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Archived News from February 2023

9th February 2023 19:43

Stags displayed character and desire - gaffer
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 4 Feb 2023

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough lauded his side’s ‘character and desire’ to come from a goal down and gain a point in stoppage time away at Bradford this afternoon.

Alfie Kilgour’s 91st minute header cancelled out former Stag Andy Cook’s first-half goal.

Despite having to make three substitutions in the opening 35 minutes due to injuries, Mansfield clawed back into the contest and netted a deserved stoppage time leveller to move up one place to sixth in Sky Bet League Two.

Speaking to iFollow Stags post-match, Nigel said: “We deserved at least a point today.

“The character and desire we showed having gone 1-0 down and lost three players in the first 34 minutes of the game [was pleasing].


“[The injuries] Somewhat disrupts your game plan and that’s what the squad’s there for. Credit to every single one of them that was involved today.”

Louis Reed, Rhys Oates and Callum Johnson were withdrawn due to injury in the first-half and the boss provided the latest on the trio’s fitness.

“Reed, knee, with the block tackle he made just in front of the dugout,” he said.

“Oatesy, shoulder, not his pectoral again but his shoulder and Callum Johnson’s is the most straight forward with a slight groin strain we think.

“He [Johnson] won’t be [out] too long. Not sure about the other two.

“You only get three opportunities to make substitutes and half-time doesn’t count so if we didn’t make substitutions at half-time that was it, we couldn’t have made one bar a concussion sub.”

Alfie Kilgour was impressive on his second start for the club. The towering defender rocketed a header past Bantams’ goalkeeper Harry Lewis to secure a point.

“You’ve got your centre-half up there.

“He’s got two in two now, hasn’t he?

“I’m delighted for him. He was better again this week than last week, he looked stronger physically.

“He looks a leader. He gets on with his job and leads by example.”

Christy Pym, Stephen McLaughlin and Hiram Boateng missed the contest. When asked about their fitness, Nigel said: “Christy did a little bit of training this week.

“It’s just a bit too tentative and too early with his finger. We’re hoping [to have him fit for] next Saturday but with the way Scott Flinders is playing if he’s right he’s right and if he’s not we won’t risk him.

“Stephen McLaughlin [will be out] three to four weeks maybe something like that.

“Hiram should be okay. He was touch and go for today but didn’t want to risk him with it being a hamstring related injury.

“He should be all right for next Saturday.”

With the January transfer window closed, the boss gave his assessment of the club’s business.

“I think [we’ve conducted] good and sensible business. Not just for this season but for next season [too].

“For the second-half of the season and ahead, I think they’re going to be four very good and important players for the club.

“I think our four [Reed, Kilgour, Johnson and Keillor-Dunn] are good, solid signings.”

Over 1,850 Stags’ supporters travelled to the University of Bradford Stadium this afternoon.

When asked about the superb support, the gaffer added: “I think they were encouraged by the way we went and got the equaliser.

“We just need a break in a game somewhere.

“We got one cleared off the line and hit the bar today.

“We deserved the goal.

“I think they understand in the circumstances how good it [the point] was and how well we played.”


Nigel Clough praises character as Mansfield Town grab deserved late point at rivals Bradford City
chad.co.uk, Sat 4 Feb 2023

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough praised his side's character and said the draw felt like a win as Alfie Kilgour struck in stoppage time to earn Stags a priceless 1-1 draw at promotion rivals Bradford City this afternoon.

It did come at a price as Louis Reed, Rhys Oates and Callum Johnson all went off injured before half-time, but Stags dominated the second half in front of a huge Valley Parade crowd and got their just desserts at the death.

“We deserved at least a point without a doubt and I actually thought we played for periods of the game than we did last week,” said Clough.

“The only disappointing factor of the afternoon was conceding that goal from a set play, almost unchallenged again.


“We just need a break somewhere either with an injury or a decision now and again would not go amiss.

“But we have showed character and desire today. If you have a flaky squad with one or two not up for it with 19 games left, you go under second half. You don't come out and stick your chest out and play like we did in front of almost 19,000 people.

“It puts things in perspective. We got our best crowd for 20 years last week of over 8,000 and here they are getting nearly 19,000.”

Stags too over 1,800 of their own fans to Yorkshire and Clough said: “That was fantastic support again today and it felt like a win under the circumstances of the game.

“It feels like it's worth more than a point and it may well be in terms of confidence going forward.

“I wish our equaliser had been six minutes later, although we were trying to win it in the last five minutes. But we conceded a couple of daft free kicks and could have lost it, but we defended them well.

“We deserved an equaliser before we got one. Alfie Kilgour hit the bar and Perchy (James Perch) should have scored before the ball was cleared off the line.

“But amidst all that I thought Scott Flinders made an absolutely magnificent save around the hour mark down to his right hand side. If that went in it was game over but he kept us in it.

“It shows the value of having a trustworthy second choice keeper is incredible.”

On the first half injury nightmare, Clough said: “Over 20-odd years I don't think we have ever lost five players injured in the first half of a game over the course of a season sometimes.

“To lose five players over two games in the space of 30-40-odd minutes is incredible.

“Then of course you have no other opportunity to make substitutions other than half-time. The rule has to change. It does not allow for circumstances like that and it was no one's fault they were injured but we just needed that flexibility in that second half.

“Literally for 45 minutes you cannot make a sub. Someone could break a leg and we couldn't bring a sub on. It was a very difficult situation at half-time. I didn't think Keiran Wallace or Stephen Quinn were bad but you had to try to anticipate the game.”

And on the trio that went off he said: “Louis has his knee in a brace. It was a block tackle and I think he has opened his ligaments out . We are not yet sure how serious it is.

“It is his shoulder this time, not his pectoral. It was slipping in and out and he has it in a sling. He will need a scan.

“The straightforward one is Callum Johnson, who overstretched his groin. We will know more on the other two after scans this week.”

Deadline day signing David Keillor-Dunn made a first half debut as a sub and Clough added: “I was delighted with him. I thought he was very good on the ball.

“I was delighted with our January transfers and just wish the window was open a couple more days. “The four new signings are for beyond this season as well.”


New signing salutes Stags’ ‘never say die’ attitude
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 4 Feb 2023

Debutant Davis Keillor-Dunn said his Mansfield Town teammates showed why they are ‘never out of games’ in their dramatic 1-1 draw away to Bradford City.

Stags were impaired by three first-half substitution-provoking injuries before their second-half rally was capped off by a thunderous Alfie Kilgour header in injury time.

Keillor-Dunn replaced the injured Rhys Oates on 22 minutes to make his Mansfield Town debut after joining the club permanently from Burton Albion on deadline day.

The attacker felt his new side showed strong character to overcome unavoidable challenges and clinch an important point against play-off challengers.

“It’s definitely a hard place to come,” he said.


“We are disappointed we didn’t get all three [points] but we take the positives out of it and go again next week.

“I think even when we got the equaliser, we wanted the winner. It just shows you about our character.

“I always think there are goals coming. I kept telling the strikers ‘there’s another chance [coming]’ and it just didn’t drop for us in the end to get the three points. I always stay confident in games, with the team we’ve got and the standard [we play at] we’re never out of games.”

The 25-year-old was pleased to be given the opportunity to showcase his talent so early in his Mansfield Town career.

“[It was] absolutely fantastic,” he said. “It would’ve been a perfect evening if we’d have gotten the three points, which I thought we deserved.

“I thought we dominated large periods of the game. I thought we had the bigger chances in the game, hence why we’re disappointed but we can’t dwell on it.

“I had a header and a couple of blocked shots. That’s just what I’m about, I want to get into the box, I want the ball to fall to me, I want to score goals and I want to create them.”

Despite joining the club less than a week ago, Stags’ number 40 has been encouraged by his new surroundings.

“Coming from League One I think we [Mansfield] are as good as [that level],” he told iFollow Stags.

“The standard of training is fantastic. We’ve got some good players. There are some really good lads in there that know what it takes to get out of this league.

“I’m relishing it.

“We picked up a few injuries [today], [we’ve] been unlucky with that. You just have to adapt in games [sometimes] and keep plugging away. I think the results will definitely come if we keep doing the right things like that.”



Mark Hughes was left frustrated by his side's lack of a clinical edge, after a late equaliser meant the Bantams were held to a 1-1 draw against Mansfield Town at the University of Bradford Stadium.

Hughes shared his disappointment at his side’s inability to see out the game, which led to the Stags taking a point late on, but praised the effort to push the visitors as far as they could.

The Welshman urged his City side to maintain their mental strength and composure when in narrow winning positions, and admitted that the Bantams “needed a calmer head”.

He said: “From our point of view, it is disappointing. We did not see the game out to its conclusion.


“We were very close to winning and it was very frustrating conceding at the end.

“In the second half, they had chances, but I still felt as if we were on top, but you are always at risk at 1-0 up, and we fell short because of that.

“You saw the reaction of their team and staff at the end which, on one hand is understandable, but overall shows how hard they were forced to work.

“I felt we deserved to win today, but, overall we need to be more clinical with our clear-cut chances.

“You have to maintain your mental strength. You have to keep your concentration, but on occasion, tiredness and poor decision-making comes into play.

“At times, we invited more pressure than we needed to do. We needed that calm head and playing at the right time.

“When you are in that position, you need to slow the game down and be a little less anxious.

“That can happen, and we can work on eradicating it from our play.”

The City chief was forced into a few changes this afternoon and was encouraged by strong individual performances, particularly from the returning Ryan East and goal-scorer Andy Cook.

Hughes, overall, was impressed by his Bantams’ work ethic and drive, to take a point from a “divisional rival”, and took pride that they can learn from the experience - ahead of next weekend’s clash against Stevenage.

“The performance itself was good enough to win the game,” he added.

“The changes we made had a positive impact. Ryan East has not had a lot of football, and did a really good job.

“(Andy) Cooky is always dangerous when you put crosses in dangerous positions, and he loves scoring goals against his former sides.

“It was disappointing, but we played well against a good team.

“We have taken four points from a divisional rival who will be up there this season, and it was very close to six.

“I am encouraged by what I saw. The players always put a shift in, so we can work on the lapses in concentration and game-management, ahead of our next game.”


Late frustration for Bradford City
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Simon Parker


Hughes was frustrated to see City denied by another late equaliser after Alfie Kilgour’s stoppage-time header cancelled out Andy Cook’s 17th goal of the season.

“The result is disappointing because I thought we’d done enough,” he admitted. “It’s hard to take when you’ve led for so long and conceded so late in the day.

“I thought we put in a decent performance and there was a lot of energy expended. If we get the second goal, it’s game over but it wasn’t to be.

“For the most part we kept them at arm’s length. They had five or six shots that didn’t really create any concern for us.

“They had one opportunity when we cleared off the line. We just needed to see the game out to a conclusion.

“You saw the reaction when they got the late equaliser. You’d have thought they won the FA Cup.

“We need to have that game management. It shouldn’t really be a feeling where we’re anxious - we should have enough nous and understanding to see the game out.”

Alex Gilliead was named captain in the absence of Richie Smallwood, who was unavailable because he was with his family.

Hughes said: “Credit to Gilly today, I thought he was excellent and fully deserved to be man of the match. He’s a leader in the group anyway, he’s vocal in the dressing room and very experienced.

“I think giving him the armband gave him a boost as well which I thought it would.”


What Mark Hughes thought of Ryan East's return to Bradford City team
By Simon Parker

The City boss praised the midfielder’s display in the Valley Parade draw with Mansfield.

East, who came in for captain Richie Smallwood, had not started in the league since the win at Salford in October.

Stand-in skipper Alex Gilliead got the man-of-the-match plaudits but Hughes was also delighted with East’s response.

“Ryan has been really unlucky,” he said. “He hasn’t been able to dislodge Gilly and Richie.

“Obviously we brought Adam (Clayton) in as well, so he probably felt he was under even more pressure.

“But I’ve got great respect for Easty. He’s a really nice footballer, technically very good.

“I just felt with him in there he could give that control we were lacking because Richie wasn’t playing.”

With Smallwood unavailable because of a family matter, Hughes felt Adam Clayton also took on more responsibility on his home debut.

“I think everybody saw what kind of player he is. He will give us more leadership once again.

“We’re building that leadership group in the side at the moment and we’ve added to that element.

“We’re pleased where that’s going and that will improve and grow as the games come.

“We were getting more bodies around where the ball was dropping.

“On occasions teams will get out if we don’t lock people in. They did it a couple of times but for the most part we were close, competing and making it difficult for them.”

Mansfield’s late equaliser prevented City moving back into the play-off places - instead they dropped down a place to ninth in the congested League Two table.

Hughes admitted they needed to show more “guile and creativity” to create better chances when they were in front.

Andy Cook scored on his first start for six games and showed no ill-effects from his recent broken nose.

Hughes added: “I thought it was time to bring him back but I just needed to be sure.

“Once again, he scored with a fantastic header. He had to put a lot of power on it himself.

“Clearly, he’ll always be awkward for the opposition and he took one chance and created another good opportunity himself. He’ll be pleased with his performance.

“It wasn’t as if I hadn’t told Andy about the reasons why (he had not been starting).

“It was clearly just to refresh him and get him ready to come back and have a real impact for us. That’s exactly what I wanted from him.”



Latest | February 2023