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4th September 2023 23:02

Boss lauds ‘outstanding’ second-half in shootout win
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 29 Aug 2023

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his side were ‘outstanding’ in the second-half against Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, defeating the Owls on penalties last night to advance to round three of the Carabao Cup.

Stags faced a full-strength Wednesday at Hillsborough Stadium, and trailed at half-time, but fought back into the contest before an excellent equaliser from Rhys Oates sent the game to spot-kicks.

Goalkeeper Christy Pym proved the hero after full-time as Stags’ number one saved twice to give Mansfield a 5-4 shootout victory.

Speaking to iFollow Stags post-match, Nigel said: “I thought our second-half performance was outstanding.

“The way we kept the ball, we created situations and chances and didn’t concede too many.


“Christy [Pym] made a couple of saves - over the 90 [minutes] he made some important saves - but not too many in the second-half.

“I thought we controlled it [the game in the second-half] which is a nice sign when you come to a near full strength Championship side and control the game at times.”

Rhys Oates’ goal included 32 passes before the forward curled home from 20 yards. The move highlighted the brilliant football from Stags on the night, and so far this season.

“We’re going to try and keep playing the same way because when we do and we do it well, teams at our level especially will struggle to cope with it,” said the gaffer.

“It’s another step in that belief and confidence that we can keep doing it.

“We kept the ball for long spells in the second-half and I think this one was over 30 passes, that’s a lot of passes for a League Two side to have.

“Then [it’s about Oates’] explosive run and what a magnificent finish.

“He wasn’t fit to start tonight unfortunately. It was him and Lucas [Akins] sharing the [work] load. We thought about 45 [minutes] each but Lucas said he could do another 15 minutes.”

"George Williams might have been able to do 5 or 10 minutes, but Jordan was so good we didn't want to move him. It was his (Williams) first start on Saturday since last February.

"Lewis Brunt had a very impressive debut as well.

When asked if he gave the players any advice before penalties, the boss added: “The individual players do what they want to do.

“That’s why they practice them, getting into a routine and habit and saying ‘this is where I’m going to put it’.”

The manager went on to praise his goalkeeper, Christy Pym.

“I thought for the whole game, his distribution, his handling, the saves he made - which included the important ones in the penalty shootout [were excellent].

“I thought largely he kept us in the game at times.

“He’s a good goalkeeper. He’s a very steady experienced goalkeeper.”

Over 1,775 Stags’ fans travelled to watch a special cup victory in Sheffield.

“It’s absolutely brilliant, it makes up a little bit for last season because we were so unlucky in the FA Cup,” said the boss.

“They can go home happy.

“I think the last two games; Saturday coming back against Stockport in the manner we did and then another [fine] second-half here, I hope they enjoyed it.”

Previewing the Bradford game, Clough said: "We're going to have to score two, because obviously Cooky's going to score. He has done every game against us since he left.

"I'm not sure if there will be any back. Stephen Quinn injured for tonight, he's got a 50:50 chance at best, he got a whack on his knee on Saturday. Baily Cargill is the closest of the others."


Wednesday away win sweet revenge for FA Cup exit last season says Clough
chad.co.uk, Tues 29 Aug 2023

After last season's unlucky 2-1 FA Cup exit at Sheffield Wednesday, Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough felt tonight's Carabao Cup penalties win at Hillsborough was just revenge for his side.

Stags won the shoot-out 5-4 after Rhys Oates' late goal had earned a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes and are in the third round hat for the first time since 2005.

“We were so unlucky not to get a result here last year in the FA Cup so this goes some way to make up for it,” smiled Clough.

“I thought second half we were absolutely outstanding - it was just whether we could get the goal or not. What a goal it was in the end - I just counted 32 passes leading up to it and a magnificent burst of pace and finish.

“This result is not a fluke or a one-off. We have played like in most of our six games which is why we are unbeaten.”

He continued: “Their goal was a bit soft in the end. I think Lewis Brunt got pulled out of position, but it was a good cross, a great head back and it was a simple finish from there.

“I don't think we took advantage of the positions we got into in the first half. But we were up against better players and better defenders.


“We just needed that one piece of brilliance that we got in the second half. On that second half performance it was deserved. We seemed to grow in confidence as the game went on.”

Pym saved two of the Wednesday spot kicks and Clough said: “Once it went to penalties it was a lottery and Pymy has come up with the saves.

“I think with them getting through on penalties in the first round, to win two on the spin doesn't happen too often so from that point of view I thought we were due a break.

“I thought Christy played very well. You have to when you come to a Championship club who have put almost a full side out. Your goalkeeper and defenders are going to have to play well and I thought Christy made some crucial saves.

“We said to them at half-time just stay in it at 1-0 - then anything can happen like Newcastle v Liverpool at the weekend. Concede a second and the game is over.

“I would like a home tie but I don't really mind who we play.”


Nigel Clough: Mansfield Town Carabao Cup win no surprise given Stags' form

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said his side's upset win over Championship club Sheffield Wednesday in the second round of the Carabao Cup was "not a fluke" given his team's current form.

The League Two Stags beat the Owls 5-4 on penalties to reach the third round for first time in 18 years.

Mansfield are currently unbeaten so far this season after taking nine points from five league matches.

"We seemed to grow in confidence as the game went on," Clough said.


The Stags, who beat Grimsby 2-0 in the first round, forced the shootout at Hillsborough with only five minutes remaining, having trailed for most of the tie to Anthony Musaba's 28th-minute header.

But a flowing move ended with Rhys Oates' fine equaliser to force the tie to spot-kicks, with Mansfield goalkeeper saving two Wednesday penalties to send the visitors through.

"In the second half, we were absolutely outstanding - it was just a question of whether we'd get the goal or not," Clough, 57, told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"What a goal it was - 32 passes leading up to it and a magnificent run and finish."

Victory took Mansfield into the third round for the first time since 2005, when they were beaten 3-2 by Millwall, and Clough said he wasn't surprised they've seen off a side two divisions above them to do it.

"We've been like it most of the season so it's not a fluke or a one-off - we've played like that for most of the six games which is why we're unbeaten," he said.

"You never know with penalties but I thought we were due a break.

"The fans were brilliant - we came here last year [in the FA Cup] and were very unlucky not to get a result so this goes a little way to make up for that."


Goalkeeper: Stags were fearless
mansfieldtown.net, Tues 29 Aug 2023

Mansfield Town goalkeeper Christy Pym says the squad were ‘fearless’ at Hillsborough last night as Stags defeated Championship Sheffield Wednesday to progress through to the Carabao Cup third round.

The goalkeeper proved to be the hero as Stags won on penalties, with Pym saving twice in the shootout.

Speaking to iFollow Stags post-match, Christy said: “There’s no fear in the squad. We know how good we are.

“We know what we can do if we keep to that standard every week.

“We can’t let it drop now. We can’t let the start of the season be wasted and go flat - we’ve got to keep this momentum and keep the intensity in our performances.”


Mansfield displayed some eye-catching football, whilst also remaining resolute at the back for much of the contest, despite the quality of the opposition.

“It was a really good team performance from start to finish, we didn’t panic once,” said the goalkeeper.

“We got on the ball and played our stuff. We didn’t do that well enough on Saturday in the first-half.

“I think tonight we come away [from Wednesday] with full confidence that we can play here and do well and put them under pressure.”

At the other end of the pitch, forward Rhys Oates provided a dazzling equaliser in the 85th minute.

“I think it [the move] started about ten minutes from the end because we kept the ball for so long.

“That’s been the story of the season so far. On the ball, we’ve been great in possession. It was just a brilliant team goal.

“It was probably a goal of the season contender.”

On the shootout, and his fine saves during the 90 minutes, Pym said: “As a goalkeeper you’ve got to make a save every now and again and it was nice to make a few tonight when called upon.

“The boys were excellent, and it was a team performance tonight.

“The first couple games of the season I haven’t had too much to do so it is always quite nice to get a game like that where you get a bit of action and get yourself going in the season.”

Head of goalkeeping Adam Collin was credited by Stags’ number one for a key role in the research done on the opposition’s penalty takers.

“I knew once he stepped up for the first one I saved that I was going to save it. I knew where he was going,” Christy said.

“Adam [Collin] has been brilliant. He really looks into every fine detail.

“He gave me a lot of detail on the penalties so I had a rough idea in my head where each player would go and stuck with that.”


Mansfield goalkeeper Christy Pym told BBC Radio Nottingham:

"It's always nice. As a goalkeeper, you're the one that's going to be the hero at the end of the day but you're never really backed to save a penalty.

"It's just nice to get that one save. You don't really want to go through a penalty shootout and not save one.

"I went the wrong way a couple of times and was like, 'Come on, you need to get one.' I got the next one and knew then we were going to go through and win.

"You saw how confident the boys were taking [the penalties] but I fancied us to go on and win the game in normal time - I thought we were brilliant.

"They were a Championship side and couldn't get near us. With the quality they've got they are going to get one or two chances, but we limited them to not too many and on the ball we were excellent."


Brilliant win at Sheffield Wednesday down to belief in squad says Mansfield Town hero keeper Christy Pym
chad.co.uk, Tues 29 Aug 2023

Mansfield Town penalty shoot-out hero goalkeeper Christy Pym said tonight's Carabao Cup triumph at Championship neighbours Sheffield Wednesday had come as no surprise to the Stags players.

The Stags keeper made two saves as Stags won 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes and they remain unbeaten this season.

“With the belief we have this win is not a shock to us as a group,” said Pym.

“The way we've started the season we have been on good form and we backed ourselves to do well coming into this game.


“You can see how comfortable the boys are on the ball. We didn't panic once tonight. We played our stuff and put them under pressure as well.

Pym said keepers always get the hero tag in shoot-outs but he felt the whole side were brilliant on the night.

“It's always nice but as the goalkeeper you're always going to be the one that is going to be the hero at the end of the day,” he said.

“It's just nice to make that one save. You don't want to go through a penalty shoot-out and not save one.

“I knew once I saved one we were going to go on and win.

“I had fancied us to go on and win the game in normal time. I thought we were brilliant - a Championship side couldn't get near us.

“With the quality they've got they're always going to get one or two chances but we limited them to not too many and on the ball I thought we were excellent.”


Sheffield Wednesday boss Xisco questions team attitude as nightmare start continues against Mansfield Town
thestar.co.uk, By Alex Miller

It will be ‘impossible’ for Sheffield Wednesday to succeed if they do not change their attitude in parts of matches.

That’s according to a frustrated Xisco, who was speaking in the moments after a chastening penalty shootout defeat to League Two Mansfield Town that saw them dumped out of the Carabao Cup.

The Owls put on a dominant attacking display in the first half of the clash and tallied 22 shots in the match, failing to beat man of the match Stags keeper Christy Pym beyond Anthony Musaba’s first goal in Wednesday colours.

Concerning themes are emerging in that Xisco’s side are failing to put a consistent 90 minutes together, that individual defensive lapses are costing them dearly, that they are missing chances and are consistently conceding late goals.

Rhys Oates’ classy equaliser arrived in the 85th minute, the fourth time in their six competitive matches this season that they have conceded beyond the last five minutes of normal time.


“I am a little bit disappointed about the result again,” said Xisco. “We do not have the capacity to not receive the goal (keep a clean sheet).

“Again, we need to change our attitude in some moments of the game. If we do not change this attitude, it is impossible.

“There are positive things, we arrive and we shoot 20 or 25 times, we have clear chances and we did not score. This is football, you need quality in the boxes.”

Wednesday’s first half delivered swagger and bright performances from a number of players before Mansfield climbed into the second period in front of a raucous away support.

The penalty defeat means Xisco is yet to record a win or watch his side keep a clean sheet six matches into his time at S6.

The Spaniard continued: “It’s a moment for everybody to have some reflection. Everybody needs to have a moment to think about how we change the situation.

“It’s impossible today to lose the game. I mean, when we have everything perfect, we have 20 chances to score and we play good and you lose, what do you need more to win the games?

“It’s sure we never played better than today in the Championship. But also - again, again - with another individual mistake it is something different. This is the situation.”


Sheffield Wednesday manager Xisco Munoz told BBC Radio Sheffield:

"I'm a little bit disappointed about the result again. We need to change our attitude in some moments of the game - if we don't change this attitude it is impossible.

"We shot 25 times, had clear chances, and didn't score. It is impossible to lose the game when you have 20 chances, play good and lose.

"The last two minutes before the [Mansfield] goal I don't know what happened. You can explain things every day but this is professional football and we start thinking about the responsibility everyone has."


We have to improve the quality

Xisco has demanded more from his players in the final third following our Carabao Cup exit on penalties against Mansfield.

The Owls missed a host of chances, combined with an inspired display from goalkeeper Christy Pym.

And the manager said the players must sharpen their shooting boots to reverse a grim start to the new season:

“We have to improve, it is simple as that. Tonight we had 25 shots and Mansfield had three or four shots but the score is 1-1.

“When the game goes to penalties anyone can win and Mansfield won on this occasion.


“We created the chances but did not take them and this must change. We work hard in training for the games and as we saw against Cardiff on Saturday, we score the goal but did not get the second goal and we lose the game.”

Despite the slide, Xisco insists the whole camp will pick themselves up and dust themselves down in time for Saturday’s Championship trip to Leeds.

He added: “No matter how matter times you kick me, I will get up and come back and this will be the same for the players.

“This has been the way I am all my life.

“The good thing is that in football you get another chance very quickly and in four days’ time we have another chance.

“The players are giving me 100%, they are giving everything but we have to improve the quality.”


‘Seriously look at ourselves’ - Josh Windass offers brutally honest Sheffield Wednesday assessment
thestar.co.uk, By Joe Crann

For the second time this season the Owls failed to see off a League Two side in the Carabao Cup and required a penalty shootout after drawing 1-1 in normal time, but on Tuesday night they were unable to finish the job as Christy Pym saved two penalties to hand them victory at Hillsborough.

Wednesday dominated the game but didn’t take their chances at S6, Pym saving a number of efforts while Windass and his teammates also hit the woodwork on several occasions.

Defeat ramped up the pressure on manager, Xisco, further as his wait for a win and a clean sheet continues, but the Owls’ number 11 insists that blame needs to be laid at the door of ‘everyone out there’ on the pitch.


“Another game that’s not good enough,” Windass reflected afterwards. “I thought the first half we were quite sharp, to be honest. We started well, created a lot of chances, probably could have put some more away as a team… We hit the post and created a lot - we could’ve been two or three up.

"But in the second half we conceded a really poor goal. Obviously penalties are penalties, anyone can miss one, so we’re not too bothered about that - but it shouldn’t have got to that stage.

“We played against a team two leagues below us tonight, and no disrespect to Mansfield - they have a good manager and some nice football players in their team - but we need to seriously start looking at ourselves and start improving our performances.

"We can’t just keep blaming managers and people. Everything that happened tonight was on the players, it was on me, it was on everyone out there. We can’t just keep throwing blame on other people.

“We’re disappointed, we’re five games in and haven’t won a game yet - this club demands winning. We’re not happy with how we’re performing, and we can’t blame anybody other than the players that are going out onto the pitch.”

Next up for Wednesday is a tough trip to Leeds United this weekend before the international break.