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CLOUGH, LONGSTAFF, ROB EDWARDS REACTION
12th May 2022 0:18


Stags head into play-offs in ‘good heart’ - boss
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 7th May 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his side will go into the play-offs in ‘good heart’ and with ‘some momentum’ following this afternoon’s 2-2 draw at home to title clinchers Forest Green Rovers.

The Stags needed a point to achieve a first top seven finish since 2019 and will now face Northampton Town over two legs.

Goals from Matty Longstaff and Jordan Bowery eventually secured the play-off finish for the gaffer’s side, despite being pegged back twice by Rovers.

Speaking to the local media in his post-match interview, the manager said: “That [the 77-points mark achieved today] was the club's best points tally in over 20 years and we've broken a few records along the way this season.

“I think we are going into the play-offs in good heart, with some momentum.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2022/may/stags-head-into-play-offs-in-good-heart--boss/

“It was an incredible finish to the [Sky Bet League Two regular season] and [was] absolutely heart-breaking for Northampton, but congratulations to Bristol Rovers [on going up automatically].

“I think the home leg [of the play-offs against Northampton Town] will be where it [the tie] will be decided.

“Our performances at home [this season] have been outstanding.

“We need to make sure we are in with more than a chance after the first leg.”

The boss’ squad were rallied on by a sell-out home crowd at One Call Stadium this afternoon.

“The fans were absolutely brilliant today. We sold every home seat,” Nigel said.

“The owners have put a fortune in over the years and I am sure they sometimes think 'why are we doing this?'

“But on days like today it must seem worthwhile to them.

“This is [getting into the play-offs is] a magnificent achievement by everybody - the whole squad has made a contribution.

“We've extended the season and we are going to give it the best possible shot we can [to get promoted].”

Mansfield now face Northampton Town at One Call Stadium on Saturday, who dropped into the play-off places this afternoon after Bristol Rovers’ 7-0 victory over Scunthorpe saw them leapfrog the Cobblers.

“We are still in with a chance [of promotion] and before kick-off we'd have taken that,” said the boss.

“Our aim at the start of the season was to get in the top seven.

“Obviously we'd have loved automatic [promotion].

“Bristol Rovers were always going to win so it was all about making sure we got that point [against Forest Green this afternoon]. It was tough but we got there.

“They [Forest Green] needed a point to win the league so it couldn't have worked out better for both teams.

“It was important we scored as you don't fancy keeping a clean sheet against Forest Green. They are always going to cut you open at some point.”

Watch the gaffer's interview now by clicking here.

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Mansfield Town going into the play-offs in good heart and with momentum says boss Nigel Clough
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 7th May 2022

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said Stags were going into the play-offs in good heart and with momentum after this afternoon's thrilling 2-2 home draw with champions Forest Green Rovers booked a two-legged semi-final with Northampton Town.

The sides will meet at the One Call Stadium next Saturday night for the first leg with the return at Sixfields on Wednesday, 18th May.

“That was the club's best points tally in over 20 years and we've broken a few records along the way this season so I think we are going into the play-offs in good heart with some momentum,” he said.

“It was an incredible finish and absolutely heart-breaking for Northampton, but congratulations to Bristol Rovers.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-going-into-the-play-offs-in-good-heart-and-with-momentum-says-boss-nigel-clough-3684979

“I think the home leg will be where it will be decided.

“Our performances at home have been outstanding. We need to make sure we are in with more than a chance after the first leg.

“The fans were absolutely brilliant today. We sold every home seat today.

“The owners have put a fortune in over the years and I am sure they sometimes think 'why are we doing this?'

“But on days like today it must seem worthwhile to them.

“This is a magnificent achievement by everybody - the whole squad has made a contribution.

“We've extended the season and we are going to give it the best possible shot we can.”

Stags went into the day with half a chance of a top three automatic promotion finish but that went quickly as their rivals quickly went ahead.

In the end, Stags finished seventh and Clough said: “We are still in with a chance and before kick-off we'd have taken that. “Our aim at the start of the season was to get in the top seven.

“Obviously we'd have loved automatic but, with a game to go, all we could do was lose it really with the other fixtures and the way they were going.

“Bristol Rovers were always going to win so it was all about making sure we got that point. It was tough, but we got there.

“They needed a point to win the league so it couldn't have worked out better for both teams.

“It was important we scored as you don't fancy keeping a clean sheet against Forest Green. They are always going to cut you open at some point.”

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Nigel Clough told Craig Priest for Mansfield 103.2
"It was hugely important (to get Stephen Quinn back). It was a bit of a gamble because he wasn't 100% but just to get him out there and his influence and for the other players to see him out there was the most important thing."
"We had to leave Faz Rawson out of the 18 today. Elliott Hewitt's missed the last couple. But everybody's made a contribution."
"It will be the same squad (for the play-offs) plus Faz and Danny Johnson who just missed out."
"Kell Gordon will miss out (from the play-offs). His knee was sore when a he did a few days training, but he's the only one providing everybody is ok after today."

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Midfielder hails Stags’ support
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 7th May 2022

Midfielder Matty Longstaff says Mansfield’s ‘great’ fans can generate a season-defining ‘push’ for the team in their play-off semi-final first leg with Northampton Town next Saturday.

Longstaff, on loan from Newcastle United, netted Stags’ opening goal in the team’s play-off-clinching 2-2 draw with title winners Forest Green Rovers at One Call Stadium.

Longstaff said the supporters played a key role in the contest. “They’re the 12th man, they’ve been great for us,” he said.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2022/may/midfielder-hails-stags-support/

“[At] 1-0 up they were cheering. Even when we conceded they were behind us and when we [went] to 2-2 they were still behind us.

“They’re big for us and I think next Saturday they’re going to come and make a lot of noise and back us. They’ll hopefully come down again and give us a big push, hopefully we can put on a performance for them.”

The 22-year-old opened the scoring in Mansfield’s final game of the regular Sky Bet League Two season after latching onto Jamie Murphy’s drilled pass into the box to finish past Forest Green ‘keeper Luke McGee.

“Murph’s [Jamie Murphy] got the ball and he’s got great vision, he runs with it well, once he cut inside [I’ve] just tried to run off the blind shoulder [of the opposing defender],” he said.

“I think it [the ball] bumped into Bowery but it fell to me and then with a bit of luck after the ‘keeper saved it, it came back to me.

“It was just good to get the first goal and calm us down a bit.

“Forest Green are a top team; they’ve won the league for a reason. They were always going to be a threat and I thought we did well. Obviously, it was a bit nervy towards the end, but we got through in the end.”

Longstaff says he is relishing the opportunity to play in a high-stake play-off double header versus Northampton Town.

“That’s what you want, you want to play in the big games and have an impact so I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

“There are top players here and in training every day the standard is high, the quality is high and I think that only helps when we come to Saturday.

“Since I’ve been here it’s been great, and we’ve got a tough game against Northampton coming up but me along with all the coaching staff believe that we can win it. We’re really looking forward to it.

“In the play-offs anything can happen, for us we’ll just concentrate on ourselves and just do what we do well. I’m sure if we do well enough and play as a team, then the outcome will hopefully go our way. [We’re] looking forward to it and hopefully we can get another sell out like today.”

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Mansfield Town goal hero Matty Longstaff believes Stags can make Wembley final
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 7th May 2022

Mansfield Town goal hero Matty Longstaff can't wait to help try to book Stags a Wembley play-off final.

Newcastle loanee Matty Longstaff netted Stags' first goal in today's 2-2 home draw with Forest Green Rovers to book a two-legged semi-final with Northampton Town with the first leg at home next Saturday night.

“We have a tough game with Northampton coming up now but me, along with the coaches and all the boys believe we can win it and we're really looking forward to it,” said Longstaff.

“In the play-offs anything can happen. It doesn't matter who you play.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-goal-hero-matty-longstaff-believes-stags-can-make-wembley-final-3684987

“We will just concentrate on ourselves and do what we do well and hopefully the outcome will go our way.

“You want to play in the big games and make an impact so I am looking forward to it.

“The fans have been brilliant for us and hopefully they will make a lot of noise next Saturday and hopefully we will put on a performance for them.”

On today's game, he added: “We knew it was always going to be a struggle to get automatic today. All we could do was make the play-offs - and we've done that.

“Forest Green have won the league for a reason, so they were always going to be a threat all over the pitch. I thought we coped well though it got a bit nervy near the end.

“It was good to score the first goal and calm things down a bit.

“Luckily the ball fell to me and I had a bit of luck when the keeper saved it and came back to me.”

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Forest Green Rovers boss Rob Edwards a proud man as his side clinch the title in thriller at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 7th May 2022

Forest Green Rovers boss Rob Edwards was an emotional man after seeing his side clinch the League Two title with today's epic 2-2 draw at Mansfield Town.

The draw also secured play-offs for the Stags.

“To win a league title over 46 games is difficult,” said Edwards.

“Only four teams can do it at the start of every season out of 92. So to be one of those four is really special.

“I am just incredibly proud and pleased and proud of our performance, which I thought was excellent again today.

“We knew how tough a test coming to Mansfield would be, especially when they needed something from the game as well.

“But under a lot of pressure we delivered a really good performance.

“We fell behind twice and showed a lot of character to come back with a couple of really good goals and in the end it worked out really well for both clubs.”

He continued: “We went into the day needing help for the first time this season. But credit to Port Vale. And credit to Exeter too.

“We have had two really tough battles with them when we've played them and for it to go to goal difference shows how tight it was. They have been outstanding.

“But because we've been there all season long it just feels extra special. I am still in a bit of disbelief.

“Today was the cherry on the icing on the top of the cake.

“It was a dangerous game near the end as we needed to try to win it as at any point Exeter could have scored, so we took a few risks.”

Rovers now begin work for their first ever season at League One level and the tiny Gloucestershire club know how hard it will be.

“The work has already begun as we have known for a couple of weeks we were going to be in League One,” said Edwards.

“We will be the smallest club by miles in that league, but we will be competitive and give it everything.

“We are a good team with good players though there will probably be changes now we are going into a new league.

“We will keep a core of the group as best we can but it is inevitable there will be changes.

“Some lads have done brilliantly this season and may move on to, dare I say, bigger things. So some of the changes may be forced.

“But that group have a special bond as they really did achieve something.”

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“The lads completely deserve it” - Forest Green Rovers boss Rob Edwards after winning the League Two title at Mansfield Town
gloucestershirelive.co.uk, By Laurie Martin

https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/the-lads-completely-deserve-it-7052844

How are you feeling?

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. If I’m honest, how I feel right now, I think the lads completely deserve it. We’ve been at the top all season long, apart from one week. We knew we’d have to come here to Mansfield and get something from the game, but we ultimately knew we were relying on other teams - and thankfully Port Vale did us a big favour today. It’s so difficult to get over the line - as today’s games have shown. We knew we were going up, but to do it as champions is so special. The players deserve it. I’m so proud of them.

Did you need that kick up the backside last week? Where you performed poorly and were knocked down to second for the first time since September...

Maybe. Who knows? The reality is that I’d rather this was done a long time ago. We had the potential to do that, but we didn’t do it. We had to take it to the final day, and not even that, the final few minutes of the final day. It’s so special. We’ll all remember this forever.

How does it compare to winning promotion down at Bristol Rovers two weeks ago?

I don’t know. You can compare them. They are comparable. This was the aim at the very beginning of the season. To achieve the thing we aimed for is absolutely amazing. Down at Bristol Rovers, a couple of weeks ago, was an incredible feeling. But look at the lads now - this feels so good.

How gutting would it have been to not win the league after being at the top for the whole season? Is that why this feels so special?

I feel like we deserve this. We’re a really humble group, and massive credit to Exeter who have pushed us all the way. They’ve had an amazing second half of the season - an incredible season as a whole. But we’ve done it. We’ve got over the line, and that feels great.

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oliver_hawkins
Season over!! Playoffs it is!! A fantastic first season at @mansfieldtownfc the boys, staff, fans should be proud Let’s goooo!!!!

rhysoates37
46 games of a rollercoaster season finished! Playoffs here we come

David Sharpe @DavidSharpe91
From 22nd in the league on October 16th to securing a play-off spot on the final day. It’s been some ride!!
Congratulations to @FGRFC_Official on being crowned @SkyBetLeagueTwo champions and also to @OfficialECFC & @Official_BRFC on their promotions. Roll on the play-offs!

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