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CLOUGH, LAPSLIE, STEVE EVANS REACTION
1st May 2022 0:27


Home wins ‘sets us up nicely’ for season finale - manager
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 26th April 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says this evening’s 2-0 win over Stevenage, accompanied by Saturday’s victory over Crawley, ‘sets us up nicely’ for an exciting finish to the Sky Bet League Two season.

The Stags have moved up to fifth in the league table after tonight’s result at One Call Stadium and now sit just one point behind Northampton in third place.

Goals from midfielders George Lapslie and Matty Longstaff ensured Mansfield will play a deciding factor in who clinches the third, and final, automatic spot this campaign.

Speaking post-match to the local media this evening, the gaffer said: “These are two important wins [over Crawley and Stevenage] this week on the back of the two defeats [against Sutton and Carlisle].

“It sets us up [nicely] for the last two games and it's so tight [towards the top].

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2022/april/home-wins-sets-us-up-nicely-for-season-finale--manager/

“We're still not even sure if we're going to be in the play-offs let alone challenging for the third spot.

“All three options are there and it's nice to be in the mix.”

The Stags controlled large periods of the contest; resolutely defending against some of the Boro’s first-half pressure and entering the interval with the confidence of having not conceded, much to the boss’ pleasure.

“The most important aspect was getting in at half-time at 0-0 [tonight] as Stevenage started the game well,” Nigel said.

“We knew they wouldn't make it particularly easy for us and they were a threat.

“We really struggled. We were a bit nervous and a bit jittery, especially without Stephen Quinn who is usually the one who gets the ball down and starts us playing.

“Nathan Bishop made a great save low down to his right which kept that clean sheet intact.

“I told them [the players] ‘well done’ at half-time for coming in [at] 0-0 and told them to relax and start playing how we can play.”

In the second-half, the manager’s side created a flurry of opportunities before George Lapslie slotted home in the 51st minute.

“From the kick-off, Jamie Murphy got us going down the left-hand side which lifted the crowd and set the pattern for the whole of the second half,” the Stags’ chief said.

“George [Lapslie] will play better than he did tonight but he scored the all-important goal.

“It was good to try a different corner with Matty Longstaff going short to Jamie Murphy as they had some big lads who were dealing with everything at the back.

“It was important we got that second goal - even in added time. Anything can happen in the last minute of a game, and it was nice to keep the clean sheet.”

Mansfield head to Salford City on Monday knowing that a victory will confirm at least a play-off position finish this season.

“We now have to go to Salford and win,” said the boss.

“Do that, it will guarantee us a play-off spot and we'd be going into the last day with a chance of automatic.

“It is important that fans recognise you have to be patient at times.

“We'd like to go and score two or three early on, but the opposition do not let you do that. They don't come and roll over.

“Games change at half-time. At 0-0 with our quality, we always fancy our chances of getting a goal.”

On whether Quinn will be fit for the Salford game, Clough said: "Tom (the physio) is not sure. But we'll do everything we can to try to get him out on the pitch."

Click here to watch the boss' interview in full.

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Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough delighted to stay in the automatic promotion mix after hard-earned win
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 26th April 2022

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said staying in the game at 0-0 at half-time was crucial to tonight's vital 2-0 win over stubborn Stevenage that kept Stags in automatic promotion contention.

Steve Evans' side made life hard for a nervous Mansfield in the first half and almost took the lead

But Stags upped a gear after the break to make it 12 home wins in 13 and Clough said: “None were more important and none tougher than tonight.

“The most important aspect was getting in at half-time at 0-0 as Stevenage started the game well. We knew they wouldn't make it particularly easy for us and they were a threat.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-boss-nigel-clough-delighted-to-stay-in-the-automatic-promotion-mix-after-hard-earned-win-3670252

“We really struggled. We were a bit nervous and a bit jittery, especially without Stephen Quinn who is is usually the one who gets the ball down and starts us playing.

“Nathan Bishop made a great save low down to his right which kept that clean sheet intact.

“I told them well done at half-time for coming in 0-0 and told them to relax and start playing how we can play.”

Clough was delighted home fans stayed behind them in that frustrating first half.

“It is important fans recognise you have to be patient at times,” he said.

“We'd like to go and score two or three early on but the opposition do not let you do that. They don't come and roll over.

“Games change at half-time. At 0-0 with our quality we always fancy our chances of getting a goal.

“From the kick-off Jamie Murphy got us going down the left hand side which lifted the crowd and set the pattern for the whole of the second half.”

George Lapslie set Stags on their way with a 51st minute goal after a short corner, Matty Longstaff with the second in stoppage time.

“George will play better than he did tonight but he scored the all-important goal,” said Clough.

“It was good to try a different corner with Matty Longstaff going short to Jamie Murphy as they had some big lads who were dealing with everything at the back.

“It was then important we got that second goal - even in added time. Anything can happen in the last minute of a game. And it was nice to keep the clean sheet.”

Mansfield are now fifth with two games to go and only a point off the top three.

“It was hugely unjust we didn't get at least a point at Carlisle, let alone the three which would have put our fate in our hands,” said Clough.

“But these were two important wins this week on the back of the two defeats.

“It sets us up for the last two games - and it's so tight we're still not even sure if we're going to be in the play-offs let alone challenging for the third spot.

“All three options are there and it's nice to be in the mix.

“We now have to go to Salford and win on Monday. Do that, it will guarantee us a play-off spot and we'd be going into the last day with a chance of automatic.”

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Squad is one of the best - Lapslie
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 26th April 2022

Midfielder George Lapslie says his Mansfield Town teammates are some of the best he’s worked with after the Stags professionally beat Stevenage 2-0 at One Call Stadium.

The 24-year-old praised the ‘unreal’ mood amongst the players and staff within the dressing room during an incredible season.

Despite Lapslie’s 51st minute goal helping Stags to their second consecutive league victory and strengthening the team's position in the play-off places, he insists that there is ‘still work to do’.

The midfielder netted Mansfield’s first of the game on 51 minutes, before Matty Longstaff added an injury time second to seal the contest.

“[The ball] fell to me,” he said. “Lukey [Lucas Akins] did unreal, he held off the man for me [to] give me that time to switch it onto my left [foot] and make a clear path to the goal.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2022/april/squad-is-one-of-the-best---lapslie/

“When you’re 1-0 up you don’t actually need that second goal but you obviously want it so you can relax a little bit.

“We would’ve liked to get it a little bit sooner so we could’ve enjoyed the last fifteen minutes more but the three points is all that mattered.

“[It was] a big three points. It keeps us in the race for it [automatic promotion]. We go again on Monday.”

The former Charlton Athletic man hailed the good feeling amongst the dressing room in spurring the Stags on this season.

“We’ve been in a good mood all season,” Lapslie told iFollow Stags. “[They’re] an unbelievable group of lads to be honest. They’re probably one of the best I’ve been involved with.

“The mood has been unreal all season, even when we weren’t on that good run [of form] the mood was high and we still believed we would achieve our goal of promotion, but we’ve still got a lot to play for.

“Every game we have now is going to feel like ‘this one’s the most important one’.

“I think we do need to be getting six points if we want to chase automatics but from where we’ve come from, we’re in a good position, we’ve got no pressure on us now. It’s just up to us to chase down the teams above us.”

Lapslie admitted that the Stags’ fans were another key factor in the team’s strong performance this season.

“[The fans are] unreal, they have been all season,” he said.

“I’d just like to say ‘thank you’ to them. As a player when you’re not on a good run they stick with you, it’s an unbelievable feeling.

“We were actually talking about it in the changing room before the game about how much we owe this [potential promotion] to them. We just [hope] they know we’re giving all we’ve got.

“They’re going to be in full voice and we’ll see them there on Monday.”

Watch Laps' interview now by clicking here.

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We owe our fans promotion for their loyalty in the bad times, says Mansfield Town goal hero George Lapslie
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 26th April 2022

Mansfield Town goal hero George Lapslie said the players feel they owe their loyal fans a promotion success this season after supporters stuck with them during that awful run of 14 games without a win.

Tonight the fans cheered their side home to a crucial 2-0 victory over Stevenage - a game in hand that has edged Stags to fifth, just a point off the top three places with only two games to go.

“The fans have been unreal all season and I would like to say thank you to them,” said Lapslie, who put Mansfield on their way tonight with his 51stminute strike.

“As a player when you are not on a good run and the fans stick with you it's an unbelievable feeling.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/we-owe-our-fans-promotion-for-their-loyalty-in-the-bad-times-says-mansfield-town-goal-hero-george-lapslie-3670275

“We said before the game how much we owe this to them and they know we are giving all we've got.

“They will be in full voice at Salford and we will see them there on Monday.

“It was a big three points and that's all that mattered tonight.”

Lapslie believes Stags will need to win both their last games to have a chance of overhauling rivals Northampton Town and Port Vale.

“Tonight's win keeps us in the race and we go again on Monday,” he said.

“Every game we have now is obviously going to feel like the most important one. To have a chance we do need six points if we want automatic.

“But from where we have come from, we have no pressure on us now. It's just up to us to chase the people above us.

“This is an unbelievable group of lads, probably one of the best I have been involved in.”

Stags struggled to break down Stevenage before Lapslie's goal and then had to wait until the 93rd minute before Matty Longstaff sealed the points with the second.

“We expected their game plan to be that they would sit in and, as a player, it's frustrating as you want to get on the ball and create stuff.

“Their shape was decent and when they're sitting that deep that's how the game went. But it opened up second half.”

On his goal, he said: “The ball fell to me. Lucas (Akins) did well as he held off the man for me and given me that time to shift it on to my left to make it a clear path to the goal.

“When you're 1-0 up you don't actually need that second goal but you want it to relax a bit.

“I would rather have got it sooner so we could have enjoyed the last 15 minutes a bit more, but three points is all that matters.

“It made it a bit easier when they went down to 10 men with the injury.”

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Stevenage boss Steve Evans hoping Mansfield Town achieve promotion and no problem with hostile reception at former club
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Tuesday 26th April 2022

Former Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans said he had no issue with the stick he took from home fans when bringing his Stevenage side to the One Call Stadium tonight.

Stags fans have never forgiven Evans for quitting the club to join Peterborough United when Mansfield were fifth and well positioned for promotion at the end of February 2018 and Stags eventually missed out.

But he insisted he had made his peace with the Radford family, who own the club, and sincerely hopes Nigel Clough can take them up into League One.

Stags won the game 2-0 amid the contact boos against Evans and he said: “Mansfield have a lot of quality, Nigel has put together a good side.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/stevenage-boss-steve-evans-hoping-mansfield-town-achieve-promotion-and-no-problem-with-hostile-reception-at-former-club-3670259

“Good luck to them. I was talking to Carolyn Radford on WhatsApp today and we both wished each other well.

“This club has great owners and you could see tonight the fans like you or don't like you. But when you leave them with one defeat in 23 or something you understand what you might get when you come back.

“I think Mansfield would have been in League One if I had stayed.

“I am a Glasgow Celtic supporter and if their manager left us after only one defeat in 23 and looking like we were sailing towards promotion I'd probably boo him when he came back as well.

“But we've got it out the way now and I wish them well.

“I desperately hope they go up to League One. The fans deserve it and more importantly the Radford family deserve promotion.”

Stevenage had the first half edge and almost scored. But Stags were much better after the break and Evans said: “We were frighteningly ahead in the first half - possession, chances and two clear penalties for handball not given.

“I was disappointed with the referee's decisions all night.

“But second half we didn't come out and it was a poor performance. We gave the ball away too easily.

“We all know goals change games. Both goals were easily preventable and these games, from my point of view, are the ones that show me the characters and who to chop or keep.

“I am making decisions as we go forward with two more games.”

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Steve Evans' chop shop open for business after disappointing second half at Mansfield
thecomet.net, by Neil Metcalfe, April 26, 2022

Steve Evans is ready to make brutal decisions about the futures of some of his Stevenage players after a poor second half in the defeat to Mansfield Town.

George Lapslie and Matty Longstaff got the goals for the Stags in the 2-0 win, both of them coming in the second half.

But it was the way Boro fell away after the break that frustrated and disappointed the boss and he is ready to make serous changes to the squad.

He said: "For five or six games we have been very good and dominated all of them.

https://www.thecomet.net/sport/mansfield-town-2-stevenage-0-steve-evans-reaction-8921512

"The boys have been great but there is always a downside when you come off that run and you are safe.

"There is a mentality change and while some of the boys were good, some of them weren’t.

"We were well ahead in the first half, with possession and chances and two penalties for handball not given.

"But second half we never came out and it was a poor performance. Both goals were easily preventable.

"From my point of view these are the games where I learn a lot about the character [of my players] and then we’ll decide to chop or keep.

"We’ll make those decisions as we go forward into the next two games.

"They have got a lot of quality here. Nigel [Clough] has put together a good side but we didn’t do our job properly.

"Second half, to a man, we jumped out of tackles a few times, we didn’t go for headers and they’ll pay a price, won’t they?"

Evans also faced a hostile crowd on his return to Field Mill, having managed the club in 2016 but left to go to Peterborough United.

His every move was greeted with a chorus of boos and the final score saw home fans jeer his departure.

For the Boro boss though it is all part and parcel of the game.

He said: "I’ve been at this club and it has great owners.

"I’m sure we would have been in League One [had I not left] but we don’t always make the right decision at the right times.

"I’m a Celtic fan and if a manager left us after one defeat in 23, I’d probably boo as well.

"I wish them well and I desperately hope they go up. The fans deserve it."

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