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3rd August 2022 12:48

Boss on ‘poor’ Salford display
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 30th July 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough has described this afternoon’s opening day loss away at Salford as ‘extremely poor’.

Goals from Callum Hendry and Brandon Thomas-Asante were enough for the Ammies to secure all three points over the Stags.

The gaffer’s side were left to rue missed chances as the club recorded a first opening day defeat since 2014.


Speaking to iFollow Stags after this afternoon’s encounter, the boss said: “The result [was] extremely poor.

“The performance [was] not too much better.

“The two goals we conceded were schoolboy goals I would call them.

“We’ve had opportunities to get back into the game and we didn’t manage to take at least one of them.

“We played more long balls in the first 20 minutes than we have done in three weeks [of pre-season].

“We didn’t get on the ball enough; we gave it away in silly areas.”

On the sloppy goals conceded in the first-half, Nigel said: “[It was] Just poor playing.

“George Maris thought he was fouled for the second one.

“I don’t know [if he was fouled but] he should’ve passed the ball long before the challenge came in.

“We did some very, very frustrating, and strange things today.

“I think our top goalscorer from last season, Rhys Oates, didn’t play very well today.

“He’s not alone in that.

“They [Salford] had two shots and scored two goals.”

The Stags had the second shortest pre-season out of the 24 Sky Bet League Two sides this summer though the boss refused to allow the Stags’ reduced pre-season schedule to be an excuse for today’s loss.

“I didn’t expect us to be sharp I just expect us to be better,” he said.

“It will take us a month or two to get up to speed because of the late finish last season [and] the shortened pre-season.

“I think we need the games which are coming thick and fast to really get us up to speed.”

New goalkeeper Christy Pym impressed on his Mansfield debut.

“I thought Christy [Pym was good]. We’ve been pleased with him from the second he walked through the door,” Nigel said.

“He’s calm, collected [and] had no chance with the goals.

“He made a very good save [towards the end of the match].

“His distribution was good and [we’re] delighted with him.”

Speaking about fellow debutants Riley Harbottle, Will Swan and Hiram Boateng, he said: “[It was a] Tough baptism for the two Forest lads today [Riley Harbottle and Will Swan].

“It’s proper league football.

“I think they found it tough against a good team.

“Salford are a good team. We’re not playing any dummies here.

“I thought Hiram [Boateng] wasn’t quite as good as he has been in pre-season.

“We didn’t get him on the ball in the areas we’d like.”

On the injury front, the gaffer said James Perch is unlikely to feature next Saturday at home to Tranmere.

“[On if James Perch will feature against Tranmere] I don’t think so.

“He’s doubtful. The only one back we’ll have back is Oli Hawkins.”

Midfielder Jason Law won’t feature in the Stags’ first home match of the 2022/23 season. The 23-year-old is expected to be out for three months.

“A couple of weeks ago he got a dead leg and he tried to give it a go in the Oldham game and got another whack on it.

“It’s turned into a nasty little muscle injury.

“I think it’ll be two to three months so that’s another one out the squad.”

Concluding the interview, the manager said: "First of all we analyse the game [next week].

"We pointed out a couple of things [to improve on] after the game which is always good.

"We'll sit down by watching the video and say 'the last three or four weeks we've done this, today we didn't do it. Why not?'"


Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"The performance was not very good having gone into it in such good pre-season form. A lot of that went out of the window here.
"Basic stuff of giving the ball away needlessly.
On the second goal: "I thought it was a foul. But George Maris should have passed the ball. He was on the ball over 5 seconds. And all he has to do is pass it and then the tackle doesn't come in."
"I think we missed Hawkins and Perch with their cool heads.
On the debutants: "Very pleased with Christy Pym."
"The others struggled. Hiram's been our best player in pre-season, couldn't get him involved enough today.
"It was a tough debut for the two young Forest lads, but they'll get better from this point.
"It all started after two seconds of the game when our superstar (Oates) kicked the ball out of play.
"I didn't think he was very good today, Rhys Oates. He was as poor as we had today, his all-round play and everything.
"He has to improve along with everybody else."
"I think it'll take us a couple of months to get up to speed. We didn't play as we have been doing and as we can."
"The personel in the back three was forced upon us. They were the only three we had. Elliott Hewitt has only played 30 minutes in pre-season so didn't think that was enough for him to come in and start.
"Lucas and Jordan had done well as wing-backs. It was nothing to do with formations today."


new Head Coach Neil Wood reaction:

Salford City earned an opening day victory against Mansfield Town at The Peninsula Stadium, with the goals coming from Callum Hendry and Brandon Thomas-Asante.

It took all of five minutes for debutant Hendry, in his first game in the EFL, to break the deadlock as he squeezed a low shot past Mansfield’s Christy Pym.

The Ammies were buoyant, aggressive, and doubled the lead just before the hour mark in not too dis-similar fashion as Conor McAleny fed Thomas-Asante, who kept his composure to finish low into the bottom corner.

Mansfield had the better of the game in the second half, and Tom King was called upon a couple of times, while McAleny had a couple of chances to add to the scoring himself.

But new Head Coach Neil Wood was pleased with the start that his side made, as The Ammies won on the opening day for the first time since 2019.

“It helps that we started the game really well which we’ve probably not done so much in pre-season.

“I thought the first goal was a really good goal, really good finish from Callum, and then the second goal from Brandon was an excellent finish, a nice through ball from Connor, and it put us in a good place in the game so really pleasing, a good start, nice to get three points from the opening game.

“They’re a good team Mansfield so we knew there was going to be periods of the game where they were going to be on top, we knew there were going to be periods where they’re putting balls into the box so we knew we had to defend really strongly to stop that.

“We rode our luck a little bit, we had some chances ourselves in the second half which we probably could have finished the game off with but I think defensively we looked really solid, really organised and it’s nice to come away without conceding a goal.

“It’s important to get a win, important for the supporters to go away happy, it was a great turnout today which the players appreciate and I know the staff do as well.”