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Archived News from November 2022

14th November 2022 11:19

Gaffer evaluates Bradford loss
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 8 Nov 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough assesses tonight's performance following a 2-1 defeat against Bradford City at One Call Stadium.

The visitors’ captain Richie Smallwood scored in the first-half to put the Bantams ahead and former Stag Andy Cook doubled City’s advantage on 53 minutes.

The amber and blue were given a lifeline, however, when Matthew Platt was sent off after a second yellow card and despite Will Swan scoring four minutes later, Mansfield were unable to find an equaliser.


Speaking to iFollow Stags after the game, Nigel said: "I didn't think we came out of the blocks in the first-half.

“[There] might have been a hangover from the efforts on Saturday and the travelling and everything. We tried to freshen it up [tonight] with a few fresh pairs of legs.

"With losing Hawks, we went to a back four. We would have stuck with our normal back three.

“Bradford were sharper than us and better than us in the first-half.

"I've never seen us give the ball away as much in the first half, and also kick it out of play needlessly."

“We never really got going on the ball. We played the formation that we’ve played here that’s been successful quite a bit with a diamond but that requires certain things; people running in behind and being good on the ball.

“I thought we were a bit rushed and [we] were [playing] at 100mph and not composed enough.

“When you go 1-0 down especially at home you have to make an effort to be composed and all of a sudden we were kicking it out of play, wasting throw-ins [and] we can’t afford [to do] that."

The home side made two substitutions at the break as they looked to get a foothold back in the game, introducing Lucas Akins and Jordan Bowery as well as changing formation.

“I thought we pushed them back [more in the second-half] and conceding that second goal was a massive setback for us,” said Nigel.

“For an experienced defender like James Perch to be done [for Bradford’s second goal] has damaged us.

“We get a point out of that game if we don’t give that goal away.

“We have thirty [to] forty minutes. We get the [first] goal and then we huff and we puff but we don’t make good enough decisions around the box to create more chances.

“We knew Hawks [Oli Hawkins] couldn’t do more than ten minutes or so. We had to be patient.

“We got a goal back before he came on the pitch but when he does come on the pitch he wants quality service in the box.

“I thought Quinny [Stephen Quinn] put some good balls in the box."

Nigel gave an injury update on Riley Harbottle and Stephen McLaughlin following tonight's league encounter with the Bantams: “[Riley picked up a] thigh [injury], strained his thigh muscle. We’ll get a scan and see what it looks like but I think it’ll be a few weeks.

"Oli Hawkins was nowhere near fit enough to start. It was just in the case of an emergency. He got a whack in the liver or kidneys on Saturday and was ill over the weekend, his groin was very sore, so that was the most he could do tonight [he came on after 88 minutes].

“Stephen McLaughlin had a scan on his ankle, he’s going to be out a few weeks."


Mansfield wing-back Stephen McLaughlin out for 'couple of weeks' with ankle injury

Manager Nigel Clough says Mansfield Town have to learn to play without wing-back Stephen McLaughlin after he was ruled out for a "couple of weeks" with an ankle injury.

McLaughlin was hurt in Saturday's FA Cup win at Barrow and missed Tuesday's League Two defeat by Bradford.

Clough bemoaned the 32-year-old's absence in a game that the Stags struggled to create chances.

"We have to get used to being without him and being better," said Clough.

"He gives us natural width on the left side as a natural left footer. Elliott [Hewitt] filled in but when you are right footed playing on the left hand side it's difficult."

Former Nottingham Forest and Southend man McLaughlin had only returned from two games out with a knee injury before suffering the latest set-back.

While Will Swan pulled a goal back for Mansfield after Bradford had Matty Platt set off, goals from Richie Smallwood and ex-Stag Andy Cook condemned the Nottinghamshire side to their second successive home defeat.

Clough admits his team failed to create clear-cut chances and wants his side to "get back to what we were doing".

"I think were a little too patient at times and a little too sideways," he told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"Without rushing it and throwing it in from everywhere, I think we have to play with a little more impetus and urgency.

"As long as it's the right position, we encourage them all the time to put the ball in the box. And yet we had a couple of opportunities and people were turning crosses down."


Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"Cook was very strong. He's having a good bit of form. I'm glad he's come back to form because he told us when he left here that he'd rather pack in than come back to Mansfield."
"McLaughlin is going to be out for a few weeks."


Nigel Clough laments poor first-half after Mansfield Town lose to Bradford City
chad.co.uk, By Mark Duffy

Nigel Clough felt a disappointing first-half display and the concession of a poor second goal were the key factors in Mansfield Town’s 2-1 defeat to Bradford City on Tuesday.

Goals from Richie Smallwood and ex-Stag Andy Cook gave the Bantams a two-goal lead, and despite having defender Matty Platt sent off on the hour mark, only a Will Swan goal 20 minutes from time threatened the visitors’ lead. REPORT HERE.

And Clough lamented the lack of a cutting edge throughout.

He said: "I didn’t think we did enough in the first-half and went in 1-0 down, and although we came out and played well in the second-half, we gave a ridiculously poor goal away and ultimately that’s what’s cost us the game.

"We couldn’t quite get through them in the first-half. They’re a good, solid side and very organised and difficult to exploit through the middle, which is why we changed it a bit in the second-half and went for more width which gave us more joy, even before the sending off.


"But the second goal, just when we were trying to build up a head of steam, absolutely killed us.

"I don’t think we made good enough decisions when they had ten men, we should have got the ball wider a bit earlier and got more crosses in, especially with Oli Hawkins on for the last 15 minutes.

"They got blocks on everything and we need to go back to what we were doing and getting people in the box and balls in the box as well.

"I think we’re a bit too patient and sideways at times and need a bit more impetus and urgency.”

City boss Mark Hughes, meanwhile, was thrilled to see his side grind out the win.

He said: “The ref played a part as I’m not sure anybody could see why Matty Platt deserved two yellow cards, and it changed the game at that point because we were in total control and in the ascendancy and that put us on the back foot.

"We then conceded straight away but from that point on we understood what was needed and what we had to do to protect the result that we certainly deserved and we got about our task, dug in and everybody played a part.

"Even when we had ten men they didn’t create all that much as we kept our shape and desire and got our head on things and at times we were a threat going the other way.

"Credit to the players. I’m proud of them and proud of the fans who were magnificent in huge numbers and they helped get us over the line.”



Mark Hughes admired his side's "outstanding" performance as his Bantams returned to winning ways in Sky Bet League Two with a 2-1 victory at Mansfield Town.

City went 2-0 up at the One Call Stadium with goals from Richie Smallwood and Andy Cook, though were made to play over half an hour with 10 men after Matty Platt's dismissal.

Hughes commended the work ethic of his whole squad, and was “proud of the character”, as City battled to take home all three points.

He said: “I am really pleased. It was so important we bounced back from the weekend.


“Today, we were completely different from the Harrogate game. We were brilliant from start to finish.

“Going down to 10 men could have damaged us, but the lads stuck at it and got a great result.

“We had to dig in, each and every one of us. Everyone who played a part deserves credit tonight and needs to congratulate themselves.

“We were a threat throughout the game, and absolutely deserved the win. Those are the characters we are going to have to display throughout the rest of the year.

“If you are on a run where you are not getting results, you just have to keep persevering. It was important we bounced back with three points on the board.

“It is not easy to come to these places, but we coped and did very well in seeing out the game.”

Hughes also reflected fondly on the supporters as over 1,400 Bantams travelled to Field Mill.

The Welshman admitted they were needed more than ever as the Bantams fought over the finish line and hopes his side can build on the momentum at Sutton United on Saturday.

Hughes added: “The fans were magnificent. They were cheering from start to finish.

“We were all enjoying our performance. Of course, there was concern when we went down to 10 men. Once they understood they were needed to take us across the line, they were amazing.

“That was why we all went over and congratulated them. We owe a lot to them.

“The win puts us in good heart and we are able to get back on track.

“Everybody will be looking forward to the game at the weekend. It will not be easy against a side who play a certain way, but we have the desire and commitment to go really far.

“If we show that on Saturday, and play the same as tonight, we should get another three points.”


Bradford City boss Mark Hughes baffled by red but proud of response
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Nathan Atkinson

BANTAMS boss Mark Hughes insisted Matty Platt's second-half dismissal at Mansfield was "hard to understand", and was relieved it did not cost his side the three points he felt they deserved.

City beat the Stags 2-1 last night to maintain their spot in the League Two play-offs, bringing a four-game winless run in all competitions to an end.

In a game of three parts, a turgid opening 25 minutes was followed by a dominant display from City in the 40 minutes either side of half-time, which put them 2-0 in front.


But Platt's dismissal after 65 minutes, a soft second yellow card for a little tug on George Lapslie on the halfway line, followed by the Bantams centre-half kicking the ball away in frustration, threatened to change the game.

Mansfield halved the deficit almost immediately afterwards, and City had to put their bodies on the line, and time their tackles and headers at the back perfectly, to ensure they came away with victory.

Hughes told the T&A after the match: "The referee (Simon Mather) played a hand in that.

"I'm not sure anybody understood why he deemed it fit to give Matty Platt two yellow cards.

"It completely changed the game because we were in total control.

"It just put us on the back foot, because we didn't see it coming and didn't understand why it had happened.

"We conceded almost immediately after the red card, I think because we were still a bit in shock from the referee's decision.

"But from that point onwards, we understood what was needed to protect the result that we certainly deserved.

"We dug in and everyone played a part, the lads who were subbed off late on did a shift, and the ones who came on understood they needed to get up to speed quickly to make sure we kept the opposition out.

"Even though we were down to 10 men they didn't create a great deal, because we got our shape and desire right, and we were a threat going the other way at times.

"Credit to the players, I was really proud of them, and I was proud of the response from the fans too.

"They were magnificent, and came in huge numbers once again (1,416 Bantams supporters made the trip).

"They got us over the line towards the end."

Mansfield were level on points with the Bantams going into the game, and would have replaced them in the play-off spots if the result had gone the other way.

Asked if this felt like a statement win, Hughes said: "It was important to bounce back from the weekend too, as it was a flat performance (in the FA Cup against Harrogate) on Saturday.

"We tried to get to the bottom of that ahead of this game, talking about things we didn't do, and how we'd need to do different things and things in a better fashion to get a result here.

"I saw that straight from the off tonight, so they clearly took on board what was needed to get a better level of performance, and we were able to get a really deserved victory."

City completely controlled that middle part of the game, with exciting attacking talent like Tyreik Wright, Scott Banks and Harry Chapman coming to the fore.

Hughes said: "You have to give the opposition a bit of credit, and understood that as a home side, in that opening period, they should give you an indication of how they'll go about their business.

"Sometimes you have to allow that understanding to permeate through your team, and once you realise which areas to attack and get positive moments from, you can try and do that.

"We got into wide areas really well, we kept the ball, switched the play, and I felt it was a really good performance."

Asked about the importance of ensuring this performance kickstarts a winning run, following three consecutive league draws, Hughes said: "The games against Crawley and Swindon in that run could very easily have been six points on the board.

"Our performance levels have been okay, Saturday's FA Cup game excepted.

"We knew we were at a decent level, and we knew that as long as we competed and were on the front foot tonight like we have been in other games recently, which we certainly were, we'd have a good chance of beating Mansfield."


Bradford City boss Mark Hughes left 'perplexed' despite a much-needed League Two win at Mansfield Town
yorkshirepost.co.uk, By Leon Wobschall

BRADFORD CITY manager Mark Hughes admitted to being perplexed at the decision of referee Simon Mather to dismiss defender Matty Platt following a nervy finale in the Bantams' precious 2-1 win at fellow League Two promotion chasers Mansfield.

City were good value for a 2-0 lead given to them by goals from captain Richie Smallwood and top-scorer Andy Cook, but the narrative changed when Platt received his second caution after a slight tangle with Stags player George Lapslie with the visiting player then kicking the ball away in frustration.

Mansfield pulled a goal back soon after through Will Swan and piled on the pressure with their numerical advantage, but City held out in the face of fierce home pressure.

They are fifth in the table and two points behind the automatic promotion positions after the win.

Hughes, whose side triumphed for the first time in six matches in all competitions, said: "I'm not sure anybody understood why he deemed it fit to give Matty Platt two yellow cards.

"It completely changed the game because we were in total control.


"It just put us on the back foot, because we didn't see it coming and didn't understand why it had happened.

"We conceded almost immediately after the red card, I think because we were still a bit in shock from the referee's decision.

"But from that point onwards, we understood what was needed to protect the result that we certainly deserved.

"We dug in and everyone played a part, the lads who were subbed off late on did a shift, and the ones who came on understood they needed to get up to speed quickly to make sure we kept the opposition out.

"Even though we were down to 10 men they didn't create a great deal, because we got our shape and desire right, and we were a threat going the other way at times.

"Credit to the players, I was really proud of them, and I was proud of the response from the fans too."


Bradford City striker Cook confident he can net wonder goals
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Nathan Atkinson

ANDY Cook scored a wonder goal winner for City at Mansfield on Tuesday night, but he insisted it was nothing out of the ordinary.

Despite being built like a classic target man, the big striker has shown plenty of fancy footwork and fine finishing over the last two years at City.

But you will struggle to find a better goal of his than Tuesday's effort at Field Mill, as he latched on to Matty Platt's hoof forward, bullied former Premier League defender James Perch off the ball, stormed along the byline, danced inside, and slammed a low effort into the net.


After the 2-1 win, Cook told the T&A: "I think I've proved throughout my career I can score goals like that.

"Most of them this year have been from close in, but as a striker, I'm not bothered, it doesn't matter how it goes in.

"I scored a similar one to this at Hartlepool (in August) though, so I think people know I can do this."

The three men behind Cook at Mansfield also played well, with Tyreik Wright, Harry Chapman and Scott Banks all buzzing about and creating chances, before the break in particular.

Cook said: "It just showed tonight, we were getting chance after chance.

"For me, as a striker, if we're creating chances, I'm happy.

"I'm in the right areas so hopefully I can keep getting on the end of them."

Cook's form is keeping fellow strikers Lee Angol and Vadaine Oliver out of the team, and he admitted: "The competition for places is healthy here.

"That's a good thing, as I think everyone pushes each other along.

"To be starting regularly, it's something I'm really happy about."

Mansfield are one of Cook's former clubs, so asked if his winner meant even more than usual, he said: "Of course it does.

"But for me, I just want to score against anyone and keep winning games."

Cook has scored 11 times in 17 League Two games already, with only Northampton's Sam Hoskins netting more in the fourth tier this season.

But the Bantams man insisted: "My aim for now is just promotion with Bradford, everything else is a bonus.

"I have got a goals target in mind, but I'll keep that to myself for now."

Cook's manager Mark Hughes was full of praise for his striker after the match, admitting he did not appreciate how good that winning goal was initially.

The Welshman said: "I didn't give his goal enough credit at the time, as I hadn't realised how well he'd done to actually collect the ball where he did.

"He still had a hell of a lot to do after that, but he brushed the lad aside with that power he's got.

"Then he had the calmness and clarity of mind to understand what was required from that point onwards, which was basically to clack it as hard as he could.

"It was a great goal, which as I said I underestimated at the time. Having seen it back, it was fantastic."



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