PALMER AND ATKINS REACTION
MP3 interview with Carlton Palmer and Mansfield 103.2's Jason Harrison's post-match thoughts:
Audio interview with Carlton Palmer from Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed)
Manager Carlton Palmer, who was banished to the stand for the second half after haring his views with referee Grant Hegley at the break, said: "That was a very good performance and I was delighted with them, particularly the young lads.
"We dominated the game and were the better footballing side.
"But again it was a referee's decision-making that cost us. The referee was poor throughout and gave us nothing.
"I think it's wrong that you can't even talk to referees now, he sent me off at half-time, and if you say they are poor you get into trouble. But he was poor.
"The first one definitely wasn't a penalty. The linesman gave nothing, no one appealed and the boy went down very late. He was never going to get the ball and can't be accused of trying to stay on his feet.
"The second one I will have to see on the video again. But if Luke Dimech has pulled a shirt then it was stupid thing to do.
"I was particularly pleased with the three young lads who won the battle in the midfield for us. Fraser again showed what he can do, Giles and Callum did well, as did Adam Rundle.
"Richie Barker led the side superbly and I thought that was Colin Larkin's best game for me. He was outstanding.
"I am just disappointed we were leading 4-2 near the end and the manner of the goals we gave away.
"The Stags fans who came all this way today were superb and gave the lads a chance. I hope the home fans will do the same on Friday, as they did before the Oxford game."
Bristol Rovers Official Site
Ian Atkins praised the character of his players after watching them fight back to earn a point in a 4-4 thriller against Mansfield Town this afternoon.
The Rovers manager looked on from the Memorial Stadium dugout as the two teams served up a goal feast, with three goals in the first half, and five in the second.
But although Ian admitted that the manner in which his side conceded their four goals was disappointing, he said the players couldn't be faulted for the way they kept battling to the end.
"It was a game of mistakes - all the goals we gave away were poor ones," Ian told bristolrovers.co.uk, "But the character of the side was there for all to see again, and it was a fantastic comeback. We were 4-2 down with eight minutes to go, we got level, and could even have won it.
"It was pleasing to see the players show the bottle to fight to the end, because that is the kind of character you need in a team if you are eventually going to be successful."
Two of Mansfield's four goals came in a five-minute spell immediately after half-time, and Ian was less then happy with the way his team defended at the start of the second half.
"We made two horrendous mistakes for their two quick goals," he said, "But to be honest, all the goals we conceded were poor from our point of view.
"The pitch isn't the best and that may have had something to do with a couple of them, but if you keep giving the ball away in stupid areas of the pitch, or if you don't track back and stay with your man, then you get punished.
"It just highlights that as a team we are not quite strong enough from the front to the back, because if we were we wouldn't keep giving teams headstarts."
Rovers fielded a notably attacking line-up for the game, although Ian says his intentions were no different to any other fixture.
"We start with an attacking team in every game," he said, "We would have had Dave Savage out wide today, but he dropped out after coming down with a bug, and with Mansfield not being a very physical side, it was an opportunity to see some people in different positions.
"Unfortunately we didn't have players suited to go out wide on both flanks, so we had Junior and Lewis playing there at different times, swapping with Ryan Williams. But neither of them really wanted to be there, and having players I've inherited not wanting to play in a position when they are paid to play football doesn't help you win games of football.
"I was pleased with the two in central midfield though, James Hunt and Aaron Lescott. Mansfield play three in the middle so you need two dogs in there, and I thought they did a fantastic job."
Latest | March 2005