CLOUGH, PERCH, JIM McNULTY REACTION
Gaffer evaluates draw with Rochdale
mansfieldtown.net, Monday 10 April 2023
Manager Nigel Clough was pleased with Mansfield’s general play but said Stags’ finishing was ‘all that was missing’ in their 1-1 home draw with Rochdale.
The hosts raced into the lead through a quality finish from Hiram Boateng. That was before Owen Dodgson equalised two minutes before the break.
Mansfield dictated the game’s play and recorded 20 shots but found Rochdale ‘keeper Richard O’Donnell in top form .
The gaffer credited his side’s endeavour to find a go-ahead-goal in the second half.
“You can’t not be [pleased with Mansfield’s approach play] to have had over 20 shots,” he told iFollow Stags after the match.
“I thought we should’ve scored more than four against Crawley with 27 [shots]. And we certainly should’ve scored more than one today. That’s all that’s missing.
“Our general play today was probably better than it was against Crawley and better than it was at Swindon. We just didn’t have that finishing touch or quality to put the ball in the back of the net.
“We penned them in for 15 to 20 minutes [at the start of the second-half] and had chance after chance. Their goalkeeper made two or three fantastic saves for them. I thought the times we did hit the target, he made two or three outstanding saves, but we didn’t do it often enough.”
Nigel felt Mansfield should’ve built on their positive start to put the game out of sight.
“[I’m] hugely frustrated and disappointed not to get the three points,” he said. “[We had] enough chances, situations, everything today.
“We started off brilliantly and then all of a sudden for 10 or 15 minutes we stopped doing the things that we were doing.
“[Our] goal was probably as good a one as you’ll see football-wise today. It was a brilliant goal, the build-up and everything. I thought then [we needed] to go and get a second, we tried and didn’t quite. Then it took them to equalise for us to get going again.
“You have to be mentally right when you’re playing two games in three days. Physically, the effort was fantastic again but that has to go alongside the mental side, to do the right thing and keep doing it.”
Mansfield are next in action away to Grimsby this Saturday. The boss provided a fitness update following George Maris’ 38th minute withdrawal through injury.
“[He has] a sore Achilles again,” Nigel said. “It’s flared up, a recurrence of what he’s been out with for a good few weeks now. He came through Saturday with no problem, didn’t do a lot yesterday but felt okay. [Today he] just couldn’t quite push off while sprinting. [He’s] another player we’ve lost. I think that’s the eighth [player] out injured.
“Both [Ollie Clarke and Rhys Oates are] injured from Friday at Swindon. Rhys Oates [is] with a groin [injury] and Ollie Clarke [has injured his] Achilleas and knee. We missed Rhys as much as anyone today, with his pace.
“[It’s] possible [they may return for the Grimsby game] but there’s no guarantees.”
We should have won but let’s move on, says Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough after Rochdale draw disappointment
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Monday 10 April 2023
Frustrated Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said his promotion-chasers must quickly put today's disappointing 1-1 home draw with bottom side Rochdale behind them.
Stags slipped back outside the play-off places with this result but are still only five points off the top three with six to play, starting at Grimsby Town next weekend.
“We move on, it's another point, and now we have to win at Grimsby next week,” said Clough.
“We are six unbeaten, but there have been four draws in that and you have to win your home games - and today against bottom of the league we should have won.
“You'd probably have taken a point at Swindon and then three today. But having got the two great results against Crawley and Swindon we should have backed them up with another one today.
“I was hugely frustrated and disappointed not to get the three points.
“We had enough of the game and situations and chances and the goal we conceded was sloppy.
“Then we were not good enough with our finishing. It wasn't our day but you have to make it your day with better finishing.
“Our general play today was probably better than it was against Crawley and Swindon but we didn't have that finishing touch or anyone with that bit of quality to put the ball in the back of the net as we have in the last two games.”
Hiram Boateng put Stags ahead after just six minutes, but they failed to capitalise and Owen Dodgson levelled just before the break.
Dale keeper Richard O'Donnell then produced a string of great saves before the crossbar denied Dale an unlikely winner on the break next the end.
“We started well and the early goal was as good a team goal as you'll see anywhere today,” said Clough.
“We couldn't quite get a second and then got a bit sloppy it took them equalising to get us going again. We let them off the hook - it's a mental thing more than anything.
“I said today would be one of the most difficult games of the season. You don't keep scoring four goals each games but you have be mentally right when you play two games so quickly. The physical effort today was excellent again, but the mental side has to go alongside it.
“We had chance after chance and their keeper has made two or three fantastic saves for them today. But we have still not done enough to score that second goal.
“Their two centre halves were very competitive and played well today.
“They hit the bar near the end and we could have ended up losing it, which would have been a bit of a travesty. But we should have been out of sight before that.
“They have probably spent as little time in our penalty area today as any team this season. But when they do get in there they are dangerous which was always the fear.”
Stags were without injured pair Ollie Clarke and Rhys Oates, joining the lengthy list missing - and George Maris broke down in the first half.
“George has a sore Achilles again,” said Clough. “We wanted to get him out there for fresh legs for 60-70 minutes.
“It's flared up and it a recurrence of what he has been out with for a good few weeks now.
“He came through Saturday no problem, didn't do a lot yesterday but felt okay but just couldn't quite push off for the sprinting.
“He could do a certain pace but with them being quite sharp couldn't continue.
“It's another player we've lost in a first half and we still have eight players out, which seems about the average for most games at the moment.
“Ollie and Rhys are both out with injuries from Friday at Swindon, Rhys with his groin and Ollie with his Achilles and knee after two kicks.
“We missed the pace of Rhys more than anything today, though James Gale played really well and was a threat. But you need someone like Rhys Oates or Will Swan to get you that bit of quality or make you or score you a goal.
“They could be back for Grimsby but there are no guarantees. We will see how they are this week, neither were any good for the bench today.”
Stags will take positives from draw - Perch
mansfieldtown.net, Monday 10 April 2023
Experienced defender James Perch says the Stags have to take positives from the abundance of opportunities created in today’s ‘frustrating’ 1-1 draw with Rochdale.
The 37-year-old centre-back captained Mansfield in the absence of Ollie Clarke after the midfielder sustained an injury in the club’s 4-2 win against Swindon Town on Good Friday.
The Mansfield-born defender marshalled a defence which limited Dale to few opportunities. Meanwhile, Nigel Clough’s men had 20 shots on goal at the opposite end of the pitch.
Speaking to iFollow Stags following the game, Perch said: “I think we played some good stuff during the game, [there were] loads of neat passes.
“The chances we had, we’ve got to take the positives out of that.
“[It was a] frustrating afternoon. Especially with the chances we created in the second-half and the first [half] to be fair.
“[We’re] disappointed to come away with a point but you have to take the positives out of it and say we created enough chances to win two games today but it just wasn't going in.
“We expect to win home games especially when we’ve just come off the back of beating Swindon [4-2 on Good Friday].
“Alfie [Kilgour] had one that was cleared off the line.
“Davo [Davis Keillor-Dunn] has hit one where the ‘keeper has made a ‘worldie’ save.
“Galey had one that just dragged wide of the near post.
“[It was] unfortunate for Ollie [Clarke] that he got a whack on Friday so it (captain’s armband) got naturally passed down to me.
“I take [wearing] that [captain’s armband] with pride.”
Assessing the visitors’ display, James said: “It was like a false position [in the league] for them really.
“I’ve played in teams like it [when you're near the bottom of the table] and you play with the shackles off.
“They’re a threat in behind on the counter and have decent wide players and strikers who are lively.”
Six vital fixtures stand between the Stags and the end of the 2022/23 campaign. Speaking ahead of the run-in, Perch said: “It’s very tight [around the play-offs]. We just have to go out and try and win every game and that’s what we were planning on doing today.
“Unfortunately you get afternoons like this where it is frustrating but we’ve got to dust ourselves down and go again [on] Saturday against Grimsby [Town].”
‘One of those afternoons’ - skipper James Perch on Mansfield Town’s home draw with bottom club Rochdale
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Monday 10 April 2023
Veteran defender James Perch said it had been 'one of those afternoons' as Mansfield Town were held to a frustrating 1-1 home draw by bottom club Rochdale today.
Stags had 20 shots but could not capitalise on Hiram Boateng's early opener as Dale levelled and rattled the home bar near the end on the break.
“It was a frustrating afternoon, especially with the chances we created in the second half - and the first to be fair,” said Perch, who wore the captain's armband in the absence of injured Ollie Clarke.
“But we have take a point and take the positives out if it and say we created enough chances to win two games today, but it just wasn't going in.
“It was definitely a missed opportunity. We were at home and we expect to win home games, especially after beating Swindon on Friday. We came into this game buoyant.
“It was one of those days you get sometimes when the ball just won't go into the back of the net.
“We just needed that little bit of luck or rub of the green. We knocked on the door enough times.”
Dale have now taken seven points out of nine but are six points from safety with only five games left.
“I think they know they're down - and I have seen it before and played in teams like it where you play with the shackles off,” he said.
“If they had played like that since August they'd have been top of the league.
“They had quick lads and lads who were lively, so when you're pushing bodies forward there's always the chance that you get a sucker punch at the back and we had to keep the back door shut.
“We played some good stuff during the game - as they did. It was a good game.”
He added: “It's very tight up there. We just have to go out there and try to win every game, which we were planning on doing today.
“We can't let it get us down. We have to dust ourselves down and go again on Saturday at Grimsby.
“The gaffer said a few weeks ago we have to just go for it and we will got toe to toe with everyone we play and see if they can handle it.”
Rochdale boss Jim McNulty still believes his side can stay up after another superb result in draw at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Monday 10 April 2023
Rochdale interim boss Jim McNulty still believes his side can pull off a great escape after today's battling 1-1 draw at promotion-chasing Mansfield Town.
Bottom club Dale, six points from safety with five games to go, have now taken seven points from the last nine and almost won it today when, after coming from behind to level, hit the bar on a rare break near the end.
“It was a brilliant point against a team who were at home and gunning for the play-offs,” said McNulty.
“Mansfield are a very dangerous team and had scored eight goals in their last two games - which was reflected on what they did to us in our own stadium - so we were very mindful of that.
“They put us under it, no doubt about it, which we expected and prepared for. We did ride our luck at times and our keeper was excellent. Our confidence took time to grow.
“So I am very pleased with my players and their mentality after going behind so early. We recovered and showed real resilience - and then developed on top of that and played some really exciting football with some brilliant phases that if we'd put the ball in the back of the net we'd have been eulogising about those goals.”
He added: “It's been a very good Easter, despite the horrendous position we find ourselves in.
“There is not a lot of hope from outside our walls but lots of hope and optimism inside our walls and lots of excitement for me to work with these players.
“We did create some good chances and it was a very exciting game.
“There is always hope we can win the next game and I believe we can win it, though it will be another difficult game. There are loads of challenges coming up and I am looking forward to them.
“The thought of the next game really excites me.”
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