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Archived News from March 2024

11th March 2024 11:08

Manager evaluates MK defeat
mansfieldtown.net, Tue 5 Mar 2024

Manager Nigel Clough provided his analysis of Mansfield Town’s narrow 2-1 home defeat to MK Dons.

The Stags opened the scoring on fifteen minutes when Stephen Quinn slotted home Lucas Akins’ rebounded effort following the latter’s saved penalty.

Dons’ duo Alex Gilbey (20’) and Matthew Dennis (54’) hit back for the visitors to seal the result.


Mansfield, however, remain top of Sky Bet League Two and the gaffer felt Mansfield’s efforts were worthy of a point at One Call Stadium, he told iFollow Stags: “I think we did [do enough to get something from the game]. I think a draw probably would’ve been a fair result.

“We just didn’t do enough in the final third. You do need a break. One might hit somebody on the backside and go in or something like that. We’ve scored 14 goals in our last two home games and it’s as though we used up any good fortune in those two games.

“We hit the target with three or four [opportunities at the end]. You just want one to ricochet in off someone or drop to somebody in open space and it didn’t quite happen.”

Nigel made three changes just after the hour as Tom Nichols, Stephen McLaughlin and Ollie Clarke replaced Will Swan, Baily Cargill and Hiram Boateng, and said: “I don’t think Will Swan looked quite himself as he has done in recent weeks, he’s had a muscle injury. So we got him off and brought Tom [Nichols] on.

“Baily [Cargill] had been booked towards the end of the first-half. So Macca [Stephen McLaughlin] with his attacking intent we brought him on. And we brought Ollie Clarke [for] a bit of physicality.”

The gaffer credited the opposition, who are only the second visiting side to pick up three points at One Call Stadium this season: “They’re probably the best footballing side in the league. The four central midfielders that they have, technically are as good as anyone in the league so you have to get around them. You can’t stop them for 95 minutes, it’s very difficult because they’re so good.”

Mansfield’s attention now turns to the week’s second home game with Swindon Town on Saturday: “[Tonight’s game has] Already gone. Honestly, it’s already gone in our minds.

“We know we can afford to lose a few games before the end of the season because of the position that we’re in. We’re still top of the league and we’re still in a great position.”


We didn’t get a break against an extremely good team said Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough after MK Dons defeat
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Tue 5 Mar 2024

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough felt his side were unlucky with the two goals conceded after tonight's 2-1 home defeat by promotion rivals MK Dons.

The Dons got the rub of the green for both goals after Stephen Quinn had given Stags the lead, but they also looked a class side, defended well, and deserved the win in the end.

Clough said: “I don't think we got a break tonight playing against an extremely good team - technically they are probably the best in the league.

“The four midfielders they have are as good as any we will face.


“They are League One players really and at times we couldn't get to grips with them.

“But I thought we were a bit unlucky with both goals tonight.

“For the first Lewis Brunt won a brilliant header and it just went straight to their lad off his thigh into his path and he's put a great finish in.”

The second was deflected in and Clough said: “For the second Louis Reed's had a shot from outside the box, it's been blocked and gone in their lad's path again and they have broken away and scored.

“There was bags of effort tonight but not a break. The lads gave absolutely everything.

“It took us three go's to score from a penalty which probably summed up the night after scoring 14 goals here in the last couple of home games. We were maybe due one of these sorts of days.

“But we're still in a brilliant position so we can afford to lose one or two games before the end of the season.

“We have narrowly lost tonight to a very good team who I think we will be up there challenging for automatic promotion at the end of the season.”


Nigel Clough: Mansfield Town remain in 'brilliant' position at the top of League Two

Boss Nigel Clough insists Mansfield Town remain in a "brilliant" position at the top of League Two, despite suffering their first defeat at home in five games.

The Stags missed the chance to extend their lead on Tuesday, with MK Dons fighting back to win 2-1.

Mansfield remain three points ahead of second-placed Stockport, who have a game in had on the league leaders.

"We have narrowly lost against a very good team," Clough said.


"I think MK Dons will be there challenging for automatic promotion come the end of the season.

"We are still in a brilliant position, and we can afford to lose a few games between now and the end of the season," he added.

Mansfield had scored 14 goals in their previous two appearances at their One Call Stadium home - which included their club record-equalling 9-2 victory against Harrogate.

The Stags managed as many shots against MK Dons as they did in that recent thrashing of Harrogate, but Clough said they failed to get the same "breaks".

He laughed as he pointed out just how difficult they found scoring the opener, with Stephen Quinn forcing a loose ball home after MK Dons goalkeeper Michael Kelly saved Lucas Akins' spot-kick, then recovered to keep out the former Burton forward's follow-up.

"It took us three goes to score from a penalty, which probably sums up the night," Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"When you have scored 14 goals here in the last couple of home games, it was probably due one of those days.

"It was just one of those, you are going to lose a couple of games and unfortunately we lost a big one tonight," he added.

Mansfield are at home again on Saturday, when they face 17th-placed Swindon Town.


MK Dons boss Mike Williamson press conference, Thu 7 Mar 2024
"We had to ride our luck. The xG against us was quite high, so another day the result's different."


Fantastic game against worthy leaders said MK Dons boss Mike Williamson after victory at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Tue 5 Mar 2024

MK Dons boss Mike Williamson said he was proud of his side's brave performance to beat a Mansfield Town side he felt were worthy League Two leaders.

Tonight's 2-1 victory, only Stags' second home defeat of the campaign, strengthened Dons' own automatic promotion challenge as they came from behind to take all three points.

“I thought it was a fantastic game between two good teams and you could see from the first whistle that both sides wanted to win,” said Williamson.


“I thought we showed every area of our character today and we played as much as we were allowed.

“We were under a lot of pressure as they are a really high-intensity, hard-working team. And we had to put bodies on the line as well.”

He continued: “It was a good response from Saturday's defeat and that is what these players are about and the chemistry they have in there.

“They were hurting from the Wimbledon defeat at the weekend and channelled it in the right way tonight.

“We had to play with a lot of courage and bravery.

“Ultimately we had to respect who we are playing - they are top of the league for a reason.

“With the intensity they play with, their desire to run forward, and the quality of player they have, Mansfield are meant to be top - so I am proud of the boys tonight. They all put a real shift in.”


Williamson hails his players after Dons beat leaders Mansfield Town
Milton Keynes Citizen, By Toby Lock, Tues 5 Mar 2024

MK Dons head coach Mike Williamson reacts to his side's 2-1 win over Mansfield Town

Mike Williamson praised his players after they put in a 'massive shift' to beat league leaders Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.

Taking on a side who had only lost once at home all season prior to kick-off, Dons had to come from behind after Stephen Quinn scored a rebound when Michael Kelly saved Lucas Akins' penalty. The lead, taken on 15 minutes, would last just five though with the excellent Alex Gilbey firing in his ninth goal of the season.

Matt Dennis, making his first league start since October 7, then bent in the winner nine minutes into the second-half as Dons moved within two points of the top three.

"It was a fantastic game, with two good teams," said Williamson afterwards. "You could see from the first whistle, we both wanted to win the game. We showed every part of our character, wanted to get the ball down as much as we were allowed by a hard-working Mansfield team. We put bodies on the line as well. For me, it's a good response but that's what we're all about.


"You have to respect who we're playing, and they're top of the league for a reason. The intensity they play with, the desire to run and the quality of player they have says that is where they are meant to be."

He continued: "We focused on our game, where we knew we could hurt them, but credit to the boys, they had to do that on the pitch for 95 minutes, and put a real shift in.

"The lads were hurting from the weekend and channelled it in the right way. We'll keep our heads down and keep grinding. It was massive, and the lads who came off the bench added to the game too. We'll need everyone in the club in the run-in now."


Dennis scores and Kelly saves in 'fantastic' night in Mansfield
Milton Keynes Citizen, By Toby Lock, Tues 5 Mar 2024

The pair made big contributions to MK Dons' win over Mansfield Town last night

There were plenty of reasons to smile last night after MK Dons' win over Mansfield Town, but the biggest may have been reserves for Matt Dennis.

The 21-year-old made his first league start for five months at the One Call Stadium, and got his first goal in six months during the 2-1 triumph over the league leaders.

Having fallen down the pecking order this season, and suffering numerous injury setbacks, Dennis' rewards on Tuesday were nothing short of what he deserved.

Team-mate Kyran Lofthouse said of Dennis: "He's a great guy, we're buzzing for him. He works so hard. He's been out with injury problems, but we're delighted that he's back in the goals. He's a great team-mate."


Head coach Williamson added: "I'm really pleased for him, all evening he was fantastic. He worked his socks off, and that's what we need from him, to run and put a shift in. We know he has that quality."

There was also praise for goalkeeper Michael Kelly afterwards too. The Irishman saved Lucas Akins' penalty kick, and then did brilliantly with his follow-up as he clawed it off the line, but could not get to Stephen Quinn's tap in as he gave Mansfield the lead.

Kelly's overall performance drew acclaim from the head coach too, who said: "They had three bites of the cherry, it shouldn't happen.

"He did fantastically, but unfortunately they got there for the third one. He made some fantastic stops, and you could see he was talking all night, driving the lads out and it's what we needed."


"People will notice" MK Dons' big win over league leaders
MK Dons wing-back Kyran Lofthouse spoke after last night's 2-1 win over Mansfield Town

Milton Keynes Citizen, By Toby Lock, Tues 5 Mar 2024

Beating League Two leaders Mansfield Town will send a message to the rest of the division, according to Kyran Lofthouse.

Dons' 2-1 win at the One Call Stadium was only the second home defeat of the season for the Stags, and one which saw Mike Williamson's side move within two points of the automatic promotion spots, and just five off the top.

With ten games remaining, Dons must still play four of the top seven, including the reverse fixture against Mansfield, in their hunt to secure a top three spot. But with their excellent win over the Stags, Lofthouse believes the rest of the league will now sit up and take notice of he and his team-mates.

He said: "People will notice when you go away to the team at the top of the league and win, but we won't get too caught up in all that.

"We're just going game-by-game. We know if we can put good performances together, we have the players in there to challenge anyone. We've got an inner belief."

On the game, he said: "I think on the whole it was a good performance. We went down early with that penalty but the reaction was spot on, we didn't let our heads drop. It was a great strike from Gilbs or the equaliser, and that was important to give us the positivity to go on and get the result."

He continued: "To a man, everyone was brilliant. Winning your individual battles will always help. We knew after the result on Saturday, we knew we'd have to react, come here and put in a good performance. We did that. We dug in and got a great result.

"It was a great game, I enjoyed playing in it, they're the ones you want to be involved in. They're the league leaders, we know they're a good team. We know we're a good side, we can go up against anyone."



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