{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from March 2024

21st March 2024 14:12

Boss hails ‘outstanding Bradford win’
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 16 Mar 2024

Manager Nigel Clough described today’s performance as ‘outstanding’ as Stags stunned Bradford City with a 5-1 win in West Yorkshire.

Mansfield launched a full-scale assault on the Bradford goal right from the first whistle and coasted into a 3-0 lead inside 18 minutes through goals from Baily Cargill, Lucas Akins and Davis Keillor-Dunn.

Forward Will Swan added salt to a gaping City wound in first-half stoppage time by adding a fourth.

And despite former Stags’ forward Andy Cook netting a consolation for the hosts, Aaron Lewis bagged a fifth goal for Mansfield late in the second-half.

“[It was] An outstanding performance, result, everything,” said the manager.


“I was a bit disappointed when we conceded one because I don’t think we deserved to, but we’d take 5-1 all day long.

“Ironically, I thought we created more chances in the second-half than we did in the first. Some outstanding saves from their goalkeeper stopped Will Swan from getting a hat-trick today.

“I also thought some of the build-up play was some of the best it’s been for weeks as well; the passing around the penalty area, the movement, the throughballs and good decisions.

“It’s what we’ve lamented at times this season when we’re in and around the penalty area, we haven’t made the right decisions. I thought we did today.

“[We knew] That if we could get another goal or two [after the first goal] then it would be uncomfortable [for Bradford] with the crowd and everything, but it was as much about getting our crowd going as well, which I didn’t think we needed to do too much of that today, but certainly the three goals helped.

“I thought it was important to react today. I think it says an awful lot about the character of the players on the back of a defeat.”

The boss believes Swan’s fourth goal effectively put the game beyond Bradford’s reach.

“It was very important. I thought we were okay at three-nil but getting that fourth one really does enable us to take Davis [Keillor-Dunn] off [at half-time]. He’d been booked and made a foul and Baily Cargill had a tight hamstring so there’s no point risking him.

“We could then take Quinny off after an hour and get the subs involved.”

Saving the last word for the travelling fans, he said: “For two-and-a-half-thousand to turn up today and enjoy it, that’s the main thing.

“Enjoy the games, enjoy the results, enjoy being top of the league. We’ve got eight games to go and five of them are at the One Call, that’s the most important thing now.”


"George Williams felt his Achilles at Tranmere. Didn't really train yesterday, just did the warm-up. He said I'll come (to Bradford) and give it a go. That's why we brought Calum Macdonald. But he felt it in the warm-up again so we'll see how he is for next week."
"We're hoping Ollie Clarke has a chance for next week."


Mansfield boss Nigel Clough delighted at Bantams demolition
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Simon Parker, ParkerTandA, Sat 16 Mar 2024

NIGEL Clough revealed it was Mansfield’s game plan to go for the throat at Valley Parade.

The Stags boss called for a fast start against City after the leaders had slipped up in their previous game at Tranmere.

His side followed orders to the letter to bang in three goals in the first 18 minutes on the way to a crushing 5-1 win yesterday.

“We were positive and got out the blocks,” said Clough. “We were aware after they were defeated here the other night if we could get an early goal or two, it would be uncomfortable with the crowd.


“We’ve tried to do it from the first day at Crewe when we scored two in the first 15 minutes.

“We’ve set out our stall this season. It’s not always worked but it was important to react and I think it speaks an awful lot about the character of the players.

“On the back of a defeat with nine games to go and it’s a bit nervy and edgy, we can go out and play like that.”

Graham Alexander’s side had no answer as Mansfield picked them off in front of a stunned Valley Parade.

Clough added: “I said to Graham afterwards that they copped for us a little bit in terms of the finishing.

“We had the good situations at Tranmere but didn’t finish them. This time we were clinical, especially in the first 15-20 minutes.

“It was an outstanding performance, result, the goals, everything.

“I was a bit disappointed we conceded one because I didn’t think we deserved to. It was a little scruffy goal again by Cooky (Andy Cook) but you’ll take 5-1 all day long.

“Our build up play was probably the best it has been for weeks as well. The passing on the edge of the area, the through balls were all there and good decisions generally.

“Ironically, I thought we created more chances in the second half than the first. It was just some outstanding saves from their goalkeeper prevented Will Swan from picking up a hat-trick.”


Boss Nigel Clough praises character of his Mansfield Town players as they bounce back in stunning style at Bradford City
chad.co.uk, Sat 16 Mar 2024

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough said today's 5-1 away hammering of Bradford City underlined the character of his title-chasers after the midweek defeat at Tranmere Rovers.

Stags took another step towards automatic promotion and extended their lead at the top of the table to five points with a magnificent first half showing, surging 3-0 up inside 18 minutes.

“It was a big result for us considering the time of the season and on the back of Tuesday's defeat at Tranmere,” said Clough.

“To respond like that speaks volumes for the character of the players.


“We are capable of doing that to teams, and we finished the chances.

“The only difference second half was that we didn't quite finish them.

“We only got the one towards the end, but we could have scored at least as many as the second half.

“And it was a scruffy goal that we conceded, but I think we'll take the 5-1.

“There wasn't much difference with the chances created today, but we just were not clinical at Tranmere. And I think we were a little more positive today.”

He added: “We were bitterly disappointed on Tuesday. But you are going to lose games and it wasn't a bad performance, we were just not clinical and lost to a deflection.

“Sometimes the best way to defend is to be positive and to take the game to the opposition, and that was the plan today from the off - to go at them and try to get an early goal.

“Getting the fourth goal just before half-time absolutely knocked any stuffing out of Bradford.

“We saw in midweek Bournemouth beat Luton after being 3-0 down at half-time so you do have that at the back of your mind. But going in at 4-0 is much better than three.”

Stags were backed by almost 2,500 away fans and Clough said: “We could hear our fans singing right the way through from the warm-up, despite the defeat on Tuesday night.

“We are top of the league and we want to stay that way and do it for them.

“Getting the early goals helped settle everybody down. Everyone is a little nervous at this time of year, especially on the back of a defeat and looking at other results as well - it's getting to that stage.

“All we can do is look after our own business, keep trying to play like that, and keep trying to go forward and score as we have most of the season.

“There are only eight games to go and we are into the 70s points-wise, which is also very important.

“Also we have five games out of the eight at home, so we have to make sure we win as many of them as possible and then we are nearly over the line.

“But there is still a long way to go and a few twists and turns to come.

“MK Dons are in the midst of a good run at the moment and we still have to go there, and to Wrexham as well. They may prove to be pivotal games - we will see.

“But the most important thing is that it's in our hands.

“We have a brilliant goal difference at the moment, let's keep adding to it. It is worth a point and, you never know, in five or six weeks time that might be crucial.”


‘Massive win’ at Bradford says Bowery
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 16 Mar 2024

Versatile defender Jordan Bowery described Mansfield’s excellent 5-1 away victory over Bradford as ‘massive’ but emphasised that Stags must remain focused heading into the final eight games.

Mansfield romped into an early lead at the University of Bradford Stadium thanks to early notches from Baily Cargill (10’), Lucas Akins (14’) and Davis Keillor-Dunn (18’).

Will Swan added Mansfield’s fourth on the stroke of half-time before Aaron Lewis’ 86th minute strike wrapped up a resounding victory.

Stags sit atop Sky Bet League Two, five points clear of second placed Stockport County.

Bowery spoke to iFollow Stags after the match and said: “[It was] Magnificent. It was a great [way to] bounce back after Tuesday, we needed it. To get five goals, it was a great victory.

“We came [here] off the back of a defeat on Tuesday. We can’t have two defeats in a row, that can’t happen at this stage of the season. We need to push on and try and get as many wins as we can to push for promotion.


“It’s [a] massive [win] but we can’t get ahead of ourselves.

“We’ve got to get on with it and go on to Saturday [against] Colchester.

“We’ve got to try and do the same thing. Whether it’s a 1-0 win, a 2-0 win, we’ve got to go into that game with the mentality of trying to win. Every game from now on is important.”

The Mansfield number nine said he and his teammates smelt blood and said: “You could tell from the off, our intentions were to go and get as many goals as we could. That’s what we’ve got to do.

“The gaffer, after the third goal was still going, ‘you’ve got to go get a fourth, go get a fifth’. We cannot afford to do what we did last season and miss out by one goal, that can’t happen this year.

“We’ve got to go into these games and try and score as many as we can.

“We’ve got so many goal threats in this team. That’s why we are where we are. [We had] Five different goal scorers today, it’s a sign of a good team. I think we do that a lot, it’s not just today. We create a lot of chances, I think that’s what we do with the quality players we have.”

The 32-year-old said he and his teammates were yet again buoyed by the loyal travelling Stags in West Yorkshire this afternoon.

Mansfield were backed by 2,500 raucous away supporters and Bowery said: “[They were] Brilliant. Every week they turn out in numbers no matter where it is.

“It’s so good to look at and have that support behind you. Over there taking a throw-in I can hear them all chanting. It’s so good.”


Mansfield Town are taking nothing for granted says Jordan Bowery as lead at top extends to five points
chad.co.uk, Sat 16 Mar 2024

Jordan Bowery said Mansfield Town were taking nothing for granted as they edged closer to promotion with today's monumental 5-1 away win at Bradford City.

Stags are five points clear at the top of the table and five points clear of fourth place with only eight games to go.

But, while delighted with the big win at Bradford, Bowery said: “It's another game ticked off for us and we go again on Saturday. We can't get ahead of ourselves.

“There are eight games to go and we need to try to get as many wins as we can.


“We can't go thinking we're already promoted.

“Everyone wants to beat top of the league and dampen our mood.

“We need to have the mentality of wanting to win every game like we did today.”

Stags had lost 2-1 at Tranmere in midweek and Bowery said: “We wanted to keep our place at the top today and we needed a good response from Tuesday night - and that's what we did.

“We came out first half all guns blazing and scored four goals. And at half-time the gaffer said just go and get more.

“He puts the emphasis on it so much. If you get one, get two, then get three, get as many as you can as we do not want to miss out by one goal again like we did last season.

“It was unfortunate we conceded the one goal as we wanted a clean sheet, but the win is the main thing.

“We had five different scorers today. It just shows we are not relying on any one player for goals. It's always a good sign. It shows we have goals in all positions.”

Stags were backed by almost 2,500 away fans and Bowery said: “The fans were unbelievable again, how they turn out and how they approach the game.

“They have been fantastic ever since I have been here. They can all go home happy today and have a good weekend.”


Graham Alexander's reaction as Mansfield thrash Bantams
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Simon Parker, ParkerTandA, Sat 16 Mar 2024

GRAHAM Alexander admits City deserve all the stick coming their way after a 5-1 thrashing by leaders Mansfield.

The Bantams conceded three goals in the first 18 minutes and were four down at half-time as Valley Parade fans vented their fury.

Alexander, who dropped Andy Cook and Brad Halliday to the bench, said his side were well off it once Mansfield got in front.

“We started the first 10 minutes toe to toe,” he said. “We had an opportunity, they have one and take it, take another one and then we don’t take one and the game ran away from is.


“They were extremely ruthless with us but we certainly played a part with helping them do that.

“We can look at the quality they have and they’ve proved it over a few seasons - and certainly this one. The stats tell you they are the highest-scoring team and have got the best defence.

“But we certainly weren’t at a level, after the first 10 minutes, to be able to compete and stop them scoring.

“I really didn’t recognise our defensive actions and structure. They have a team that can compete physically really hard all over the pitch and I think they overpowered us.”

Jamie Walker, making his first start since his injury, missed a huge chance straight after Mansfield’s second goal.

Cook came off the bench as part of a triple sub just after the hour and scored a consolation - his 17th goal of the season.

Alexander added: “It’s hard to speak about anything else but the criticism that comes our way. It’s justified because we were nowhere near our level, certainly in the first half.

“You can say we played a bit better second half and we’ve scored but the game’s 4-0 at that point.

“I asked the players just to show a bit of personality in the second half and we did that.

“But we might have felt we were playing a better opponent here and let it seep into our bones. That’s not what we want to become or be.

“The atmosphere wasn’t nice but I can understand it. It wasn’t a good day.”

Nigel Clough praised his side’s “outstanding” display and Alexander called Mansfield the benchmark for City to aim for if they are to get out of League Two.

Despite the defeat, the gap to the play-offs remains at seven points.

“Nigel’s been there three or four years and gradually built up a really strong team,” said the Bantams boss. “This season it’s come together.

“But that’s to be at the top of the table. We don’t have to get to that level to make it a potentially successful season.

“You don’t have to be that good to finish seventh. But, let’s be honest, we’re not going to finish anywhere near that if we compete like that again.

“We have to understand between now and the end of the season, what we can do by scrapping and fighting and have a much better output than that.

“But we’re not going to get to their level in the next two weeks. That’s something for the longer term.

“We have to make sure we approach the next few games with the opportunity of giving ourselves the best chance of being in any sort of picture come April.”


Bantams boss explains absence of Andy Cook and Brad Halliday
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk, By Simon Parker, ParkerTandA, Sat 16 Mar 2024

GRAHAM Alexander has defended his decision to drop Andy Cook and Brad Halliday in City’s thrashing by Mansfield.

Cook came off the bench in the second half to score his 17th goal of the season.

But Halliday was not involved at all as the Bantams were thumped 5-1 at Valley Parade - the first time they have conceded that many since September 2020.

Alexander said: “I just go on performance. It’s not like I’m going, ‘I haven’t left him out for 10 weeks so I will do to prove a point’.


“If the team’s performing and winning games, why am I going to change it around? But if it’s not, I have to try and find solutions to make it win.

“I look at the performances, I look at stats, data, I look at training performances and the performances and attributes of other players.

“We have a game every three days and it’s physically sapping doing that. We have to make sure that we use the squad as well as we can.

“We could have had 12 players and if we defend like that we’re not going to win a game.

“I’m going to make decisions, I do them for the right reasons. If I believe that anyone is untouchable, then I don’t think that’s a competitive team.

“I still feel these are valuable players for us, they have been and they still will be.

“But I can’t play the same 11 players game in, game out. It’s a matter of fact. Teams would just go with the same 14-man squads like we did 30 years ago.”

Alexander gave Tyler Smith the nod over Cook up front and Alex Gilliead moved to right wing-back for Halliday, who had started every league game since the opening month of the season.

“That’s what I’m paid to do,” added the City boss, when asked about his team selection.

“I’m not going to come out and criticise any individual player to prove my point or to justify why I’d do that.

“I will sit down with a player and speak about what they have to do to improve. But that’s how it is.

“I’ll just make decisions honestly and without prejudice and for the better of the team.

“Sometimes I get them wrong. I’m not going to say I’m perfect and kid myself.

“But I feel over the course of my career I’ve got more decisions right than wrong and that’s why I’m here.”

It was a second successive Valley Parade setback for City, who are at home again tomorrow night for the rearranged visit of Notts County.

Alexander admitted he could not fathom how the team’s results have suddenly dropped off after last week’s convincing win at Accrington.

“I’m scratching my head. We’re trying to find the answer to help these players but it’s a conundrum.

“But if you’re not consistent in everything else you do - and that’s from the start of the season, pre-season, off season, the lot - then it catches up with you.

“We were so dominant last Saturday away from home.

“We’ve conceded another early goal and haven’t won the game. That hasn’t been the first time this season.

“We’ll look to see how we can improve the performance. But if we look at the bigger picture, the team haven’t been good enough over the course of the season to compete at that level.

“It might on occasion but not every three days. That’s what you have to do if you want to be successful.”



Graham Alexander expressed his disappointment following this afternoon’s defeat against Mansfield Town at the University of Bradford Stadium.

The Bantams boss felt like his side needed to compete at a better level following today, and, against the league leaders, did not perform to the standard they needed to.

“It was a difficult game,” he said.


“We conceded a poor first goal, which was very naive from us, but there are things we could have done to compete better.

“Today, we played the best team in the league, and they showed it.”

The City chief wants his side to use this defeat as a reflection upon today’s game, to look at the Mansfield side as motivation for his team, and improve going into the latter stages of the season.

The 52-year-old wants a response from his side and - with a quick turnaround when City return to the University of Bradford Stadium, with Tuesday's visit of Notts County - Alexander in insistent the Bantams have just that opportunity.

“Today was a reality check, but we still have ambitions for this season, Alexander added.

“It is important to understand the opponent we had up against us today - they are a blueprint for us to look at going forward.

“They are top of the league, they are the top scorers, the best defence, and they showed that today. We have ambitions and we can use them as a blueprint.

“We have to show on Tuesday if today was the real us, or if we are a different team, and that that today just was not our day.

“We have to show on Tuesday what we are about. We can say what we want today, but our actions need to prove our words right on Tuesday.

“We deserve the criticism from today, but on Tuesday we have a chance to restore the faith in ourselves, and more importantly the faith in our supporters.”


Hiram Boateng @HBoateng8
Enjoyed that! 8 to go

Aaron Lewis @aaronjameslewis
Great result away from home today, fans were unreal and nice to chip in with a goal. Up the stagZ

John Radford
Another remarkable performance and victory today, with quality and character on show from start to finish, aided by a magnificent army of 2,500 Stags’ fans.
Together, we are a force to be reckoned with.
Onwards and upwards.



Latest | March 2024