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Archived News from May 2023

11th May 2023 22:13

Gaffer reflects on campaign
mansfieldtown.net, Monday 8 May 2023

Manager Nigel Clough has offered his reflections on the campaign after the curtain closed on 2022/23 with a 2-0 win at Colchester.

The boss described the season as ending in ‘devastating’ fashion - with Stags missing out on the play-offs by a goal - but admits he ‘can’t wait’ to get going ahead of 2023/24.

Mansfield’s season came to end in Essex as the Stags ran out deserved 2-0 winners over Colchester thanks to goals from Riley Harbottle and Will Swan.

"It was a very good performance and a very good victory."

Nigel felt that missing out on the play-offs was incredibly hard to take, but believes the players can learn from experiences this season.

“[It’s] devastating in lots of ways,” he said. “You can look back over the course of the season. The two that got me were [the] Crawley and Swindon [games]. [We were] four-nil up at home to Crawley in complete control and we conceded a needless goal. Then at Swindon, [we were] four-one up and conceded again. Those two goals have proved to be vital now.


“It’s a good lesson going forward. I don’t like those sorts of lessons but it’s a good lesson. Every minute of every game [and] every goal counts. I don’t care if you’re five, six nil up, you keep it and [remain] professional. You stay professional and you do it right all the way through.

“Seventy-five points has been enough to get you in the play-offs almost every year in the last ten years. [We’re] a couple of points shy [of our total] last year but with what we’ve had to deal with injury-wise I think to even get this close is an achievement. To get within one goal is heartbreaking.”

When asked about his contract and personal priorities, Nigel said: “[My contract] is going to get sorted in the next few days. It’s been a time issue with me and David [Sharpe, CEO] having the time to sit down. I think we’re about done. As long as the chairman and the board want us to stay then we are very happy to finish the job next season.

“We know what we need for next season. We need to keep most of these lads together [and] improve defensively. We’re already without two defenders for the start of next season with Macca [Stephen McLaughlin] and Elliott Hewitt [picking up injuries]. So we need to bring two or three [defenders] in and we’ll go with what we’ve got.

“It was probably the strongest bench we’ve had [all season today] but it was the last game of the season. That’s what you need all throughout the season.

“[Let’s] get everybody fit, get two or three defenders in and we’ll be ready on the fifth of August. I can’t wait for it.”

The gaffer ended by crediting Mansfield’s incredible support home and away this term.

“The support on the road and at home [has been special], he said. “We’re unbelievably appreciative. They know how close we were today and they’ll be devastated just as we are.”


Excited Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough can’t wait for new season to kick off after narrowly missing out on play-of​​​​​​​fs
chad.co.uk, Monday 8 May 2023

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said Stags will use how close they have come to the play-offs this season, despite a crippling injury list, as a big incentive for next season.

Clough said he can't wait for next season to come after Stags agonisingly missed out on the top seven by a single goal on goal difference, despite a last day 2-0 win at Colchester United today.

He also said he feels the squad only needs two or three new defenders to be added to ensure they will challenge next term.

“When you see how close you are you can use it as an incentive. It really does make you want to get going again as soon as possible. It's exciting,” he said.


“I can't wait first for the 1st July for pre-season and then 5th August we start.

“We don't need much. If we can keep pretty much most of what we've got here and add two or three defenders, I think we will be in good enough shape to challenge without a doubt.

“We will have a proper pre-season, which we didn't have last year. The players can now have a proper break and we will come back that much stronger next season.

“I can see absolutely tons of positives going forward.

“With the number of players we have had out injured this season, to get 75 points and to come within one goal is an achievement in itself.

“It gives you so much encouragement after what we have had to deal with you that just can't wait to get going again.

“We had a disrupted pre-season and injuries throughout the year and we are still this close.

“With just a reasonable season of injuries we would have been challenging for the top three without a doubt, the stats show that.”

After Salford City lost at home to Gillingham, Stags needed one more goal in a thrilling finish at Colchester. But it wasn't to be.

“If Orient had won today instead of Gillingham we would have been in on the back of that. The wrong team won as well. It's been that sort of season,” said Clough.

“We were tantalisingly close so it's devastating to miss out by one goal.

“All you do is look back over the course of the season at goals, never mind points, we should have got.

“To come so close is incredible - and we have the best away record in the league after winning today.

“Reaching 75 points normally gets you into the play-offs - it's been that sort of season for us.”

He added: “I thought our intent in the first half was excellent going forward. We pretty much controlled and dominated.

“Davis Keillor-Dunn has hit the bar, Will Swan has gone through and missed. Just sometimes it feels like it's not meant to be. We did everything we could but we let in too many silly goals over the course of previous games.

“We were 4-0 up at home to Crawley and conceded and think it doesn't matter. But it does, every minute of every game and every goal matters. When you are 4-0 or 5-0 up, don't concede.

“We've conceded too many goals. So we can identify exactly where we need to improve next season. It's not about going forward and creating chances, it's stopping them at the other end.”

Clough expects to sign a new contract very soon with his current deal expiring this summer.

“That won't be a problem,” he said.

“Talks are ongoing. It's not a thing but it's about getting the time. I didn't want anything distracting us leading up to this game. We will sit down next week with David (CEO Sharpe) - we are nearly there. Nobody is holding out or anything like that. It's just getting the time to sort it.”


'We will challenge next season'

Nigel Clough expects Mansfield to challenge for promotion next season after coming "tantalisingly close" to reaching the play-offs.

The manager, who at times had as few as 12 first-team players to call upon because of injuries, said there was "absolutely tons" to be positive about.

"We will be good enough to challenge, without a doubt," Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"We don't need much. If we keep most of these lads together and then add two or three defenders, we will be ready for next season.

"To get 75 points with the amount we've had out injury-wise and to get to within one goal [of the play-offs] is an achievement in itself.

"In some ways it gives you so much encouragement that you just can't wait to get going again."

Clough said even a "reasonable season of injuries" would have allowed Mansfield to reach the play-offs for a second successive year, having been beaten in the Wembley final by Port Vale 12 months ago.

"We will have a proper pre-season, which we didn't have last year," he added.

"When you see how close you are, you use it as an incentive. It really does make you want to get going again as soon as possible."


Defender thanks Stags’ fans
mansfieldtown.net, Monday 8 May 2023

Experienced defender James Perch has thanked Stags’ supporters, saying ‘they’ve been superb all season and never let us down’.

The centre-back has made 44 appearances in all competitions this term and has added vital experience to a side which has been struck with a plethora of injuries.

The Mansfield-born defender helped the Stags to a clean sheet in a 2-0 win on the final day of the season against Colchester United in Essex.

Reflecting on the 2022/23 campaign, Perch said: “[I’m] tired and just gutted.

“The fans have come today in numbers, and they were brilliant.


“They came here to see us have that last push into the play-offs and it didn’t quite work but they’ve been superb all season and they’ve never let us down.”

Analysing today’s victory at Colchester, James said: “First of all, today’s win was a good performance and a very good win.

“In the end it doesn’t feel like that because we haven’t made the play-offs. I think we were one goal off [which saw Salford secure seventh in Sky Bet League Two].

“We had enough chances today to get that third goal.”

Analysing the season in more depth, he added: “When you’re 4-0 up against Crawley [and concede, and then] concede a late goal against Swindon… when you look back, those goals have effectively cost us.

“The gaffer mentioned in the dressing room that we’ve got [one of] the best away records in the league and when you look back at last year, we probably had the best home record.

“It’s flipped on its head a little bit [this season] but that’s something we can take into next season and try and get both [home and away records] working together.”

Speaking on his contract, which is set to expire, James said: “I think we’ve got a few days off now and then [we’ve got] meetings with the gaffer this week and we’ll see what he says.

“If he wants to keep me, I’ll stay, I’m more than happy here.

“I’ve loved it ever since I’ve come through the door and I loved it even when I was a kid. I have a big affiliation with the club.”

When asked of his final thoughts on Stags’ campaign, Perch said: “Thanks to everyone who’s supported us this year. Hopefully next year we can do it.

“It’s been a tough year, the lads have grafted, especially with the injuries we’ve had.

“The lads have stuck together and they’ve fought like the fans have for us.

“I want to say a massive thank you to them. See you all next year hopefully.”


Veteran defender James Perch is happy to stay at Mansfield Town if wanted
chad.co.uk, Monday 8 May 2023

Mansfield Town's veteran defender James Perch said he is more than happy to stay with the club if he is wanted.

The 37-year-old former Newcastle United and Forest man has battled back from a fractured skull early last season and been an important part of the squad and, now out of contract, said: “I am more than happy to be here if the gaffer wants me or the club wants me.

“I am in no rush. The gaffer knows me and knows I will sign here, so we will see what he does.

“We will have a talk this week and if he wants me I'll stay.”

Stags missed out on the play-offs by a single goal on goal difference on Saturday and Perch said: “It's hard to take.

“We've played for nine-10 months and it comes down to one goal being conceded.


“You can look at the goals we've conceded late on, especially against Crawley and Swindon. If we'd not done that and we'd concentrated for the full 90 minutes we'd have been in the play-offs now.

“Those times when you're 4-0 up and cruising in games and then we take our foot off the gas and don't carry on doing what we've been doing, we get hit by a sucker punch.

“It doesn't affect the game at the time but over the course of a season those goals can really hurt you and we've felt that today

“For the last God knows how many years 75 points has got you in the play-offs. This year it hasn't.

“But I think we've done well considering the injuries.”

He added: “It was quite flat in the dressing room at the final whistle but the gaffer said dust yourselves off and come back next year, none of this play-offs rubbish next year, we want to get top three and that is the aim.

“With a bit of luck on our side we can do that as we have enough quality in that dressing room. I think we showed that again at Colchester - some of the football we played was brilliant.

“We have the best away record in the league and need to take that on to next season and up our home form then I think we will be right up there.”

Perch said the players would no spend some time with their families and recharge their batteries.

“We will all go home now and maybe not see each other for four or five weeks,” he said.

“We will spend some time with our families as they really do suffer throughout the season when you're so dedicated to be professional with nights away and late night games.

“When you have young kids it's hard for them. They have been brilliant and now we will spend some quality time with them for a few weeks.”


Ben Garner reaction
gazette-news.co.uk, By Jonathan Waldron, Monday 8 May 2023

COLCHESTER United head coach Ben Garner felt his side deserved more from their game with Mansfield Town after they lost 2-0 on the final day of the League Two season.

Goals from Riley Harbottle and substitute James Gale in stoppage-time in each half condemned the U's to a second successive defeat, leaving them with a 20th-place finish.

Despite their win, Mansfield missed out on the play-offs by a single goal, following results elsewhere.

Garner, who made four changes to his starting line-up for the game, said: “I thought we should have got something from the game.

“It was another pleasing performance against a side who missed out on the play-offs by a goal, in terms of long spells of the game I thought we were the better side.


"We had to make some changes today and we had a few injuries and a suspension so we gave some opportunities for players to come in who had trained really well and deserved their opportunity to play.

"There were lots of positives and also lots of lessons for me, moving ahead to next season.

"There was a little bit of pinball a couple of times and it wouldn't go in for us.

"I thought we had some good positions in the first half.

"We're disappointed with the goal in the first half because a, it's not a foul and b, they never gave it.

"So it was frustrating from that point of view but overall, I'm really pleased with the effort from everyone since I came in through the door.

"Mansfield are a really strong side.

"Nigel (Clough) is a really good manager and it's disappointing for them to miss out so narrowly but they will be another strong side in this division, next season, for sure."

Colchester are now planning for next season, after Garner led them to safety after taking charge in early March.

“I think the season is probably finishing at the right time now, in terms of mission accomplished," said Garner.

“We’ve done what we set out to do when we came in and now we’ve got an opportunity to reshape the squad a little bit, build on the good core players that are here.

“We don’t want to be where we are in the table, next season - we want to be pushing for promotion.

“Looking at the teams coming in, both from below and dropping down, it’s going to be a really tough league next season so we have to work hard in the summer to make sure we’re in a strong place.”


David Sharpe @DavidSharpe91
75 points with constant injuries, joint top scorers in the league, record season ticket sales. Plenty to be positive about, we aren’t far away! Time to recover and strengthen in the areas we are short in. Thank you for your support all season, roll on August 5th!! #Stags

Davis Keillor-Dunn @davisjames10
Gutted things didn’t go our way today but we gave everything we had! I just want to personally say thank you to every single stags fan for your support this season you’ve been immense, made me feel so welcome since the minute I joined. Next year we’ll be back, see you soon

Hiram Boateng @HBoateng8
Season done, wasn’t to be this time but we’ll take the positves from this year and build on it, thank you for all the support Stags

Massive thank you to everyone involved at @mansfieldtownfc for this season! Especially to all the fans for your continuous support

2022/23 tick. the most up and down season so far. For it to end by missing out by 1 goal was tough. Missing a large part being out injured was very frustrating but finished the season fit and feeling good again. Looking forward to next season having a full season at it as normal. Thanks for your support

Thank you to all the players, staff and fans that have supported me this season. The boys gave it their all and I’m gutted we couldn’t get the job done but we move and we keep pushing. Can’t wait for next season to see what this club can achieve

Danny Johnson @Johnson11Danny
A season of two halves. A challenging one... Always keep smiling. A supportive wife and baby on the way. Roll on the next season

Riley Harbottle @riley_harbottle, 10 May
Thank you to everyone involved at @mansfieldtownfc. The players, staff and most importantly the fans have made my time at the club and created memories I’ll never forget.



Latest | May 2023