MURRAY, WESTCARR AND APPLETON REACTION
Murray pleased with resilient Stags
mansfieldtown.net, 22nd August 2015
Stags’ manager Adam Murray was left feeling content with a point this afternoon against Oxford United.
Mansfield went ahead in the third minute thanks to a superb strike from Craig Westcarr and could’ve doubled their lead just a few minutes later when Matt Green missed from the penalty spot. Oxford got their equaliser through a penalty of their own when Kemar Roofe converted after Callum O’Dowda was brought down by Reggie Lambe in the second half.
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Although the Stags could’ve had all three points, Murray was pleased with how his side battled in the later stages of the game. “In the end we had to be resilient against a very, very good side.
“Overall, going toe-to-toe with one of the favourites for the league, to get a point against them and come out with a lot of positives, I'm pleased.
“We wanted to win it of course and we felt like we could win it. If we’re being totally honest the game could’ve been over in the first twenty minutes. We should’ve been three up but sometimes that’s the way the game goes.”
Murray also said that he was pleased with how his side kept their shape when Oxford were trying to force their way through the Stags’ back line.
“Our shape was good, we limited them to playing in front of us and then forcing it a few times. When do they get through, and good teams always do, then you rely on your shot-stopper (Brian Jensen); that’s what he gets paid for and he’s pulled off a couple of ‘worldies’."
The gaffer revealed that Matt Green was disappointed in himself for missing the penalty but says that the 90 minutes will make him sharper as the season progresses.
“Greeny’s (Matt Green) just said to me there ‘look I apologise, I’ve let you down today’, that’s how honest he is. Greeny missing penalties doesn’t bother me when he gets into the areas that he does. He’s somebody who needs to train every week, he can’t have a week off.
“Because of his niggle that he picked up, we couldn’t risk him Tuesday, but because he is so big to us, we had to play him today. The ninety minutes today will have done him the world of good and he’ll come back stronger. A proper fit Matt Green today scores a hat trick.”
Our manager said that he was pleased with Craig Westcarr’s influence on the game, and the forward has had to be patient while waiting for his chance in the line-up.
“He's a good player, we’ve been waiting for our chance with Craig,” Murray said.
“There’s games where I have to make sure the balance of the side is right and this first month of the season we’re not too ‘gung-ho’ and we don’t leave ourselves too open.
“We have to get the balance right and I felt today it was a game that Craig could affect and, what a goal.”
Murray’s final word was for the mental strength of his players, something which he believes will be key during the course of the season.
“We’re [a group of] 14 new players, we’re having teething problems while we’re finding our feet and we’re still trying to find the way we want to play and while we do that we’re coming under pressure from some good teams.
“We said in mid-week that this team and this group of people will try our upmost not to lose two games back-to-back.
“I feel that when you do that you get into a rut; you have to be physically and mentally strong to get a win or a draw when you have lost a game so the pleasing thing today is I don’t think w
Spot kick missed, but Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray happy with point against Oxford United
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray was happy to see his side play at ‘70 per cent’ and still come out of today’s tough home clash with Oxford United with a 1-1 draw.
The Stags could have been out of sight as they scored after just three minutes and were then awarded a penalty kick after eight minutes.
However, Matt Green, back from injury, sent his kick against the bar and United slowly but surely turned the tide, levelled with their own spot kick on 59 minutes, and looked the more likely winners in an entertaining match.
Ironically it was Mansfield’s first penalty in 86 games.
“I thought they were both penalties,” said Murray.
“Matt Green has just apologised to me and said he’d let me down today which shows how honest he is. He is someone who needs to be training and he can’t afford a week off.
“But he is a big player for us so we had to play him and the 90 minutes will have done him the world of good.
“It looked like the last month had caught up with us at times and we were a bit leggy. Before the game Nicky Hunt was struggling and Matt Green hasn’t trained all week and I think that showed.
“So to go toe to toe with one of the favourites for this league and come out of it with a point has to be pleasing.
“We wanted to win it of course and it should all have been over in the first 20 minutes when we might have been three up. But, sometimes that’s the way these things go and you end up grinding out a point.”
Brian Jensen made two important saves, one in each half, and Murray continued: “We limited them to playing in front of us and when they did get chances, you rely on your shotstopper. That’s what he gets paid for and he pulled off a couple of ‘worldies’ today.
“Oxford are one of the big hitters to get promotion this season and we should have put it to bed early.
“I wasn’t happy at half-time, even though we were leading and had the better of the chances as I thought we showed them too much respect and sat off them too much, allowing them to play in areas we don’t usually allow teams to play.
“In the end we had to be resilient against a very good side.
“We are a fit bunch, but we didn’t have that zip or energy today. “Fortunately we have no midweek game which will give us a bit of a breather that will help the boys regenerate.
“We are trying to make sure this season that we don’t lose games back to back as you can get in a rut.”
Worrying for Murray is the fact that six of his players were booked after the seven midweek yellow cards at Accrington Stanley, which will have earned the Stags a fine.
Murray said: “I want them to show fire and commitment and that desire to work hard. But we are getting into scuffles out of nothing and it is something I will be speaking to them about this week.
“I want fire but I also want some ice - if we don’t get that balance right there will be problems.”
He added: “We have got to be realistic and get the balance of the situation right. We are a new group and this is a building process.
“To be at 70 per cent and not get beaten is good and when we get to 100 per cent, and we will do, we will be a very good side.”
On Monday Murray is expecting winger Matty Blair to sign a new deal after recovering from a serious long term knee injury.
Craig Westcarr quickly off the mark on Mansfield Town debut against Oxford United
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Craig Westcarr is hoping he can keep his place in the side after netting just three minutes into his full Mansfield Town debut in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town.
The summer signing from Portsmouth blazed home from the edge of the box and said: “I was very pleased to get off the mark and very pleased to start but obviously disappointed we only got a point out of a game I feel we should probably have got three points out of.
“In the end it was probably a fair result as they had a few chances too. We had a few good chances in the first half and on another day we come out of it with three points.”
Stags could have been 3-0 up, but Matt Green saw an eighth minute penalty hit the bar and then Sam Slocombe saved a Green effort when he looked a certain scorer.
Mansfield were made to pay when Kemar Roofe netted from the spot on 59 minutes to rescue a point for Oxford.
“It was a great start - probably one of the quickest starts we’ve had so far,” said Westcarr. “We played really well. The second half is never going to be the same, we got pushed back a bit, they created a few chances, got the penalty and scored. It was probably a game of two halves in the end. At the end of the day we both take a point and move on.
“They put us under a lot of pressure near the end, but we didn’t concede.
“The gaffer said just go and play your stuff - just play off Greenie and just enjoy it so that’s what I did today.
“I was happy when the gaffer named me in the starting XI. Hopefully I think I repaid him today, scored the goal and hopefully next week I can get another chance. We’ll have a good week in training and see what happens.
“Theirs was clearly outside the box. I think the lino pointed for a free kick and the referee has said no it was a penalty.”
On Westcarr’ selection, boss Murray smiled: “That was a great decision by the manager. I’d been waiting for the chance to play him.
“I had to make sure the time was right and we were not going to be too gung-ho. I felt today was a game Craig could affect and what a goal it was.”
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Matty Blair set to sign new contract with #stags. "It's virtually done" says Adam Murray.
Oxford United boss Michael Appleton relieved at point from Mansfield Town clash
chad.co.uk by John Lomas
Oxford United boss Michael Appleton was happy to see his side escape with a point in yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town after the Stags had grabbed an early lead and put them under the cosh.
“For 10 minutes we were rubbish but then after that we got back into it and settled down a little bit,” he said.
“We dealt with their direct play and got into positions earlier that made us favourites for the long balls up to the strikers a lot more. We started to improve and got into the game a bit more, which was encouraging.
“The message at half-time was to make sure we start right. We did that and in the second half we were good, very good at times.
“A couple of better decisions in the box and we could have won it.”
He added: I have forgotten the number of times Kemar (Roofe) drove into the box late in the game.
“A couple of ricochets might have gone our way and you never know, we might have won the game. It was one we certainly would have lost last season.
“I am disappointed not to have won it, but make no bones about it we were very lucky in the first 10 minutes.
“We should have been 2-0 down and possibly 3-0. The character we showed to come back from that I have got to be happy with.”
Oxford United boss unhappy with sloppy start in Mansfield draw
by David Pritchard, @oxfordmailoufc
MICHAEL Appleton admitted Oxford United rode their luck after a “rubbish” start, but was pleased with another gritty comeback to earn a 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town.
The visitors had chances to win the game following Kemar Roofe’s equaliser from the penalty spot as the Stags lost their discipline in the closing stages.
But United’s unbeaten run, now 13 games in all competitions, could easily have gone in a dreadful opening where they conceded to Craig Westcarr and Matt Green hit the bar from the penalty spot.
Green also went through one-on-one, before the U’s finally found their feet.
“I thought for ten minutes we were rubbish and then we got back into the game,” Appleton said.
“In the first ten minutes we were very lucky, let’s make no bones about it - we should’ve been 2-0 down and possibly 3-0.
“I suppose the character they showed to come back I’ve got to be happy with.”
The game turned on two penalties.
Green was given the chance after keeper Sam Slocombe hesitated and clumsily brought down Mitchell Rose.
An unimpressed boss said: “There’s no point me saying anything because it’s clear to see it’s just diabolical.”
Alex MacDonald, who took over from Danny Hylton as United’s penalty-taker at the start of the season, was substituted before Callum O’Dowda was spectacularly fouled by Reggie Lambe in the box, so Roofe stepped up.
And having scored, the forward will now take over the responsibility on penalties.
Appleton said: “Alex would’ve taken it, but Roofey is full of confidence.
“I think Roofey has got them now. He despatched it very easily.”
Mansfield manager Adam Murray rued his side's inability to cash in on their start, but had few complaints in the end.
The former United midfielder said: "It's a good point for us.
"I felt in the first 20 minutes we could've had two or three and put the game to bed, but then Oxford showed what a good side they are for large periods.
"I think it's a credit to what Michael is building, he's putting a really good team together.
"They are one of my favourites to go up so it will be interesting to see how it pans out."
Keeping our cool was key, says Danny Rose
by David Pritchard, @oxfordmailoufc
DANNY Rose praised Oxford United for keeping their discipline in a fractious finish to the 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town.
Referee Ben Toner gave out nine bookings, two-thirds of which went to the home side in a clash which grew increasingly fiery as the game wore on.
United had been warned before the game about the need to keep their cool against a Mansfield side who had seven players shown yellow cards in a 1-0 midweek defeat at Accrington Stanley.
Rose felt the visitors stood up to the challenge and did well to avoid collecting any suspensions.
He said: “I think that’s definitely within our make-up.
“If teams want to have a fight with us, then we’re more than capable of matching them that way.
“We know if we match them in those areas of the game then our quality will come through eventually.”
He added: “It can be difficult, but I think that’s something as a squad we’ve been good at over the past year.
“I think our discipline is up there with the best in the league.
“We’ve been rewarded by other teams losing theirs and more often than not a team has gone down to ten men and we’ve been able to take advantage.
“It’s important that we keep our discipline when it gets a bit heated like that.
“If you do something silly at the end of the day you’re letting the fans and the lads down because you’re getting dragged into something you shouldn’t be doing.”
Latest | August 2015