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Archived News from April 2022

23rd April 2022 0:05

Missed chances cost us - boss

Stags’ boss Nigel Clough lamented wasteful finishing as his side created a hatful of opportunities but were unable to find the net at Brunton Park, Carlisle, this afternoon.

Mansfield, especially dominant in the first half, were also denied a legitimate goal when Jamie Murphy’s 41st minute strike hit the underside of the bar and crept over the goal line, only for the match officials to wave play on.

Speaking to the local media post-match, the manager said: “We can set the team up to play in a certain way, but we can’t provide that final pass for them.

“We can’t provide the final finish, it’s very difficult to do that. We set up as how we’re going to play, dominate the game away from home which we did, certainly in the first half.


“Then you’re relying on your players to get you a goal.”

The Stags looked to have taken the lead in the 41st minute when attacker Jamie Murphy saw an effort go over the line, but it wasn’t seen by the officials.

“Well, it’s [the shot from Murphy] well over the line,” the boss said.

“I think everybody, certainly over on that far side [and] anyone anywhere near it [the incident], knows it’s well over the line.

“Unfortunately, there was nothing impeding the assistant at all in his line of vision.

“I think it has certainly affected the result today, having said that we wasted a host of chances and situations, so that’s down to us.

“The best one [opportunity] we did create was certainly a goal.”

The Stags’ chief says his side started brightly after the restart, despite conceding on the 57th minute.

“I thought we restarted for the second half really well,” he said.

“I thought [for] ten or fifteen minutes we were on top and pressing.

“Their goal actually comes from our corner; I’ve talked to young Matty Longstaff since he’s been here about if he’s going to take set-plays do not put the ball in the ‘keeper’s hands.

“Within fifteen seconds [of a Stags’ corner] it’s in the back of our net.

“It was good going down the left-hand side again, [there were] lots of [positive] situations.

“Stephen McLaughlin [was] especially [affective].

“Him [McLaughlin] and George Maris have been unwell and that’s why George didn’t start, and Macca can’t last [the full game], he was absolutely spent after 70 minutes.

“I think more than anything; Rhys Oates was a massive miss for us.

“I thought in the first-half with the pace [Oates has] he would’ve caused problems today, he’s a massive loss for us.”

When asked if Oates would be fit to face Crawley, the manager said: “We hope so, [we will] just see how he is and try and get him out there as soon as we can.

“George Lapslie is certainly available, he might have nicked us a goal today, getting in there from midfield.

“They’re [Oates and Lapslie] two as big a goal threat as we’ve had.

“O’Toole was injured today. When you miss your good players, it certainly affects things.”

The Stags have an opportunity to return to winning ways on Saturday against Crawley. The boss was asked if he’d need to boost the morale of his players after two consecutive losses.

“I’m not intending to do that [pick up the squad] at all.

“If they can’t pick themselves up for the last four games of the season then they shouldn’t be there, I’ve told that to them.

“If they don’t think they can still get promoted, don’t come in to work next week.”

Watch the manager's interview in full by clicking here.


Boss Nigel Clough furious over ‘no goal’ decision but insists Mansfield Town can still go up in final promotion push
chad.co.uk, Monday 18th April 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough was furious over the decision to wave play on when Jamie Murphy's shot appeared to be well over the line in this afternoon's heartbreaking 1-0 defeat at Carlisle United.

But he insisted Stags can still gain promotion this season.

Stags slipped out of the play-off places after a second defeat in four days and Clough knows it could have been a very different story.

“It was well over the line and I am very, very disappointed with the assistant on that side as there is nothing in his line of vision, nothing to impede him whatsoever,” he said.


“Anybody anywhere over on that side knows it was well over the line. The goal should have been given.

“I think it was the result-defining error. His mistake has certainly affected the result today.

“But I am not surprised in the slightest as it's been that way for 40-odd games now.

“If we get the goal at that point we go in 1-0, maybe 2-0 up at half-time and it's a completely different game.

“If that goal was given and we'd won today, everyone would say what a magnificent away performance. We controlled it for long periods and some of the passing and movement was brilliant.”

He added: “The most frustrating things today, aside of the end result, was how many situations we've wasted and didn't make the most of. That was down to us. But the best one we created was certainly a goal.

“I thought Jordan Bowery could have had a hat-trick in the first half and some of our build-up play was very good. We just couldn't provide that final pass.

“The performance was very good, we just couldn't get the result because of our own wastefulness.

“We started the second half well. But their goal comes from our corner.

“I have told Matty Longstaff if he takes set pieces do not put the ball in the goalkeeper's hands. But he does that today and 15 seconds later it's in the back of our net.

“Elliott Hewitt made a last ditch tackle and the shot has deflected off him and just past Nathan Bishop - it's seemed to be that sort of day for us.

“Rhys Oates was a massive miss for us today. First half with the pace he would have caused them innumerable problems today.

“We hope he will be back on Saturday. We will get him out there as soon as we can.”

"John-Joe O'Toole had a hip problem after the game on Friday and was injured today. He could have done 10 minutes at the end if we needed him."

Stags now face three home games in their final four matches, two of them in four days next weekend, starting with Saturday's visit of Crawley Town.

And Clough insisted Stags can still complete their promotion mission.

“It's not all over, though we are outside the top seven at this stage - we have thrown six points away in the last four days,” he said.

“But we still have 12 points to play for and three of the last four games are at home.

“That makes up a little bit for the amount of away games in the last month or so.

“We have six hours of football left in the regular season.

“We can't do anything about the assistant's mistake today now. We can't do anything about the officials.

“We just have to make sure we do our jobs in the last four games - better than we've done today and Friday - to give us our best chance of getting in that top seven.

“To come 42 games and a long eight and a half months, let's not throw it away now.

“The lads need a rest after playing Friday/Monday but I really wish we were playing again in a day or two's time, I really do.

“I think it will be more about mental preparation for the last four games.”

He added: “Let's have a go. That's what we've done for the last 42 games and is what has got us in with a shout.

“I have told the players that if any of them think we can't now get promoted then don't come into work next week.

“The atmosphere at home has been fantastic since the first day of the season - that's never been lacking. I hope we can provide the performance to warrant it.”

However, Clough did warn: “Crawley are one of the most under-rated sides in the league and have some very good players.

“Some of the results they have had home and away this season show that.”


MANAGER: I suppose there's a bit of relief

United put on a barnstorming second half display at Brunton Park on Monday afternoon with a display full of grit, determination and flair that ultimately secured League Two safety on their own terms in front of a delighted crowd.


“I thought it was a hell of a game to watch, and a great advert for League Two,” manager Paul Simpson said. “I don’t know what it was like for the players, and I don’t know what it was like for the supporters, but I’m absolutely drained, I’m shattered.

“I’m just delighted we’ve got over the line and that we got the victory. I just said to the players that they started back in June, and this may only seem like a small reward, but we’ve made sure that we stay in the football league, and that’s actually massive.

“It’s a huge thing, and they’ve got to make sure they realise that. I know everybody will say that we’d have been up anyway even if we’d lost, because Oldham lost, but I don’t care about that.

“This was about making sure we did this right today against a really good Mansfield side. I really like the way they play, I like how Nigel Clough and Andy Garner do things, and I really hope they can go and get themselves back in the play-offs and have a right good go at getting up.

“But it’s just about us getting our three points and I’m so pleased with the way we went about it in the second half. It was so much closer to what we ask them to do, and they got their win from that.”

And with us not having had to rely on results from elsewhere to secure the status, he added: “That does matter. Everybody was saying that we’d be ok because Forest Green would beat Oldham, but it’s not always that straightforward.

“I really wanted us to do it ourselves because it’s been a frustrating and disappointing last four games, but I thought they went about it all really well.

“We got away with one in the first half because that was over the line, I’ve seen the still of it. At the time I didn’t know, but we have got away with one, no doubt about that.

“We have to be thankful for that, and I always say that you can talk about tactics and work ethic, and things like that, but you sometimes also need a little bit of luck.

“I’ve had luck along the way, I know I have. In the things I’ve achieved so far in my football career, as a player and as a coach, I know I’ve been lucky.

“I’ll go back to when I was 17 and I had an absolute nightmare in the first half of a game for Man City reserves. Bob Stokoe was manager of Carlisle at the time, and he was going to take me on a free, but he left, I was that bad.

“Then the next weekend I was in Man City’s first team and who knows what would have happened if I’d played well. You have to have luck along the way, I’ve always known that, and today we rode it.

“Having said that, there was no luck involved in that second half, it was down to unbelievable spirit and determination.

“We had a group of players with a desire to go and get forward and really, with a bit more of a clinical streak, we could have been home and hosed with two or three on the scoreboard. I’ll take one, but there are things we still need to be better at.”

The Carlisle boss had called for a response following the indifferent away day at Walsall, and off the back of a four-game run that had seen results dip, and that’s certainly what happened as he rung the changes in a bid to freshen things up with his starting eleven.

“I don’t really know what brought the response, to be honest with you,” he told us. “It’s personnel. We played with a back three, and we’ve wanted our wing backs to be getting further forward.

“When there’s a team up against us playing with only one striker, we want our inside centre backs to join in. We want midfielders to want to be positive, and then obviously we want the strikers to od that as well.

“I thought we got it second half, but we didn’t get it so much in the first half, for whatever reason. I don’t think there was a lack of desire to work hard, because what I said to them at half time was that I couldn’t fault their work rate, because they were working back in and that left us sitting there with a back eight.

“What that meant was that we then had to work again to get 30-yards up to start to close their possession down. So, instead of recovering all the way back in, get into a better position and then you only have a 10-yard press to make.

“We got that and we were able to then nick it more. Dicko was nicking things, Gibbo was nicking things, and we were able to then transition into really positive areas.

“We were suddenly at them instead of transitioning in our own half with much more to do. It was a much more front-foot mentality and that’s what got us the result in the end.”

And, as we all know, the points mean that safety has been achieved with still three games left to go.

“I’m absolutely delighted, and I’m relieved as well,” he commented. “I didn’t want to come here and fail in what I was asked to do, so to do it now and to be able to - I suppose relax is the wrong word, but it will certainly be a lot easier.

“My week will be a lot easier, that’s for certain. I’ve got a really tough week, with two funerals to go to, which is really sad.

“But it’ll certainly be a much better week now that we’ve got that victory. We can move on and get on with the next one with a clear conscience that, now, finishing the season is about pride and finishing with as many points as we can get.

“Look, it’s been a really big challenge, but a really good one as well. I’ve said before, I didn’t really know what I was coming in to, I knew bits about the group, but I definitely didn’t think it was a foregone conclusion that we were going down.

“I felt we had a fighting chance because when there’s 15 games to go you’re still in it. The players have been magnificent for us.

“We’ve had a little tricky patch for four games, but before that I thought they were absolutely outstanding. They’ve put a right good shift in again and given the fans something to shout about, and it’s been a brilliant 10 weeks.

“It’s been a really good adventure for me and I’ve loved every minute. I’ve loved being involved again and let’s see if we can finish these last three off properly.”



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