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Archived News from September 2022

22nd September 2022 0:26

Boss commends comprehensive display
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 17th September 2022

Stags’ boss Nigel Clough commended his side’s ’very comprehensive’ performance as Mansfield convincingly beat Gillingham 2-0 in Kent this afternoon.

The amber and blue recorded back-to-back away wins courtesy of first half goals from Lucas Akins and George Lapslie.

And speaking to the local media post-match, the gaffer expressed his delight at the overall performance in front of 404 travelling fans.


“I thought it was very comprehensive,” said the manager.

“I thought it was excellent from the first minute to the last.

“I thought the second half we managed the game brilliantly. I don't think Christy [Pym] had a serious save to make.

“We looked a threat still in the second half, so I thought all round it was as good of an away performance as we’ve had for some time.”

An impressive first half display saw Mansfield Town 2-0 up at the break at MEMS Priestfield Stadium despite also missing a penalty.

“I thought we started the game very positively and took the game to them, [we] put them on the back foot.

“[We] got the goals we deserved. If the penalty goes in [it] might be a little bit more comfortable. You’re never sure at 2-0 if they [manage to] get a goal back.

“I thought we looked after the ball, especially in the last 10/15 minutes.”

Kellan Gordon returned to the starting line-up this afternoon, replacing Jordan Bowery and wonderfully assisted Lucas Akins after 17 minutes for Stags’ opening goal.

“[We’ve] been thinking about Kells [Kellan Gordon] having a game for the last week or two. Jordan [Bowery] has been below par for the last couple of games so we thought let’s give Kell a run today.

“It was good having him as an option.

“He put a good cross in [for the opening goal].

“The technical side [from Lucas Akins] to the finish was magnificent. He’s almost going back on himself to control it and put it in the opposite corner. It was as good a finish as you’ll see today.”

Mansfield managed to pick up their first clean sheet on the road this season and Nigel said: “That’s what the key to it is, no mistakes, don't take any chances and do your jobs.

“I thought we competed in the air brilliantly. We gave too many free kicks away in the first half, gave them the opportunity to put the ball in the box, but when we did do that we defended it brilliantly.

“You saw the importance of the point on Tuesday night [against Carlisle]. If you lose the game which we could've done 1-0, then you don't come here in the same frame of mind, with the same confidence and put the same performance on.

“That’s how important that point was, I said after the game on Tuesday because we got that point, we will get something on Saturday.”


Our best away performance for some time said Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough after victory at Gillingham
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 17th September 2022

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough hailed today's fine 2-0 win at Gillingham as one of their best away performances for some time.

Goals from Lucas Akins and George Lapslie pushed them up into the League Two play-off places, Akins also having a penalty saved, and Clough said: “It was a very comprehensive win and we were excellent from the first minute to the last.

“We had the luxury of missing a penalty as well but we deserved a third goal in that first half.

“Second half we managed the game brilliantly and I don't think Christy Pym has had a save to make really - and we looked a threat still as well.


“All in all it was as good an away performance as we've had for some time.

“I thought we started the game very positively and took the game to them, put them on the back foot, and got the goals we deserved.

“If the penalty goes in it might have been a little more comfortable as you are never sure at 2-0 if they get one back.

“But I thought we looked after the ball and the game excellently - especially in the last 10 minutes.

“When it's a warm day like this, too, it helps when you're 2-0 up if you keep the ball. It's awful when you're chasing the game - it's really tough. We exploited that well.”

Kellan Gordon took over at right wing back in the only team change for the visitors and he set up Akins for a superbly volleyed opener.

“We had been thinking about Kel having a game for the last week or two,” said Clough.

“Jordan Bowery had been a little below par for the last couple of games so we decided to give Kel a run today. It's good having him as an option.

“Kel put a good cross in and I thought the technical side of Lucas' finish was magnificent as he was almost going back on himself to control it and put it in the opposite corner. It was as good a finish as you will see today.

“His balance helps. He could have been a ballet dancer when he was young - that was his other main chance of an occupation. You can see that balance and even gracefulness at times that he showed for the goal.”

Lapslie's second goal saw him round the keeper before slotting home from a tight angle and Clough said: “We were thinking 'hit it', and we also thought the lad might get back on the line.

“But George was outstanding, especially in the first half, running beyond, supporting Lucas and supporting the midfield. I thought his all-round game today was absolutely brilliant.

“There were a few candidates for man of the match today, but I wouldn't look too far past him. I thought the balance was good today.

“I thought we competed in the air brilliantly and didn't have too many scares, though we gave away too many free kicks in the first half.”

He added: “Today you also saw the importance of that point on Tuesday night as if we'd lost the game, as we could have done, on Tuesday, then you don't come here in the same frame of mind with the same confidence and put the same performance on. That's how important that point was.”


Macca singles out duo for praise
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 17th September 2022

Stephen McLaughlin gave special praise for Lucas Akins and George Lapslie after their first half strikes inflicted the damage on Gillingham to give Stags a 2-0 win this afternoon.

Akins got the ball rolling for Mansfield with a brilliant volley and after Lapslie converted from a tight angle there was no looking back.

And speaking to iFollow Stags post match, McLaughlin made a point to praise the duo’s display.


“Lucas Akins [and] George Lapslie, those two were the standouts today,” said McLaughlin.

“The workrate that they done up there, Lucas up on his own and Laps in and around him. Lucas, the hold up play, the flick on and Laps running in behind.

“You don’t realise what it does for us. I know when it goes up to him [Lucas], that I can go forward as well. I know he’s going to hold it, lay it off. It’s valuable what he’s done the last couple of weeks when he’s started up there.

“If Lucas didn’t hold it up the way he did we would’ve struggled to get into the game. His play today was exceptional.”

On the overall victory and performance, he said: “We dug in when we needed to and played our football when we needed to as well.

“[We] created the better chances, scored two great goals and we won a penalty as well.

“We want to play [the same] away from home as we do at home and I think you saw that there today.

“When the opportunity came to take it down, we got it down, we played wide and we attacked.”

Today’s victory against the Gills means the Stags are now unbeaten in their last three league games and McLaughlin said: “As you know with us, confidence is always good.

“You see the players that we have, the manager that we have. Confidence is always high.

“It’s going to kick us forward, I think, after that display there today.

“Coming to Gillingham [and getting a positive result] I think it’s going to do well for us going forward now.

“I’m looking forward to the next couple of months ahead.”


Stephen McLaughlin praises Mansfield Town players’ mentality as they went on to win comfortably at Gillingham, despite a missed penalty
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Saturday 17th September 2022

Mansfield Town wing back Stephen McLaughlin said the side had shown its growing maturity when not letting heads drop after missing a penalty in today's superb 2-0 win at Gillingham.

Stags were 1-0 up when Lucas Akins saw his spot kick saved and the home fans roar into life.

But four minutes later it was 2-0 and Gillingham never looked like coming back from that.

“I thought we dealt with it very well and it was a great away performance,” said McLaughlin.


“No heads dropped when we missed the penalty. It speaks a lot about the boys. We are a lot more mature now. We don't let things fester out.

“Our reaction was straight away we were straight back on it, and we quickly got the goal and played very well.

“We had to deal with a lot of long balls and stuff and I think we dealt with them, picked up the seconds, and also played our football as well.

“We scored two very good goals and won a penalty.

“The boys worked extremely hard in the middle of the field. We got the ball on the floor, played it wide and got at them, creating good opportunities to score.”

He added: “The gaffer says all the time we want to play the same away from home as we play at home - and I thought we did that in spells today.

“Obviously it's a tough place to come to, but we stood up to it more often then not.

“At one stage in the first half they broke on us two v one and within a couple of seconds it was five v two. That's the mentality this group has - even the lads on the bench.

“You saw Jordan Bowery come on and you'd think he'd played the full game - he was straight into it. He caused carnage when he came on and killed the game off a wee bit which just gave the defenders a bit of breathing space when he was keeping it. It was invaluable.”

McLaughlin also had high praise for lone striker Akins, who netted the opener and covered every blade of grass.

“He has been unbelievable up there on his own - the hold-up play he has and he's bringing Laps (George Lapslie) into the game and bringing central midfielders into it,” he said.

“When Lucas gets hold of it, it allows the likes of myself to push forward.

“It goes unnoticed sometimes but his work rate today was amazing. Without him up front there today we could have struggled.”


Gillingham 0 Mansfield Town 2: Reaction from Gills boss Neil Harris after defeat at Priestfield
kentonline.co.uk, by Luke Cawdell, 17 September 2022

Manager Neil Harris admitted his Gillingham team were second best in every department during a first half where Mansfield all-but wrapped the game up.

The Stags led 2-0 at the break, and it could have been more, before they then eased their way to the full-time whistle which was greeted by booes from the Gillingham fans.


Harris, who took stick himself at the full-time whistle from some frustrated supporters, said: “Mansfield deserved to win the game for sure, they were better than us in the first half, in all aspects of the football match.

“Our use of the ball and our delivery from set-plays was really poor, then ultimately we didn’t defend our box and in the first half against a big physical team, they out-run and out-fought us, obviously it pains me to say it but everyone who was there could see it, in the first half. It was not a lack of trying from the lads, never that, it just that we couldn’t stand up to it.

“I was angry at half-time with the way we performed in the first half but watching the goals and watching some clips back, they (Mansfield) are just very good at what they do, they play forward and they run forward and they run over the top of you, as much as it hurts to say it, they ran over the top of us. I can’t accept it, but the group has to try and be better than that, it happened at Tranmere and it happened here, against two big physical teams.


"Disappointed, frustrated, all of the above, ultimately in the first half we fell short.

“It wasn’t about shape, it was about being out-fought. A better League 2 team beat us.”

The match followed a minute's silence to mark the passing of the Queen and was followed by a rousing rendition of 'God Save The King' but Gillingham fell flat when the game kicked off.

Mansfield bossed the opening 45 minutes and Gillingham let in two goals during that half. Keeper Glenn Morris saved a penalty inbetween those. There were other chances where Mansfield came close to extending the lead.

Harris said: “I said quite a lot at half-time that will stay behind the four walls of the changing room, this was a monumental occasion for the country and the football club. A lady (Queen Elizabeth II) gave great service to the country with real bravery and we didn’t match that bravery.

“Physically we got beaten up. Adjustments can be made, we readjusted at half-time, second half was better but still we weren’t much of a threat second half.

“It is tough. I will watch the game back. I won’t say what I said to the players and what they will be doing tomorrow (Sunday) but the players have to understand frustration doesn’t just end at the dressing room door, it affects me and my family and 5,000 people that pay money to watch, if the players don’t perform then they have to take the punishments that come with it.”


Fans react angrily at Priestfield following a poor Gillingham performance against Mansfield Town; Manager Neil Harris responds to the criticism
kentonline.co.uk, by Luke Cawdell, 17 September 2022

Gillingham boss Neil Harris wasn’t taking the weekend abuse personally.

His team were booed off the pitch at Priestfield after their 2-0 defeat to Mansfield Town and some fans chose to target the manager as well as he walked away past the main stand.


Harris understands the frustration, with the Gills sitting 22nd in League 2 after nine games, with just two goals scored and a solitary win to their name.

Saturday’s defeat was a particularly low point, bullied into defeat by Mansfield Town.

“I understand,” said Harris, who has been with the Gills since taking over at the end of January.

“Fans have been brilliant with me and fans have been patient with the football club and the players, they always have been, fans shouting to me to make changes, to ‘come on and find a way’, I take it in completely the right spirit.

"Fans are passionate, I am a passionate man myself and I understand it and that is why I acknowledged it. All I can say is that it falls on my shoulders, I am the one in charge to try and turn it around, I will carry on doing that."

On the criticism aimed at him, he said: “I have managed at Millwall and Cardiff, that wasn’t personal. That was I think third party aimed at the manager about the team.

“The fans are patient but they have to vent off somewhere and if they shout at me while I am walking off to remind me - if they don’t think I know it is rubbish - then they are entitled to that. I didn’t take it personally because it wasn’t personally aimed at me. They were right. It is my job to get it right, I can accept that.

“As a player I accepted that if I kicked the ball off the pitch seven times unopposed then someone might shout at me to keep the ball on the pitch!

“It was a disappointing day, fans are disappointed, ultimately we have to find a way. Since the day I walked in we had to galvanise the club, I am still trying to galvanise it seven months later, is that just down to the manager? It’s a football club isn’t it?”


Gillingham boss explains why Portsmouth loanee Haji Mnoga was subbed at half-time vs Mansfield

Portsmouth loanee Haji Mnoga returned for Gillingham at the weekend against Mansfield Town after service his one-match ban for sending off ten minutes into his debut for the League Two club


Gillingham boss Neil Harris has explained his decision to substitute Portsmouth loanee Haji Mnoga at half-time against Mansfield Town on Saturday.

Much like Gillingham’s disappointing start in League Two this season, with the Gills currently 22nd in the table, it has not been a fruitful beginning for Mnoga at Priestfield Stadium.

The 20-year-old’s first start for the club lasted just ten minutes against Swindon Town earlier this month after the defender was sent off for a second bookable offence. Mnoga served his one-match ban as the Gills picked up a draw against Grimsby Town last week but the defender was brought straight back into the starting eleven against the Stags at the weekend.

However, with Gillingham 2-0 down at half-time, Mnoga didn’t return to the pitch for the second-half. Harris has explained that his decision to bring the Pompey loanee off was a tactical one after switching from 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2 formation.

“I wanted to go to the back four. I could have moved Haji to an out-and-out right-back and left Robbie McKenzie at left-back,” Harris told Kent Online.

“I just felt that when you move to a diamond you need a bit of balance and we needed a left footer on that side of the pitch. I thought Robbie’s involvement has been really strong in a short space of time, it was Haji who had to come off.”


Harris despondent after Gills loss
kentsportsnews.com, BY ANDREW BRUCE

Gillingham manager Neil Harris cut a despondent figure after witnessing his side extend their winless run to seven games.

Boos rang out at the full-time whistle as Gillingham went down 2-0 at home to Mansfield Town and Harris was forced to endure a barrage of abuse from disgruntled Gills fans who, even at this early stage, fear relegation.

“I think it’s fair to say the club has been in a difficult position for the past 18 months and I’ve been trying to turn that around,” Harris admitted.

“It’s been more difficult than I imagined, there’s so much work to do, from day one I knew it was going to be tough.”

“And 24 hours a day, seven days a week I’m continuing to try and slow down the juggernaut of disappointment that we’ve had over a period of time now.”

“We have to keep working to try and turn it around and move in the right direction and ultimately the best way to do that is to win football matches.”

Gillingham make the long trip north to Hartlepool United next Saturday and it will be a battle of two of the worst placed sides in League Two.

Harris’ side have scored just two goals in their opening nine league games and on this form, nearly a quarter of the way into the season already, they are looking doomed to be relegated.

They’ve just got to hope there are two worse sides come the end of the campaign…



Latest | September 2022