CLOUGH, OATES, PAUL HURST REACTION
Manager: Bowery ‘brilliant’ in Grimsby draw
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 19 August 2023
Stags’ boss Nigel Clough singled out Jordan Bowery for special praise as the 32-year-old produced a virtuoso performance to help Mansfield to a 1-1 draw at Grimsby today.
The Nottingham-born player started at right-back and at half-time had to be moved to the centre of defence following an injury to Baily Cargill. And amidst a commanding performance alongside Aden Flint, Bowery assisted Stags’ equaliser just shy of the hour with a lovely-weighted ball over the top for Rhys Oates to latch onto and finish.
And speaking post match. manager Nigel Clough spoke highly of Bowery’s display, saying: “He was our best player by a country mile, going in a different position and out of his normal position, from right-back to centre-half and I thought he was brilliant in both.
“We had to make changes again and reshuffle [at half-time]. Jordan again helped us out. He went to centre-half and Lucas Akins to full-back and I thought they were both excellent.”
Summing up the draw at Blundell Park, Nigel said: “It’s a good point in the circumstances but it’s another game we should have won.
“I thought we were a bit slow starting. Their goal set us back, another goal of the season contender against us. Christy’s had one other shot to save in 96 minutes. We’ve hit the post, hit the bar, one-on-one, scored a good goal and had enough situations to win the game.
“In the first half we had enough chances [to score]. Davis Keillor-Dunn hit the bar and we’re talking about an inch or two from getting an equaliser, but I don’t think the front three were very good in the first half.”
At the break, his charges responded to the manager’s emphasis on attacking Grimsby.
“We wanted to have a bit more of a go and we did,” he said.
“Rhys Oates has hardly trained in the last ten days or so with a sore hip. It would have been a gamble had we started him but he came on at half-time and made an impact, running beyond and scoring a very good goal.
“Davis should have tied it up before and if he did I thought we would have gone on to win.”
Speaking about Rhys Oates’ leveller, he said: “It’s a good throughball over the top, and Rhys does what he does well. We missed that running beyond in the first half. He just got there before the goalkeeper and held the ball up and tapped it into an empty net.”
On the injury front, the manager confirmed that defender Alfie Kilgour - who will miss the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon - underwent an operation today.
Meanwhile, confirmation was given that Callum Johnson (hamstring strain), Aaron Lewis (calf strain) and Hiram Boateng (groin) are likely to be sidelined for up to six weeks.
Baily Cargill (tight hamstring) and Stephen Quinn, who took a whack on the knee, were both withdrawn at half-time.
“All levels of football seem to be suffering from quite a few injuries at the moment, and [they are] muscle injuries,” he said. “I’m not sure if it’s the added time or whatever, I’m not sure what it is.
“We’re doing everything possible to prevent them, with our prehab and stretching. We’re actually on a training schedule more like March and April to try and avoid injuries.
“You’re looking for patterns and there aren’t any. It’s completely random. Calum Johnson [for example] hooking a ball forward at Doncaster and felt his hamstring. Hiram [was injured by] passing one out to Quinny. It’s football.”
The manager also confirmed that defender John-Joe O’Toole and forward James Gale have returned to a running phase of training.
Meanwhile, a prospective incoming defensive loan will be pursued this week.
Oates: I feel back to my best
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 19 August 2023
Mansfield Town striker Rhys Oates says he feels that he’s getting ‘back to his best’ following the forward’s equaliser at Grimsby Town this afternoon.
Stags trailed at half-time but Oates climbed off the bench as a substitute at the break and coolly slotted home on 59 minutes to secure a 1-1 draw at Blundell Park.
The dynamic frontman has benefitted from a full pre-season following an injury-hit 2022-23.
Speaking to iFollow Stags post-match, Rhys said: “I think I am [getting back to my best] I just need to relax in front of goal.
“I think I’ve had quite a few chances where I’ve made quite silly decisions really.
“I just need to relax in front of goal and the goals will come.
“I’ve got a few assists and won a few penalties, so I think I’m getting back to my best.”
On his goal, the striker said: “I noticed they [Grimsby] were playing such a high line in the first-half.
“They kept quite a high line, and I got in, the pitch is quite dry and so it [the ball] has held up for me and I got round the ‘keeper and slotted it home.
“It’s an unbelievable ball [from Jordan Bowery]. It’s held up perfectly for me to knock it past him [the Grimsby goalkeeper] and slot it home.”
On Mansfield’s performance this afternoon, the former Hartlepool man said: “I think we probably did enough to get all three [points].
“Towards the end of the game they [Grimsby] sat off us and were just letting us play.
“We do that to teams. We dominate possession.
“I don’t think we did it quite enough in the first-half but I think because they were playing such a high line, it was quite tough to play short passes.”
Stags showed character again on the road to get a result from a losing position - the second game in a week in which they’ve had to do so following Tuesday’s point at Doncaster.
“It [coming from a goal down to get a result] shows that we’ve got good depth in the squad,” said Rhys.
“We’ve had quite a few injuries. We’ve been unlucky on Tuesday with four injuries - especially Alfie [Kilgour].
“I’ve not trained really for the last couple of weeks with my hip so it’s one of the reasons the gaffer told me I wasn’t starting today.
“We don’t really want to risk anymore injuries but it shows if I come out Swanny goes straight in and it’s good for him to get the 90 minutes that he probably needed having missed quite a bit of pre-season.”
The forward went on to provide an insight into Nigel Clough’s half-time instructions.
“He told us we needed to be better all over the pitch.
“[We were told to] Up the tempo and just make more runs in behind and stretch the game.
“Just more tempo, get back to how we’ve been playing [in the] first four games before today.”
Paul Hurst told the Grimsby youtube channel:
"I think it's a good point against a good team.
"I haven't seen every team this season but I've seen quite a few, and for me they are right up there."
Paul Hurst wants his Grimsby Town squad to be 'brighter on the pitch'
The Mariners boss was pleased with a 'decent point' against Mansfield but says he wants 'the players to be smarter in certain situations'
Paul Hurst wants his players to be better decision-makers on the pitch as Grimsby Town search for those incremental improvements to help them early in the season.
The Mariners continued their unbeaten start at home in the league on Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Mansfield Town, but the statistics suggest they were second-best in the game and could have come away with nothing on another day.
Mansfield had 20 shots to Grimsby’s eight and held 60 per cent of the possession with a better pass accuracy and more aerial duels won and Hurst believes the reason for that was the lack of decisiveness from his team in certain scenarios.
He said: “With the players that we’ve got out there, we can’t make every single decision for them, we’ve got to become brighter on the pitch. As coaches, we can set them up for certain scenarios, but in the to and fro of a game, it’s not American Football where we can stop and say this is what is happening.
“We lost some discipline and know-how [against Mansfield] but we still ended up with a decent point. I’m focusing on my team, where we are and where I think we can get to but Mansfield are a good team, so the improvement from the cup game is there to see.
“There were some tired legs and tired minds in the game after the start we’ve had, but it is in those situations where you have to use your experience as a player and show a bit of know-how.
“The effort has been there but I just want the players to be smarter in certain situations. We’ve come up against some strong teams already and competed so we’re certainly not a million miles away.”
Latest | August 2023