's 2-1 defeat at Mansfield Town today.

Backhouse felt Theo Vassell had committed the foul, but Bowyer disagreed.

“I thought we started very well and took the game to a team that had won eight of their last nine games,” said Bowyer.

“We scored a very good goal from a set piece and had another great opportunity.


“I thought for 30-35 minutes we controlled the game and we made them change their shape.

“But the game changed on a free kick when Theo Vassell was clearly fouled and the referee gave it the other way.

“That said, once it's been given against us we have to defend it and it was an appalling goal to concede.

“To compound that we then go and concede another. They should not be able to score from there if we line the wall up proper.”

Bowyer was impressed by home striker Rhys Oates, who netted the equaliser.

“You look at their centre forward today - he never stopped running and putting defenders under pressure,” he said.

“I felt towards the end of that first half we stopped putting them under pressure up top.

“We have not been played off the park. Second half we've camped in their half but we've just not had enough quality in the final third to unlock them.

“Credit to Mansfield. They run hard, they've got energy all over the pitch, they close down and they make it difficult for you.”

The defeat left Stags 11th and Salford 17th but Bowyer said: “There is nothing in this league. I know people will go - look where you are in the table.

“Mansfield have just won nine out of 10 after not winning for 14 games. That shows you this league. There is nothing to be scared of.

“That was our first league defeat in five and we need to regroup and go again.”


John Radford @JRadfordMTFC
Well done to the gaffer on masterminding nine wins from ten matches. A remarkable feat.
Equal praise to our players, staff and supporters (and lucky mascot Bobbie).
This, after all, is a team effort.
Onwards and upwards.



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