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Archived News from April 2023

19th April 2023 21:42

Boss encouraged by positive display at Grimsby
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 15 Apr 2023

Manager Nigel Clough was encouraged by Mansfield’s ‘attacking intent’ away from home in today’s 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town.

The Stags got their noses in front through Jordan Bowery’s 39th minute strike.

The versatile number nine played to the right of frontman Lucas Akins at Blundell Park, having played in a variety of positions throughout the season.

Results elsewhere ensured the Stags returned to the League Two play-off places with five games remaining.

Speaking to iFollow Stags after the match, Nigel believed Mansfield could have earned maximum points.

“[It was] a bit frustrating again, having got our noses in front,” he said.


“Over the course of the 95-100 minutes [we had] enough chances and situations to score more than one goal.

“Hiram [Boateng] had numerous [chances] from the edge of the box.

“Davis Keillor-Dunn [had one] in the penalty area, one over the bar, blocks. The goalie made a couple of good saves and they got some good blocks in without a doubt, but we still have to do better.

“That’s what we’re trying to do, be positive. I thought we were from the first minute. [With] twenty odd minutes on the clock, they’d been in our penalty area twice, as the home side. Our attacking intent is there.

“[The fans] couldn’t have asked for a more attacking approach from a team away from home. We’re trying to win games.”

The boss reserved special praise for goalscorer Jordan Bowery.

“It was good to see him [Bowery] back up there. Absolutely invaluable he’s been in these last few months. I don’t know where we’d be in terms of getting a team out if we hadn’t had him. Left back, left wing-back, [on] the right hand side, up front today and got a goal.

“[He’s a] very important player for us.”

The gaffer explained his formational approach: “James Gale has been ill in the week so Callum Johnson came back in and Elliott [Hewitt] moved to left back. [There aren’t] too many options we’ve got at the moment.”

Mansfield currently occupy seventh place in Sky Bet League Two, with five matches remaining, and travel to 17th placed Newport County on Tuesday night.

With eight outfield players still sidelined, the boss provided a fitness update: “[Rhys Oates] trained yesterday for ten minutes and felt very stiff. We said ‘come along and do the warm up’. We brought McKeal [Abdullah] just in case. But, there was no way [Oates could play]. He said he couldn’t even do five or ten minutes.

“Stephen McLaughlin could do ten minutes at maximum today. [It was] good to get him back on the pitch, even in a midfield role.”

Asked if any other players could return, he said: “To start, [is] unlikely, certainly [for] JJ [John-Joe O’Toole], Louis Reed, Anthony Hartigan, George Maris and Ollie Clarke. So it could be pretty much the same lads out there.”

On whether George Maris may soon return to the side, he added “I don’t think so. He’s doing a certain amount. He just can’t do that final explosive sort of stuff and [whilst] sprinting his Achilles is restricting him. We’ll see how he is. We might take him for the bench but we’ll see.”


Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham:
On Danny Johnson: "Danny's not had the impact we'd hoped he'd have in recent games."


Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough upset over late penalty decision at Grimsby Town
chad.co.uk, Sat 15 Apr 2023

Nigel Clough was adamant Mansfield Town should have had a last minute penalty that might have seen them take all three points from today's 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town.

Jordan Bowery seemed to get goalside of his man on the bye-line and go down under a challenge.

“We saw Jordan get in front of the lad and go down,” said boss Clough.

“He is adamant it was a penalty and the lad who fouled him said it was a penalty. I don't think the referee was enough up with play, but it was a clear penalty.”

Bowery gave Stags a 39th minute lead but the Mariners levelled through George Lloyd just after the break, following up after Christy Pym had saved an Otis Khan penalty.

“The performance was good today. I thought we started the game well and controlled it throughout the first half, but just couldn't get through that first 15 minutes after half-time,” said Clough.


“I keep saying to the players they have to get through to the hour mark when you're 1-0 up, especially away from home.

“Then you can try to pick them off a bit and go for that second goal.

“I thought we weathered the storm then and had more situations in the last 20 minutes or so than they did - none more so than what we thought was a certain penalty in the 94th minute.

“It was a tale of two penalties and we should have done better with the rebound from their penalty, which was definitely a penalty too.

“But I thought our approach was positive throughout the game. We just couldn't manage to keep that clean sheet we've been searching for for three or four games.”

He added: “We got in some great positions, especially down the left and Davis Keillor-Dunn has got to produce a bit more on the road than he has. At home, no problem at all, but in the positions we're getting him into away he should be scoring a goal or making a chance. It's something he has got to work on.

“We wanted to try to win it without going gung-ho as they are dangerous on the break, especially when they have nothing to lose.

“We were creating chances right to the end if we get the penalty and win 2-1 everyone is ecstatic.

“We are going for wins every game. It didn't happen today but it wasn't for the lack of trying or going for it and it will be the same at Newport on Tuesday.”

Striker Rhys Oates was not on the bench after pulling up in the warm-up and there was no sign of Ollie Clarke and George Maris as Mansfield remain very short-handed.

“Rhys trained for 10 minutes yesterday and had a very stiff groin,” said Clough.

“He did the warm-up today but said he couldn't even go on for five or 10 minutes. So we will have to see how that settles down.

“Ollie has no chance, he is out for maybe a few weeks now. George Maris is in a similar position in that he has also not quite improved enough too.

“So it's still the eight unavailable to start a game which we've had now for about the last three months.”


Bowery on ‘good performance’ at Grimsby
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 15 Apr 2023

Mansfield Town forward Jordan Bowery commended a ‘good away performance’ as the Stags extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a 1-1 draw at Grimsby.

The 31-year-old turned home the opener on 39 minutes following a cross from Elliott Hewitt.

Assessing the clash at Blundell Park, Jordan said: “[It was a] good point in the end. Obviously [Christy Pym] made a good save with the penalty and then [we did] concede from the rebound. You’ve got to follow [the ball] in but that’s what happens.

“It’s a good point on the road.”

The forward broke the deadlock prior to the break as he found the back of Max Crocombe’s net following a cross from Hewitt.


“It was a good ball in by Ell (Elliott Hewitt), he put it onto an area [which caused a threat on Grimsby’s goal].

“They said from the start the left-back hadn’t played all season, he’s been out for a while. ‘Get on him, be aggressive with him’ and I feel like we did that for the majority of the game.

“The ball came into the box and I think I just wanted it a bit more than him. It just dropped down and [I had to] then hit the target.

“I feel like we started well but we’ve just got to kick on. When we get one goal we need to go and get more.

“I don’t feel like they had many chances. We got into their box quite a lot and we caused them a lot of problems and it was just that final part of the game that was missing.”

After featuring at left-back following Stags’ array of injuries, Bowery played further upfield today as he looked to influence the game going forward.

“I enjoyed it. It’s nice to be back up there and contributing with a goal. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

“I feel like I’ve contributed and got the team a point.”

Stags’ 1-1 draw with Grimsby extended their unbeaten run to seven games with another vital clash coming up against Newport County on Tuesday night.

“We’re in the final stages of the season and we’re pushing for something, so we’ve got to go out there and a point’s the minimum we’ve got to be getting.

“Hopefully we keep up our away form and go there (Newport County) on Tuesday and try and get the three points.”


Paul Hurst blasts Grimsby Town's first half display in Mansfield Town draw
grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, By Sam Allen, Sat 15 Apr 2023

Paul Hurst laid into his Grimsby Town team’s first half performance in their 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town. The Town boss tried some different messaging with the players to start the game.

The Mariners were able to fight back and rescue a point as George Lloyd netted his fifth goal of the season in the second half, but they were behind at the break and deservedly so after a lacklustre opening 45 minutes.

Hurst revealed that they had worked on a different way of playing out with the players before the game, but felt they did not take the advice passed on by the coaching staff on board which forced them to simplify things after the break.


“To say I wasn’t happy with the first half would be a bit of an understatement, we wanted to try a few things which understandably would have made some people nervous," said Hurst.

“I want the players to ride over that though, but they didn’t do what we asked of them in a few situations. We only worked on these things yesterday so I can give them a little bit of an excuse, but it still wasn’t good enough.

“Irrespective of whether you’re playing out from the back or not it does not take away the ability to just compete or tackle and be first to balls, and we were dominated on the physical side without Max [Crocombe] having to do too much.

“For the goal, there are probably three mistakes in one, we don’t stop the cross, don’t deal with it well enough when it is in the box and Max could probably have done better with the shot.”

Hurst gave credit to his players for their response in the second period, which allowed them to get closer to Mansfield and put more pressure on a backline that had been unchallenged in the first half.

The Town boss said: "Was pleased to get in at half-time as we were and there were a few choice words spoken, so credit to them on that side for their response in the second half because they were much better. We were more front foot and competitive but we scrapped it out [in the second half] it was more basic but it got the crowd more involved and put Mansfield under more pressure.

“We can wipe out [the penalty miss] because we followed it up and it is something we have worked on in training in terms of getting the rebound and I’m sure [George Lloyd] is pleased because he might’ve wanted to take the penalty.”


Paul Hurst breaks down Otis Khan's Grimsby Town role after important Mansfield Town display
The Mariners boss offered deeper insight into the 27-year-old's role and praised his performance in the Mansfield Town draw

grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, By Sam Allen, Sat 15 Apr 2023

Paul Hurst was impressed with Otis Khan's latest performance in Grimsby Town's 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town and is happy for the player to fit into a role of freedom from the left wing.

Khan would often drift into a central position and that is where he caused problems for the Mansfield defence, particularly in the second half, playing the delicate pass through to George Lloyd to win the penalty which led to the equaliser and also creating chances for his own.

As a right-footed left winger, Khan's best option is to cut inside and exploit the space inside when Town are able to stretch the opposition backline with the player on the opposite side, which in this case was Harry Clifton, staying wide with the full-backs pushing on also


Hurst explained Khan's role further: "Otis was one of the brighter players for us in the first half [against Mansfield], we didn't have many in truth but he had some clever play. It is natural for him because he is coming in on his stronger right foot and when you're looking for players as we are, it is amazing how many players that play on the left side but are right-footed and trying to find the opposite is a little more difficult.

"Harry [Clifton] was in the pitch, but he can naturally use his left foot pretty well but at times he was a bit too eager to get into that space in the middle when the ball is on his side of the pitch and Otis is tucking in, we want [Clifton] to be the wider one, depending on Michee [Efete]'s position and how quickly the ball has transitioned across the pitch.

"It was good for Otis to play in that role, but he picked up a little knock and was icing his ankle when I thought it was cramp initially, I was going to leave him on but I decided not to risk it so [George Lloyd] did a job for us on the right towards the end and I moved Harry to the left."


Paul Hurst's George Lloyd verdict as external pressure grows to keep player at Grimsby Town
The 23-year-old's performances during his loan spell from Cheltenham Town have quickly made him a fans favourite at Blundell Park

grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, By Sam Allen, Sat 15 Apr 2023

Paul Hurst seemed resigned to not keeping popular loanee George Lloyd at Grimsby Town beyond this season when asked about his future again after his side's 1-1 draw at home to Mansfield Town on Saturday.

The 23-year-old netted his fifth goal for the Mariners since joining on loan from Cheltenham Town in January as he headed in the rebound of Otis Khan's saved penalty in the Mansfield draw.

That took his total goal contributions for Town up to nine in just 17 appearances for the team and his influence has extended beyond goals and assists at times due to his aggressive, high-energy style of play as a forward.


His performances in the last couple of months have seen pressure grow on Hurst and the club from supporters to retain Lloyd's services beyond this season. However, the Town boss said there is no indication from Cheltenham that they want to sell the player at this time.

"There are a lot of things in my life that I want that I'm not going to get, and I think with the [George Lloyd] situation that is where we're at currently," admitted Hurst.

"I can only say it so many times, but there was no discussion around the move becoming permanent and no discussion about Cheltenham not wanting the player. I don't see it happen, and if I'm at Cheltenham and see that he's doing well on loan, then at the very least we would be having him in during pre-season to have a look."


Max Crocombe comments on Grimsby Town progression and the 'uncomfortable' focus
The Mariners goalkeeper was speaking after the team's 1-1 draw at home to Mansfield Town

grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, By Sam Allen, Sat 15 Apr 2023

Grimsby Town goalkeeper Max Crocombe believes there are benefits to being "uncomfortable" as he spoke about Grimsby Town experimenting and trying to develop different ways of playing.

In response to questions about the Mariners' approach in the first half of their 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town on Saturday, which the players struggle to adapt to initially, Crocombe said the misjudgments from the team were part of the process of trying to improve as a team.

After trying to play a slower, more considered style with a focus on playing out from the back in the first period, Town went to a more conventional, direct style after the break and found more success but Crocombe had positive reflections on both approaches.


The Grimsby goalkeeper said: "In the first half, we were trying to slow it down a little bit in terms of trying to play a bit more of a possession-based game to try and draw their players out the slots. We gave the ball away a bit cheaply at times but we're working on that and trying to play with a little more risk at the back.

"It was not always going to come off but we stuck with it, and when we did get success going longer, it was obviously as a result of trying to play out. You can feel a bit of edginess when you're playing that way and taking those risks, and I understand that. I thought we did have some good moves out from the back and we had a bit of success.

"Obviously in the second half, we were a bit more direct and there was more of an intensity to our play which brought a lot more success going forward in the end we were probably frustrated not to get all three points [against Mansfield] because I thought the second half was a much better showing."

Being flexible and adaptable in play styles is vitally important for teams in order to be successful and while things might not always work to perfection out on the pitch, Crocombe stressed the importance of having the mental fortitude to put yourself in those situations in the first place.

"We set up against other teams differently and we look at where we maybe can get success on the pitch. You want to be uncomfortable at times because normally that is when you are putting yourself in a position to try and improve," added Crocombe.

"We could just stagnate and try not to do anything different and say 'this is us' and never really progress ourselves, but from the coaching staff to the players we put ourselves in risky situations to try and improve. I think we have had success at times when we've got out after encouraging a bit of pressure."



Latest | April 2023