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Archived News from November 2016

3rd November 2016 20:37

Murray reflects on Stevenage loss
mansfieldtown.net, 29th October 2016

Stags’ boss Adam Murray gave his reaction to the media after this afternoon's 2-1 loss against Stevenage.

The Boro took the lead thanks to Charlie Lee’s first half header before Stags’ striker Pat Hoban equalised early in the second half. With Stags on the front foot, Stevenage countered and Aston Villa loanee Harry McKirdy scored the winner for the visitors just three minutes after Stags got back on level terms.

And Murray has said he wants leaders to emerge from his squad in order to change the course of a game.

“We miss leaders at the minute. We miss people taking charge on the pitch. We have plan A, plan B, plan C and I look at it sometimes and go ‘what have you done all week? Have any of you listened to me?’ and it’s tough to take,” Murray said.

“You actually look at the list of the squad and there’s some household names on it - they’ve got to step up. We’ve got people in there that I expect to lead on the pitch.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/murray-calls-for-leaders-after-stevenage-loss-3389749.aspx#X8PkwzXvYAjaUwOY.99

“When I was captain, the game would go in a different flow to what was expected and as a player you’ve got to grab that and you might have to change the flow on your own as footballers and we didn’t do that today.”

The boss believes Stevenage executed a game plan at One Call Stadium which involved catching the Stags on the counter attack.

“We came up against a team that sat in and wanted to catch us on counter attack and [they] did just that. I think we showed the vulnerability and the naivety that’s in the squad at the minute.

“We didn’t have enough quality in the first half, you expect your big players to turn up and then [in the] second half we get ourselves back in to the game, start well and the goal’s horrendous.

“They 'ran' the game, didn’t they? Every time the ball went out of play it was three minutes, they had tactical stoppages when they had people going down when there was nothing wrong with them.”

The Stags' chief says he was disappointed with the goals his side conceded against the Boro after priding themselves on such a solid defensive record so far this season.

“We looked wide open as well and that’s not what we’re about. We had the second best defensive record for a reason and it’s not to be put out there and be wide open like we were today.

“It’s something that we take for granted. We don’t concede goals from set plays so for us, that is very disappointing because we don’t do that.

“The second goal’s just a calamity. We’ve got all our bodies in the box and we’re trying to play little flicks and square passes in the middle of the park when we’ve got one man back.”

Supporters can view Adam Murray’s post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD.


Emotional Murray contemplates future as Stags boss after abuse
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Saturday 29 October 2016

A clearly emotional Adam Murray hinted he was considering his future as manager of Mansfield Town after abuse directed at him by fans following today’s disappointing 2-1 home loss to struggling Stevenage.

Murray, a legend as a player at the club, said he was starting to wonder if he was fighting a battle that couldn’t be won and, after all he had done with the club, was not prepared to take personal abuse.

The match was won by a wonder goal from teenage Aston Villa loanee striker Harry McKirdy on his full debut, racing clear from his own half.

But Stags were poor and not enough of the players lived up to their potential in a dour game.

They were booed from the pitch and Murray suffered some abuse through the fence as he walked to the tunnel which has clearly forced him to ponder his future.

“I am used to it and I understand people’s frustrations,” he said.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/emotional-murray-contemplates-future-as-stags-boss-after-abuse-1-8208448?

“If you’re not happy with the team and my decisions as manager that’s fine, I am okay with that, it’s the game.

“But I have put too much in for people to come at me personally. You wouldn’t talk to me like that in the street sop don’t be brave enough to do it over a fence.

“That’s something I need to decide on. I have put a lot into this club and I won’t sacrifice everything again to be personally targeted.

“Sometimes you have to look - are battles winnable? In the distance can the battle be won? I’ve been here a long time and I have said it before with managers I’ve played under. Sometimes you have to understand if you can win the battles.”

He continued: “I have never walked away from anything in my life. It’s not me. Every battle I’ve had in my life - and I’ve had a lot in football and personal - I have always known at some point I’d win it whether it took me four years, six months or two days. I always knee there was a chance of winning it.

“But if I don’t have an army behind me I am not going to fight my own army.

“I am going to have a pizza with my wife tonight and see the kids, I’ve not seen them all week again.

“Speaking to their manager he said you’ve created your own problems here with the way you were last season.

“You put the expectation on your own head now. The club was going down before I took over. I was in the team so I knew how bad it was.

“If I don’t feel I can take it to the next step I am not one of those guys who will stand around and just pick a wage up. I’d rather go and work as a plumber or something. I am about success and the ability to win fights.

“If I feel it’s unwinnable, I am not going to stay around for the crack. It’s not worth the unhappiness that seems to follow.”

On the game itself, he continued: “It was a pure Halloween day today - evil everywhere

“We got played massively today. We spoke about it before the game. We came up against a team that sat in and wanted to catch us on the counter-attack and did just that.

“We showed our vulnerability and the naivety that’s in the squad at the minute.

“We didn’t have enough quality in the first half. You expect your big players to turn up.

“In the second half we get back in the game, started well. But then their second goal was horrendous and it will keep us in mid-table if it’s not corrected.

“The whole game was flat for me. But that’s when we need people to get the tempo going.”

Stevenage won few friends with their spoiling tactics and Murray said: “Don’t get me wrong they were fantastic and ran the game.

“Every time the ball went out it was three minutes and they had tactical stoppages with people going down when there is nothing wrong with them.

“Then the ref decides to book one after 70 minutes when they’ve been doing it since the first five minutes.

“We looked wide open as well and that’s not what we are about. We had the second best defensive record for a reason.

“We don’t concede goals from set plays so that was very disappointing.

“Then the second goal was a calamity. We have all bodies in their box and were are trying to play little square pass with one man back.

“I said at half-time we are going to score and when we do you’ve got to grab hold of the game.

“But that next five minutes after we scored you can’t give people chances like that. It was an horrendous naivety. We miss leaders at the minute. We miss people taking charge on the pitch.”

Murray was furious with his players, sending them back out early at half-time and then having a lengthy lock-in afterwards.

“I give my life and soul to this,” he said. “We have plan A, B and C and I look at it sometimes and go what have you done all week? Have any of you listened to me?

“I have given my life and soul physically and mentally to this club so I am not going to be personally abused for that.

“We have household names in my squad and they have to step up.”


Mansfield manager Adam Murray has been under pressure in recent weeks, with his side on a four-match winless run in League Two.

The former Stags midfielder was booed by his own supporters during today's home defeat by Stevenage, and the 35-year-old suggested he was considering walking away from the club.

"I've put too much into this club to take personal abuse. I've given my heart and soul to this club, run though brick walls on and off the pitch as a manager as player," he said.

"You feel like you are fighting your own army. I'm not someone who will stay around to pick a cheque up, that's not me."

When asked by BBC Radio Nottingham if he would consider his future at the club, Murray joked: "I'm going to eat pizza and when I eat pizza anything could happen."


stevenagefc.com, 29th October 2016, by Dave Toyn

Reflecting on his side’s 2-1 win at Mansfield this afternoon, Darren Sarll said his side really dug in for the three points

“In terms of it being a spectacle I’m just pleased it’s over as I thought it was a horrendous game to watch from my perspective. I think the squad have faced questions and criticism about whether they could not only play - they’re all good footballers - but whether they really had the grit of Stevenage teams of old. Anyone here today will see what we have done in terms of backs to the wall, dying for each other and they’ll know the answer to that question.

Today’s victory made it two consecutive away wins and whilst cautious about saying his side had turned a corner, Darren expressed his pleasure with the recent performances.

“From a manager’s perspective I don’t think you ever turn a corner. I think the demand to win games is relentless and ever-present in my mind. Two wins in three is a good return. You can go to Morecambe and play your football and we won really quite well. Last Saturday was a really good performance without really taking any points or any luck - decisions definitely didn’t swing our way there. And then we’ve come here today and almost put the ball away a little bit, by being organised, solid and resilient, especially with young players.”

Turning his attention to his two goalscorers, Charlie Lee and Harry McKirdy, Darren told us, “Charlie’s capable every week of doing that due to his prowess in those situations, but it was pleasing for everyone to see what little Harry McKirdy can do. He’s always got that moment of individual quality. It was a lovely ball by Kennedy and they’re such a mischievous pair. Kennedy makes the first goal for the free-kick and McKirdy obviously scores in the second half.

“We needed a moment of real individual quality at that stage of the game. They’d just got back to 1-1 and we saw Harry reel away. It was just disappointing we had so much time left on the clock after that! It was a terrific finish. The temperament of the lad to go through on his first start and finish like that was top drawer. He’s going to be a good player.

Read more at http://www.stevenagefc.com/news/article/2016-17/reaction-3388309.aspx#R8gIaVWWwKrTdAwH.99

"I was really pleased and it’s been a good day."

For the full post-match interview with Darren, sign up / in to Boro Player HD today: http://www.player.stevenagefc.com


Stevenage boss loves it when a plan comes together
thecomet.net, 29 October 2016, by Damion Roberts

Harry McKirdy will remember his first league start ‘for the rest of his life’ says Stevenage boss Darren Sarll after the Aston Villa loanee scored the winner against Mansfield Town.

The 19-year-old forward, who is on loan until January, netted in a 2-1 win at the One Call Stadium yesterday in what was his first start in professional football.

With Pat Hoban cancelling out Charlie Lee’s first-half header from a free-kick, McKirdy ran on to a Ben Kennedy flick before darting 50 yards across the pitch and dinking his finish over Mansfield keeper Scott Shearer.

It was an encouraging victory for a Stevenage side whose front line consisted of two 19-year-olds, and afterwards Sarll said how he’d worked on that exact movement in training in the week leading up to the game with the coaching team’s tactical astuteness paying off.

“It was very nice to see that moment of real brilliance from McKirdy,” Sarll said.


“I thought tactically at that moment it was the best we’d been in the game. McKirdy and Kennedy took up positions we’d worked on on the training pitch. They got away from each other and then Ben helped it on to him and Harry scored the goal.

“It was a nice moment for a coach when you see a plan come to fruition, but he has to run from the halfway line and then have the presence of mind with what looked like a monster [of a defender] running at him to just use his weaker foot and shape the ball into the corner.

“That was a mark of the young man’s temperament. But let’s not get too silly with Harry. He’s had a magnificent [first start] and he’s got a [full] debut he’ll remember for the rest of his life.

“Hopefully he can add to that tally and those types of moments with us from now until January.”

Sarll revealed that Kennedy, just two months older than McKirdy but already with 40+ games under his belt, was asked to keep an eye out for his strike partner while the Boro boss added that a quick and energetic duo such as these two would have been hard for Mansfield’s defenders to deal with.

“When I played it wasn’t the [Darius] Hendersons, the [Pat] Hobans of this world who really scared me, it was the little quick things who never left you alone and who were always on your shoulder waiting for a mistake,” Sarll said.

“Ben and Harry have got that. But I thought we actually started energy-less in the first half and I was quite agitated the way we started the game, but they’ve got a moment in them. Both of them.

“Ben has made both goals, including [being fouled for] the free-kick. I said to Ben today ‘remember the influence [Chris] Beardsley had on you when you came into the side? I need you to be Beardsley today for Harry so he understands [what to expect]’. So I’m very pleased.”


stevenagefc.com, 29th October 2016, by Dave Toyn

Harry McKirdy marked his first start in professional football with the winning goal in Stevenage’s 2-1 win at Mansfield Town on Saturday.

After four sub appearances for Boro in the past month - which included an equaliser against Brighton in the Checkatrade Trophy - Harry was handed his first start in any game since last Christmas and came up trumps with an excellent strike at the One Call Stadium.

He told us, “It’s a great day. The lads have been playing well and we just needed that turning point. It’s been disappointing at home over the last couple of weeks where we haven’t managed to win. In the first half today we didn’t play that well but we ground out a win and that’s what we need to do to get up the table.”

“We’ve been playing well recently but not been going ahead. So to get the start and get the goal today gave us confidence. We said at half-time let’s go and win this game. They equalised but then we showed the fight and the togetherness to get the win and hold on. You can see what it means to the players, the gaffer and the fans to win.”

Read more at http://www.stevenagefc.com/news/article/2016-17/harry-mckirdy-the-goal-looked-miles-away-3391041.aspx#wDH5m1aCeH4b5O40.99

Harry’s goal came when Ben Kennedy flicked the ball into his path and the Aston Villa loanee sprinted the length of the Mansfield half before dinking the ball over Scott Shearer and into the back of the net.

Talking us through the goal, he said, “The goal looked miles away! It felt like an 800 metre run but I kept running, waited for the ‘keeper to go down and then lifted it over him. I could hear the covering defender, I could feel him on me but the ‘keeper went down at the right time.”

It could have been more for Harry when he went close to converting a Kennedy cross 10 minutes later in the half, but instead he was cautioned for handball. Explaining that one, he said, “I got a little shove in the back. The cross was straight on my head, but I got a shove and then I heard the whistle so I thought we had a penalty, only to be booked!”

With two goals in five games Harry has certainly caught the eye in this his first loan spell in professional football, but he remains focused to continue improving.

“I’ve just got to keep taking it game by game. We’ve got another game at Port Vale in the FA Cup next Saturday and hopefully we can carry on our form, get some more goals and keep winning.

“I’m loving it here. It’s the first time I’ve been involved in first-team league football. There’s a good set of lads here and everyone’s been really good to me.”



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