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2nd April 2024 10:37

Manager’s assessment after Wrexham loss
mansfieldtown.net, Fri 29 Mar 2024

Nigel Clough provided his analysis of Mansfield’s frustrating and controversial 2-0 defeat to Wrexham.

A Paul Mullen brace separated the sides, however the second-half was marred by key decisions.

On 61 minutes, Davis Keillor-Dunn rounded Wrexham ‘keeper Arthur Okonkwo to slot the ball home. However, referee Lewis Smith pulled play back, claiming the stopper had two hands on the ball during the build-up.

Five minutes later, the referee awarded a penalty to the hosts. However, replays revealed that Jordan Bowery’s foul on Luke Bolton occurred outside of the area.

Nigel felt Mansfield had begun the contest well. Speaking to iFollow Stags after the match, he said: “[I was] Very pleased with the first half an hour of the game, up to the first goal. I thought we had control of the game, [we] restricted Wrexham to very little.

“Will Swan goes half clear and could have put us ahead.


“Then, we make a simple error for the goal and suddenly find ourselves 1-0 down.

“I thought there was nothing wrong with that first 30 minutes away from home. It was very good indeed.”

Stags were dealt an early blow in the contest, however, as Elliott Hewitt was forced off with injury on eight minutes.

Nigel said: “You get the feeling after that, that it’s not going to be your day.

“He’s waited a long time for this game and he gets a late tackle on him and ends up splitting his lip.

“It was one of those where we used to patch it up, get a little bit of Vaseline on it and you’re allowed back on. Unfortunately not these days. It was a ten-minute job to get it stitched [back up] and we didn’t think playing with ten men for ten minutes would have been ideal.

“I haven’t seen the challenge back, it was a late challenge certainly.”

The gaffer made two changes at the break as Tom Nichols and James Gale replaced Will Swan and Lewis Brunt respectively and the manager said: “Will Swan got a whack right on the stroke of half-time, to his cheekbone.

“Lewis Brunt landed awkwardly on his ankle after about 35 minutes. He got through to half-time but no way could he continue.

“That added up to seven defenders out at that point.”

The second period brought with it a number of talking points. The boss gave his view of Keillor-Dunn’s disallowed equaliser: “It was difficult to see, it was one of those 50/50 ones.

“I think quite a few referees would’ve let it go. He didn’t clearly have control of the ball I didn’t think.

“We’re certainly not getting them in our favour at the moment. That could have changed the game.”

On the decision to award a penalty minutes later, he said: “[It was] Very disappointing. I’m disappointed in the assistant as well. He’s looking right across from a closer point than the referee and at a better angle as well.

“I asked the referee, I said ‘are you absolutely certain?’ He said ‘I’m 100% certain he was inside the area.’ He’s wrong.”

Ahead of an important clash at home to Accrington Stanley on Easter Monday, Nigel provided an injury round-up: “[Hewitt] Is going to be fresh which is great.

“None of the other ones that are out [are likely to return].

“Baily is out, that was an enforced change at the back.

“Stephen Quinn has had a heavy cold, we’ve got the game coming up on Monday so that was the reason for leaving him out [today].

“We’ll get a team out and I think the frustration of today will serve us well come Monday.”


Injury-hit Mansfield Town prepare for big Accrington Stanley clash after miserable afternoon in Wrexham
chad.co.uk, Fri 29 Mar 2024

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough admitted his promotion-chasers have to beat visiting Accrington Stanley on Easter Monday as everything went against his side in the big 2-0 promotion showdown defeat at Wrexham today.

Injury-hit Stags had a goal chalked off, had a penalty given against them that was outside the box, lost Elliott Hewitt injured inside three minutes on his comeback after 11 months out, and then lost two more players before half-time.

“It's a big one now on Monday and we have to try to get three points,” said Clough

“It was always going to be difficult today given the circumstances and when you then lose three players before half-time.


“Monday is a different ball game altogether and we have got to win it.

“It didn't start well losing Elliott Hewitt after only two minutes.

“He gets caught with quite a nasty tackle that gave him a split lip.

“It was going to take 10 minutes to get stitches in and we couldn't afford to play that long with 10 men.

“I think it's a slightly silly rule that you can't go back on with a little bit of blood coming out your lip.

“But it meant we had to make the substitution. Then we lost two more players at half-time.

“Elliott is absolutely fine. He's had two stitches in his lip. At least one thing - he will be fresh for Monday as he will be starting on Monday.”

Clough then saw Davis Keillor-Dunn rob the keeper of the ball and find the net, but the referee decided the keeper had two hands on it.

“I can't see if he's just got the ball in his hands or has just dropped it,” said Clough.

“He is very close to the edge of the box anyway and you have seen them let go.

“The referees sometimes let those go and you get an equaliser.

“But you are still in it at 1-0 and the penalty given is two yards outside the area.

“There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for getting that one wrong.

“That's two weeks running now. We had two good penalty appeals against Colchester last week turned down and then had one go against us today.

“At any stage of the season they matter, but especially this one.

“It was a young referee today who I believe has had Premier League experience. Maybe he was waiting for VAR, I'm not sure.

“I wish we'd had it today as it would have ruled the penalty out and we were still well in the game.”

Clough continued: “I thought generally we played well today. We played some good stuff, though maybe didn't have enough of a threat.

“In the first half the front three didn't make the most of their situations again.

“If you come away to Wrexham it is good to say that after 30 minutes you have restricted them to hardly anything, and had a few good situations - we were controlling the game and doing very well away from home.

“Unfortunately Lewis Brunt makes a terrible error and misses the ball in the penalty area.

“He went to clear and somehow managed to miss it altogether. Aden Flint thinks he's going to clear it so is flat-footed behind him and it just rolls into Mullins' path.”

On the other two injured players, Clough said: “Will Swan got a whack just right on the stroke of half-time.

“The player caught him late and he got a bash on the cheekbone, which was swelling up. We will have to see how he is.

“Lewis Brunt just landed awkwardly on his ankle after 35-40 minutes and couldn't carry on which meant we had seven defenders out at that point at half-time.

“That is one of the big plus points to come out of it. We had seven defenders out and it's taken a penalty kick two yards outside the box for them to score against us in the second half.

“Again we had situations and James Gale got a shot off early on.

“But with that second goal they can sit in and break on you. They were very difficult to break down.”


INTERVIEW: Phil Parkinson after Mansfield Town victory
Wrexham Boss delighted with top of the table victory

wrexhamafc.co.uk, Fri 29 Mar 2024

Phil Parkinson hailed his sides performance in and out of possession, as the Red Dragons moved one point off the top of the table with victory against Mansfield Town.

Heading into the fixture, Parkinson’s men trailed the Stags by three points, but the deficit is now equal, thanks to a double from Paul Mullin.


The striker bagged his 98th and 99th goals for the Club and took the sting out of any potential threat from the opposition.

In what was a complete, assured display at both ends of the pitch, the Wrexham boss expressed his delight with the performance.

“It was a hard-earned win; gritty, determined and our out of possession work was outstanding,” he said.

“We respected Mansfield because of the season they are having, but the work from everyone right throughout the team restricted them.

“I thought the first goal was magnificent move; Maxy’s pass was as good as you are likely to see, and Andy’s cross to Mulls brought a calm finish to put us ahead.

“Before the penalty we had a twenty-minute period where we gave the ball away too cheaply, but then we got the pen which was a nice cushion.

“All in all, I think the teamwork was outstanding.”

This afternoon’s victory means that only one point now separates the top three sides in Sky Bet League Two.

Stockport County lead the Red Dragons and the Stags, with six games left to be played by Parkinson’s men.

It’s now back-to-back victories for the Reds with two of our final three away fixtures coming in the next week.

As momentum seems firmly behind the Red Dragons, Parkinson believes that focus will be the key as we head into the final month of the campaign.

He said: “It’s a very competitive division but we knew that at the start. There are teams in the league like Mansfield that have been building for years to have a season like this.

“We’re enjoying it, and the lads are relishing every single game, and they’ll take a lot of heart from this result today.

“It’s another game chalked off, there’s six to go and it’s important one against one of our rivals. Now it’s about preparation for what will be a terrific occasion at Doncaster on Tuesday.”

After arriving in July 2021, Mullin is now only one goal away from reaching his century in a Wrexham shirt.

He scored his first on debut from the penalty spot on against Solihull Moors, and his 99th came in the same fashion as he slammed the ball past Christy Pym.

He played a key role not just inside the penalty area but also leading the first line of defence alongside Ollie Palmer, and Parkinson paid tribute to his outstanding performance.

He said: “The first finish was very calm; it came across very quick on a greasy surface and we’re pleased with that. He dispatched the penalty, and the goals were brilliant but him and Ollie were today doing a really good job.

“We did work in the week about blocking the ball into Louie Reed because he’s a very good footballer and we restricted the service into him.

“I’m so pleased with that work because that means just as much as the goals.”


Wrexham secure big win against promotion rivals Mansfield
leaderlive.co.uk, By Richard Williams, Fri 29 Mar 2024

PHIL PARKINSON felt the hard work on the training pitch paid off as Wrexham registered a massive win in their quest for a second successive promotion.

The Reds triumphed 2-0 against Mansfield Town in the League Two top of the table showdown at The Racecourse on Good Friday.

Paul Mullin struck either side of the break to secure victory, with the brace taking the prolific striker onto 20 goals for the season and one short of the century milestone since joining Wrexham in the summer of 2021.

Victory keeps Wrexham third in the table and on the same tally as Mansfield who arrived in north Wales as leaders but are now second.


Stockport took over at the summit and are one point ahead of both sides with a game in hand, while fourth placed MK Dons are three adrift of the Reds having played a match more with Barrow and Crewe Alexandra also challenging for a top-three finish.

Mullin's brace ensured Wrexham, who have six games remaining, strengthened their own position and put a dent in Mansfield's promotion push.

Parkinson hailed a hard-working performance from all his players who put into practice what they had gone through in training sessions in the run-up to the crucial fixture.

"It was a hard-earned win," said Parkinson. "A gritty, determined performance.

"I thought the out of possession work was outstanding.

"Obviously we respected Mansfield because of the season they are having but the way the lads worked, starting with the front-two and all the through the team, we restricted a very good Mansfield team to very little.

"There was a real physicality about our performance. We won headers, we were first to the ball all over the pitch.

"Of course the quality at times could have been a little bit better but sometimes conditions dictate to a certain degree.

"That was a really good team performance. The lads are pleased and the staff are pleased because we put a lot of work during the week into that performance on the training pitch and the lads have really implemented it well."

Wrexham had a couple of half-chances before they took the lead in the 32nd minute.

Max Cleworth played a superb through-ball to Andy Cannon whose low cross from the right wasn't dealt with by centre-backs Lewis Brunt and Aden Flint, with the ball reaching Mullin who fired home from eight yards.

"It was difficult at times out there but I thought the first goal was a magnificent move from us," said Parkinson.

"Max's pass was as good as you are likely to see and it was a fantastic weight of cross by Andy to Mulls and the calmness of the finish got us ahead.

"It came across quite quick on a greasy surface and I am really pleased with that finish."

Wrexham goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo made his first save of the game at the start of the second half when he did well to turn substitute James Gale's shot behind for a corner.

Mansfield thought they'd equalised after Davis Keillor-Dunn slotted into an empty net but the goal was disallowed by referee Lewis Smith who decided the former Wrexham man had kicked the ball out of the Reds' keeper's hands when he came to the edge of his box to collect.

Although the Stags had created very little it was a let-off for Wrexham who responded by going 2-0 up in the 67th minute.

Luke Bolton was brought down in the area by Jordan Bowery and Mullin smashed home the resulting penalty, taking his tally for the Reds to 99 goals since his arrival from Cambridge United nearly three years ago.

"Mulls despatched the penalty very well for us and it was a nice cushion," said Parkinson.

"Luke Bolton, as we said when we brought him in, has got real power and once he is past people he is a very difficult player to catch.

"It was kind of a mishit pass and he has got on the end of it, we got the penalty and the 2-0 cushion was fantastic for us."

Mullin earned the plaudits for his two-goals but Parkinson felt the captain-for-the-day and strike partner Ollie Palmer deserved just as much credit for the way they defended from the front against a dangerous Mansfield side who have not won against Wrexham in three league and cup meetings this season.

"All-in-all, I thought the team ethic was outstanding," added the Reds' boss, whose side continue the promotion push at Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night.

"The goals were brilliant but Mulls and Ollie did a really good job.

"We worked during the week on blocking the ball into little Louis Reed because he is a good footballer.

"We restricted the service into him, a lot of their attacks start off like that and I was so pleased with that work because that means as much as the goals."


Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson defends controversial decision in huge promotion race victory
mirror.co.uk, By Megan Fering, Fri 29 Mar 2024

Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson has said his side were “due” a decision to go in their favour after a contentious penalty call in their 2-0 win over promotion rivals Mansfield.

The Welsh side powered their bid for successive promotions with a dominant victory at the Racecourse. After a difficult opening half-hour amid volatile conditions, striker Paul Mullin put Wrexham into the lead as he swept home Andy Cannon’s well-worked cross, registering his 17th league goal of the campaign and his 98th in his Wrexham career.

Mansfield’s Aaron Lewis saw an effort to equalise whistle wide before the interval, but it wasn’t until substitute James Gale fizzed a shot towards Arthur Okonkwo’s bottom corner at the start of the second-half that the visitors registered a shot on target, evidence of Nigel Clough’s side inability to threaten amid a hard-working Wrexham display.


And shortly after Davis Keillor-Davis saw his goal disallowed after he nicked the ball off Okonkwo on the edge of the box, Wrexham’s Luke Bolton was chopped down on the edge of Mansfield’s area to earn the hosts a crucial penalty which Mullin dispatched with ease. Yet, replays of the penalty show that Bolton was taken out outside the box.

“The harder you work, the luckier you get,” Parkinson said afterwards when asked about the decision. “We worked so hard today. I haven’t completely seen the penalty decision back but listen, I think we were due one of those. We haven’t had one in a while and some you get, some you don’t. We’ve got that one today.

“I’m sure Nigel when he looks at it might be disappointed but over the course of the season, we’ve been saying as a staff that we’ve been due for something to go for us because we had the last two home games here where we’ve absolutely dominated teams and nothing fell for us so we were due one.”

Wrexham remain third in League Two, yet level on points with Mansfield and one point off leaders Stockport, who tout a game in hand. Mullin's brace not only put Wrexham into a promising position as they enter the final six matches of the season but saw the striker register his 98th and 99th goals of his Wrexham career. And Parkinson noted the importance of experienced heads such as Mullin and James McClean in the final stages.

"James McClean in particular, the bigger the game, the better he plays and Mulls as well, he’s another example," Parkinson said.

"The finishing line is getting closer and they can smell that sweet smell of hopefully success, we know there’s work to be done. The lads are relishing it and they should, we’ve worked hard to get into the top three and we’ve got six games to go, it’s about staying there."

Wrexham return to action on Tuesday when they face 15th-placed Doncaster Rovers.


Taking to Instagram after the game, McClean has dropped a 10-word verdict on the result.

He wrote: “Good Friday indeed.. enjoyable days work

“P.s cry some more.”

The “cry some more” jibe is about the tackle that saw him receive a yellow card at the start of the game, with many Mansfield fans believing it was a red card offence.

from https://www.thewrexhaminsider.com/news/james-mcclean-drops-10-word-verdict-after-wrexham-score-2-0-win-v-mansfield/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook