CLOUGH, PERCH, DARRELL CLARKE REACTION
Gaffer gives post-Wembley verdict
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 28th May 2022
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his side ‘didn’t do themselves justice’ in today’s 3-0 loss to Port Vale in the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final, but has taken heart from a season of progress for the club.
The Stags were 2-0 down before Oli Hawkins was shown a second yellow card on 35 minutes.
Former Mansfield man Mal Benning provided a third for the Valiants with five minutes left to cap off a difficult afternoon in the Capital.
Reflecting on the afternoon and an extraordinary season - which has seen the Stags rise from 23rd in the league to a match away from promotion - the boss said: “They [the squa] have put an incredible amount of effort in over [the last] 11 months.
“We have just fallen short at the final hurdle, but we will go again next season.”
Mansfield had chances before falling behind. Jamie Murphy could, and possibly should, have headed past Aidan Stone from six yards with the score still at 0-0.
“It was fine margins,” said the boss.
“We missed a good chance early on to go 1-0 up [through Murphy]. He should score there.
“Rhys Oates also had one [opportunity] that was kicked off the line. I think at least one of those is entitled to go in.
“[At the other end] A deflected cross went straight to their lad and the second one [Port Vale goal] came off the bar.
“It could have been different, but they [Vale] punished us and going down to 10 men was the icing on the cake for the first half.”
Oli Hawkins’ second first-half booking reduced Mansfield to ten men.
“I only saw the second one [yellow card].
“People tell me the first was soft. I think the fourth official said [that] the assistant had given it from 40 yards away. It will be interesting to see if it was a yellow.
“He [Hawkins] shouldn't have then committed the second foul. He's done it one or two times this season and it's probably symptomatic of one or two of the things we did today in the first half.
“There may have been some nerves.
“I am not sure if we were ready for it from where we have come from. We were joint bottom of the league seven months ago so it's a big step to come to Wembley.
“We were hoping the experience we have in the side would have been able to cope with it [the occasion] but I don't think we did ourselves justice today.
“With 10 men at Wembley after half-an-hour, it's almost impossible.”
Former Stags’ midfielder and Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke was given an applause after the eighth minute from both sets of supporters. The Valiants’ boss experienced a family bereavement earlier this season.
“I class Darrell as a friend and that is the only decent thing to come out of the day for us,” Nigel said.
“I am delighted for him and many congratulations to him and Port Vale.”
The gaffer reflected on what has been a roller coaster campaign for the amber and blue.
“It has still been a successful season, even though it wasn't the ultimate success we wanted.
“To get to this stage has to be classed as successful to a certain degree and we will try to build on that for next season.
“We start again nine weeks today, so we have got to get some rest and holidays in.
The only thing you can do is put it [the game] behind you and get ready for next season.”
Nigel outlined the Stags’ plans for pre-season.
“We don't have too many players out of contract. It's hard to recruit when you don't know what league you're going to be in,” he said.
“Hopefully a few will be staying [next season] and we will try to get five or six new players in.
“When you have only lost six league games since October, I think it's fair to say we have a good group of players, and they are as low and disappointed as anything that they didn't perform as they would have liked today.
“We will delay our pre-season return date after today. It will be a shortened pre-season as we try to give the players the maximum amount of time we can.”
We didn’t do ourselves justice today said Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough after Wembley play-off final defeat by Port Vale
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 28th May 2022
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said today's 3-0 League Two play-off final defeat to Port Vale ranked as one of his worst days in football.
Two goals in four first half minutes put Vale in charge and Stags' hopes faded further when two bookings in five minutes saw Oli Hawkins red-carded on 35 minutes.
“Today ranks alongside relegation with Burton on the last day of the season with four minutes to go as my worst managerial moments,” said Clough.
“Football is a horrible game sometimes and this is a horrible place sometimes.
“There may have been some nerves. I am not sure if we were ready for it from where we have come from.
“We were joint bottom of the league seven months ago so it's a big step to come to Wembley.
“We were hoping the experience we have in the side would have been able to cope with it.
“But I don't think we did ourselves justice today with what you've seen over the last seven months. That is the most frustrating part of it - we didn't give ourselves a chance.”
Jamie Murphy did fail to put away an early headed chance and Clough said: “It was fine margins. We missed a good chance early on to go 1-0 up. He should score there.
“Rhys Oates also had one that was kicked off the line. I think at least one of those is entitled to go in.
“But a deflected cross went straight to the lad and the second one came off the bar.
“It could have been different, but they punished us and going down to 10 men was the icing on the cake for the first half.”
Clough said he had not yet spoken to Hawkins about the sending-off.
“I only saw the second one,” he said. “People tell me the first was soft.
“I think the fourth official said the assistant had given it from 40 yards away. So it will be interesting to see if it was a yellow.
“But he shouldn't have then committed the second foul. It's happened one or two times this season and it's probably symptomatic of one or two of the things we did today in the first half.”
Clough continued: “I told them at half-time to stay solid for another 15-20 minutes as we couldn't concede another goal, and just try to slowly work our way back into the game. I thought we did okay.
“We restricted them, they just had to defend. We wanted to nick one and make it a close game in the last 10 minutes. But once they got their third late on it's over.
“But 2-0 down with 10 men at Wembley after half-an-hour, it's almost impossible.”
The final whistle saw Vale boss and ex-Stags star Darrell Clarke overcome by emotion as his side completed the job just months after the death of his 18-year-old daughter.
“I class Darrell as a friend and that is the only decent thing to come out of the day for us. I am delighted for him and many congratulations to him and Port Vale,” said Clough.
“It has still been a successful season for us, even though it wasn't the ultimate success we wanted.
“To get to this stage has to be classed as successful to a certain degree and we will try to build on that for next season.
“We start again nine weeks today so we have got to get some rest and holidays in. The only thing you can do is put it behind you and get ready for next season.”
Looking to the future, he said: “We don't have too many players out of contract. It's hard to recruit when you don't know what league you're going to be in.
“Hopefully a few will be staying and we will try to get five or six new players in.
“When you have only lost six league games since October I think it's fair to say we have a good group of players and they are as low and disappointed as anything that they didn't perform as they would have liked today.
“We will delay our pre-season return date after today. It will be a shortened pre-season as we try to give the players the maximum amount of time we can.
“They have put an incredible amount of effort in over 11 months. We have just fallen short at the final hurdle. But we will go again next season.”
Nigel Clough: 'It's still been a successful season'
efl.com, 28 May 2022
Mansfield boss Nigel Clough wants his side to feel like they have achieved this season, despite Saturday's Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final 3-0 loss to Port Vale.
The Stags were given a mountain to climb after only 35 minutes at Wembley, finding themselves two goals and a man down, after Oliver Hawkins received a second yellow card.
Mal Benning's second-half strike against his former Club finished off the tie, but Clough's disappointment was offset by his side's ability to have reached the Play-Offs after a 12-game winless run in the first half of the season.
"It’s still been a successful season," he said. "It’s not been the ultimate success we wanted, but to get to this stage has to be seen as successful to a certain degree and we have to build on this for next season.
"All you can do is completely put it behind you.
"You have to get away for a couple of weeks. I’ll be back at work on Monday trying to work on a few contracts and then get a couple of weeks’ break.
"The players have put in an incredible amount of effort, so we’ll have a break and come back for the new season. It’s the first time we’ve lost on a Saturday since October, it’s remarkable - we just couldn’t get over that final hurdle."
Clough, who was denied his second EFL promotion as a manager, having taken Burton Albion to the Championship in 2016, described the defeat as one of the worst if his career.
"It’s pretty low down. Football’s a horrible game sometimes and I have to say this is a horrible place sometimes," he said.
"We conceded two goals and went down to 10 men - that’s it. It’s fine margins, we missed a good chance early on and could’ve gone one up, then they have a deflected cross and it goes straight to the lad. They punished us and the sending off is the icing on the cake for the first half.
"I don't think we did ourseves justice today. That’s the most frustrating part of it."
Nigel Clough: Mansfield Town's League Two play-off defeat 'top of disappointments' for Stags boss
BBC Sport, By Andrew Aloia
Manager Nigel Clough says Mansfield Town's League Two play-off defeat by Port Vale was proof that football and Wembley "are sometimes horrible".
Port Vale were devastating as they beat 10-man Stags 3-0 on Saturday.
The defeat left Clough with no desire to return to Wembley on Sunday to watch ex-club Nottingham Forest face Huddersfield in their play-off final.
"I don't care if I don't see another football game for the foreseeable future," he said.
"Football is a horrible game sometimes and sometimes, I have to say, this [Wembley] is a horrible place."
Clough insists Mansfield will still look at their season "as a success" despite suffering a defeat that he ranks "top of the list of disappointments".
He compared the loss at the national stadium to the shock of seeing his former side Burton relegated from the Championship in 2018 in dramatic fashion on the final day.
The 56-year-old, whose defeat at Wembley was his second in two appearances there as manager, said Mansfield "can't lose sight" of what they achieved during the season.
The Nottinghamshire club was in the relegation zone in October after a woeful 14-game winless run in all competitions.
But a club-record 11 consecutive home league wins between 30 October and 2 April catapulted the Stags to what previously seemed an unfathomable promotion bid.
They were in the race for automatic promotion until the final day, but eventually had to settle for a seventh-place finish and a play-off campaign that took them back to Wembley for the first time since 2011.
"It's still been a successful season, but it wasn't the the ultimate success we wanted," Clough said.
"To get to this point from where we were, I think we have to recognise it as a major achievement. We will try build on that for next season.
"After what the players have done this season, we just fell short at the final hurdle - that's it."
Classy comments from Nigel Clough after Mansfield defeat to Port Vale
stokesentinel.co.uk, By Michael Baggaley
Mansfield manager Nigel Clough set aside his own disappointment to congratulate Darrell Clarke and Port Vale on their 3-0 play-off final win at Wembley.
The respect between the rival managers was obvious in the build up to the game and, after the victory, Clarke dedicated the win to his 18 year old daughter Ellie who tragically died in February.
Clough took time to comment on Clarke and Vale as he also reflected on his own team missing out on promotion. He said: “I class Darrell as a friend and that is the only decent thing to come out of the day for us. I am delighted for him and many congratulations to him and Port Vale.
“It has still been a successful season for us, even though it wasn't the ultimate success we wanted. To get to this stage has to be classed as successful to a certain degree and we will try to build on that for next season.
'Will not' - Nigel Clough responds to Nottingham Forest question ahead of play-off final
Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said he does not care if he doesn't see "another game of football for the foreseeable future", less than 24 hours before Nottingham Forest feature in the Championship play-off final.
Nigel, son of Forest legend Brian, watched from the touchline as his Mansfield team were beaten 3-0 by Port Vale in the League Two play-off final.
Clough had Forest fans reminiscing about his father before the game as he walked out the tunnel wearing a suit only to appear in the technical area at kick-off in a tracksuit - something the legendary Brian Clough was renowned for doing.
But any hope of a good luck message for Steve Cooper and his side were shattered as a visibly angry Clough said: "I certainly will not be here tomorrow. I don't care if I don't see another game of football for the foreseeable future."
'We're now experiencing something we haven't for 55 games this season': Nigel Clough bemoans the use of VAR in the League Two play-off final as he says Mansfield Town are 'disappointed' to not have been consulted over the decision
Announced earlier this month that VAR was to be used in play-off finals
Nigel Clough says the clubs were not consulted over the decision to use it
Mansfield Town's manager says the way games are refereed in League Two is different to the Premier League
By JULIAN BOVILL FOR MAILONLINE, 28 May 2022
Mansfield Town's manager Nigel Clough has bemoaned the Football League's decision to introduce video assistant referees (VAR) for the play-off finals.
Clough's side are taking on Port Vale at Wembley on Saturday afternoon for a place in League One, but the ex-Burton Albion boss let his feelings be known on the decision to use technology in the final at Wembley.
The Premier League is the only division in English football where VAR is used and Clough said Mansfield were 'disappointed' to have not even been consulted over the use of the technology.
He told Sky Sports ahead of the play-off final: 'I've no idea [how VAR will affect this game]. I'm completely puzzled.
'The ref's just handed the team sheets in and he said "it's business as usual" and I said "well, it's not for us" because we're now experiencing something we haven't for 55 games this season.'
He added: 'To not even have been consulted as a club, we're very, very disappointed.'
Clough has been consistent in his complaints of the use of VAR since it was announced earlier this month that it would be used across the Football League's play-off finals.
He told reporters on Wednesday: 'We have people coming in today to explain it all to the players and they can ask questions and everything.'
Clough's issue with the technology seems to stem from the perceived way League Two is refereed differently to the Premier League.
'But the way they referee in the Premier League and any slightest touch is completely different to League Two,' he said.
'So if something gets referred to VAR are you going to review it on League Two standards or Premier League standards.
'We have played 48 games in one particular way which is why we have people coming in. They should leave it the same as we have had for the 48 games.
'I would rather just have a good referee doing the final. The referee we had at Northampton got everything spot on as the replays proved. He should be refereeing the final, but he is not experienced with VAR so he can't do it.'
James Perch reflects on Stags’ season
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 28th May 2022
Defender James Perch says that Mansfield Town can reflect on an ‘incredible’ season despite Stags’ ‘disappointing’ defeat to Port Vale in the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final.
The ten-man Stags were beaten 3-0 by the Valiants after Kian Harratt, James Wilson and Mal Benning all got on the scoresheet at Wembley.
However, Stags’ captain on the day said Mansfield can be proud of a season in which they showed great fight to come so close to promotion after falling into the relegation zone in October.
“It’s been a great achievement [to get to the Play-Off Final],” he said. “It doesn’t feel like it at the minute because we’ve just lost in the final, but when you look back on how well we’ve played this season, we can take the positives from it. We’ve broken records at home, we went unbeaten for so many games.”
The experienced defender was deflated by the manner of Stags’ defeat, but he is determined for the squad to bounce back.
“I’m disappointed,” he told iFollow Stags. “[It was] a disappointing result [and] a disappointing performance in the first-half. We got what we deserved.
“If that one that [Jamie] Murphy gets his head on goes in, it’s a different game. We then get the momentum, we then might go two or three nil up. It was the crucial points in the game that cost us today.
“I said in the dressing room ‘make sure you take this in’. This is a feeling that you don’t want too many times and I’ve not got many years left, so I don’t want to be feeling like that many more times.”
Despite the game’s crushing ending, the 36-year-old says he will look back on the occasion as one of his career high points.
“[It] was one of the best moments of my career, leading the team out at Wembley. My hometown club with my family and friends in the crowd, it really meant a lot.”
The former Premier League star credited Mansfield’s horde of travelling supporters in the role that they’ve played in an incredible season for the club.
On what he’d like to say to the Stags fans, Perch said: “A big thank you.”
“They’ve turned out in their numbers. They’ve never turned their back on us, even when we were going through a bad patch.
“They came down in their numbers again today, sixteen-and-a-half thousand. All we can do is thank them.
“We owe them everything, unfortunately we just couldn’t quite give them that final present today, but we’ll reflect on that and kick on next season.”
Mansfield Town skipper James Perch can't hide disappointment after Wembley loss
chad.co.uk, By Mark Duffy, Saturday 28th May 2022
James Perch said Mansfield Town got what they deserved in Saturday’s play-off final defeat to Port Vale on Saturday.
The Stags skipper felt crucial moments went against his side which ultimately cost them the game.
And it left him hugely disappointed after the match, but also keen to use the experience to help Stags kick on in the future.
He said: “It’s very disappointing in terms of the result and performance, especially in the first-half and we got what we deserved.
“If Jamie Murphy scores the chance early on it’s a different game as you get the momentum but it’s the crucial moments in the game that cost us today.
“It’s been a great achievement to come as far as we have. It doesn’t feel like it at the minute because we’ve just lost a final but when you reflect back and look at how well we’ve played at times this season, we can take the positives out of it.
“But deep down it hurts and now we have to take this in and ensure we don’t have this feeling many more times.”
Perch highlighted his pride in leading his home-town club out at Wembley, as well as praising the club’s supporters.
He said: “Leading my home town club out at Wembley was the highlight of my career, especially with my family, friends and kids here. It really meant a lot.
“A big thanks to the fans who never turned their back on us even in the bad patches and came down in their thousands.
"Unfortunately we couldn’t give them that final present but we’ll reflect on it and hopefully kick on next season.”
Darrell Clarke: Port Vale boss dedicates League Two play-off final win to daughter
BBC Sport, By Andrew Aloia
"I think she was up there kicking every ball there for me today."
An emotionally drained Darrell Clarke dedicated Port Vale's League Two play-off final win against Mansfield Town to his 18-year-old daughter, Ellie, who died earlier this year.
The tragic loss saw the 44-year-old take six weeks away from the game, with the promotion-sealing victory at Wembley just his 11th game back.
"It is special for my eldest daughter, who I lost this year, and my family who have gone through tough times," a visibly exhausted Clarke said after the match.
He quickly followed that up by saying he "wasn't looking for sympathy" as other families endure such heartache.
But no father has done what Clarke did at Wembley. Grief, pride and elation coursed though him and spilled over in the late stages of the final on English football's biggest stage in front of more than 37,300 spectators.
"I worked so hard the last few days to control those emotions, and they all come out," he said.
'I pray they go up next season'
From the outset, the recent months, and what Clarke has gone through, defined the day.
Andy Crosby led the side on to the pitch - a thank-you to the assistant manager who had stepped up as interim boss while Clarke was off on compassionate leave.
"Andy took over in the hardest circumstances imaginable and with a group of players did a fantastic job," Clarke said. "It was fitting for him to take the team out."
In the eighth minute, opposition supporters started a minute's applause in solidarity for Mansfield-born Clarke, a former Stags player who made more than 170 appearances for the club.
"It was very special and it was from Mansfield, she [Ellie] is a Mansfield girl born and bred," Clarke said.
"For those Stags fans to do that touched me. I have a great affinity with the club.
"I was there from the age of 10 to 23. I have so much time for them and the football club and [Stags manager] Nigel Clough.
"They will bounce back. I pray they go up next season, for them to do that for myself and my family after eight minutes I'll forever be grateful."
Clough 'happy' for his opposite number
Clough gave Clarke a big hug before kick-off and the Mansfield boss said he was "delighted" to see his opposite number happy after the game.
"I class him as a friend, that's the only decent thing to come out of the day for us," Clough said.
Clarke now has a League One campaign to prepare for, but his attention after the game immediately turned to his family and a holiday they will take with friends.
"I'm going to mend the family, go away and we will have our own special moments," he said.
Port Vale boss Darrell Clarke pays tribute to Mansfield Town fans after play-off win
chad.co.uk, By Mark Duffy, Saturday 28th May 2022
An emotional Darrell Clarke paid tribute to the supporters of his home town club Mansfield Town following his Port Vale side’s play-off final success on Saturday at Wembley.
Clarke took time away from the game following the death of his 18-year-old daughter, Ellie, back in February, and dedicated Saturday’s win to her following a fine display from his side.
And with the whole stadium rising as one to give a minute of applause in tribute to Clarke and his family, it was something the Vale boss was quick to acknowledge, as well as the emotion he showed in the closing stages of the game.
He said: “I’ve worked so hard over the last few days to control the emotions and then they all came out when we were nearly there and in a great position.
"It’s special, for my eldest daughter who I lost this year and my family that have gone through tough times like many other families, it felt like she was up there kicking every ball.
"Ellie was from Mansfield, she was Mansfield born and bred like myself, and for those Stags fans to do that touched me.
"I’ve got a great affinity with the club having been there from the ages of ten to 23 and have so much time for the football club and Nigel Clough and I hope they’ll bounce back and go up next season.
"But for them to do that for myself and my family, I’ll always be grateful. It’s certainly the most emotional win of my career given where I come from.
"The support I’ve had since Ellie died has been outstanding - the LMA in particular have been amazing as well as the football community as a whole.”
Clarke was pleased with his side’s display that saw them score twice in four first-half minutes before ex-Stag Mal Benning rounded the win off late on.
He said: “The group has been absolutely outstanding all season given what we’ve had to come through, so to pull in that performance in the manner we did was fantastic.
"Obviously the red card helped our situation but Mansfield never chucked in the towel and they kept going, but we saw it out quite comfortably and it was nice to get the third in the end.
"We had to be sure complacency didn’t creep in during the second-half but we did a professional job in the second-half.”
Feeling absolutely heartbroken from yesterday, but at the same time, very proud of our club for reaching a play-off final at the home of football.
Our congratulations are sent to Port Vale and we wish them well next term.
Sending huge congratulations we are so happy for our neighbours over at Nottingham Forest now back in the Premier League!
Despite the current heartache felt by everyone associated with our beloved club, we must use the experience as an opportunity to grow.
John and I were so very proud to see thousands of Stags’ supporters travel to Wembley to back the team. We’re sorry that the final hurdle couldn’t be passed, but upon reflection, we have laid a good foundation for next season and will give our everything to ensure we’re successful.
The support you have shown us is heartwarming and we are more determined than ever to make our club as successful as it can possibly be.
Thank you to you all for your incredible ongoing support.
We’ll be back, stronger than before.
Keep the faith.
David Sharpe @DavidSharpe91
A tough day yesterday but proud of how far we have come over the last 18 months. We will build on it. Thank you to the supporters over the season, even when it wasn’t going our way yesterday you were incredible! Few days reflecting now & then time to get ready for 22/23!
Really tough couple of days and absolutely gutted but so proud of how far the club and the team have come over the last 18 months. We will build on it. Thank you to the supporters over the season, even when it wasn’t going our way on Saturday you were incredible! Few days break away now reflecting & then back to work and get ready for 22/23!
After a few days of reflection I’m still gutted about how it ended but we have to look at where we have came as a team, from joint bottom to being 1 game away from promotion and getting to play at Wembley! We just need to take the momentum we built throughout the season and take that into next season We go again
Stephen Mclaughlin @stephenmac15
A season of ups and downs but a Season we should all be proud of. We fell short at the end but leave with our heads held high and get ready for next season
Not the ending we craved but time to rest up and get ready for a big push next season.
A pleasure to be involved with this great group of boys
An incredible fourth season with @mansfieldtownfc. From near the bottom in October to the Play Off Final in May. Unfortunately couldn’t get that last win but was great to be a part of the team in getting to Wembley. Lots of memories from this season and looking forward to the 2022/23 one.
mal_1632 What dreams are made of... scoring at WEMBLEY and securing Promotion to League One with @officialpvfc UP THE VALE You fans once again
Nothing but the upmost respect for @mansfieldtownfc
Huge congratulations Mal & Jasmin... there was a reason you always got chairman’s player of the year award! . Wow the highs and lows though so absolutely gutted our side still so raw but we’ll bounce back. Enjoy this moment
Latest | June 2022