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Archived News from August 2018

26th August 2018 20:15

Stags' boss emphasises importance of clean sheets
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 18 August 2018

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft re-emphasised the need to keep a clean sheet, describing them as ‘the holy grail’, as his side had to settle for point in today’s 1-1 draw at home to Colchester.

Mansfield took the lead in the 81st minute through Craig Davies’ wonder strike after dominating large spells of the contest, but succumbed to a 95th minute equaliser by U’s midfielder Sammie Szmodics.

The manager says that the late goal has ‘floored’ him, and explained that it should have been an afternoon where his side took all three points.

“I’ve just watched the goal that’s ripped the heart out of us. It’s floored me,” he said. “Colchester have come here and shut up shop. It looks like it went straight in but I think Szmodics has got a touch.

“It doesn’t matter how much time has been put up, it’s not the referee’s fault. The way we’ve defended it isn’t good enough. We could’ve gone top of the league tonight if we get that last half a second right. That’s the fine margins between success and failure.


“I’ve just said to them [the players] that when I was a player I’d have done everything in my power not just to protect the clean sheet we had but to make sure that the goal from Craig Davies is the match-winning goal.

“I spent two minutes talking about an error that, if we get it right, and we make a better decision, we end up with a clean sheet which the boys should’ve earned and a wonder strike that should claim three points.

“We dominated every aspect of the game. I thought in the first-half we were a little bit slow in our play. We set out more of an aggressive strategy second-half.

“I’ve got some players who didn’t deserve to not be on the winning team today. I thought Ryan Sweeney was just on a different level. He was outstanding today.

“I’m bitterly disappointed for the supporters because we should be walking away with three points.

“I’ve told them after the game if five minutes or seven minutes goes up, we embrace it. You’re 1-0 up so you have something to protect. That’s the spirit that I want to try and grow and I’ll foster.

“I think maybe they got a little extra for Tyler Walker’s foul. It’s nothing to do with the referees. We’ve not won this game today because we’ve not defended our box properly.

“I keep saying to the team that we’ll be good in possession, we’ll move the ball around the pitch well. But clean sheets are the holy grail. Clean sheets are what you win titles with.

“Two weeks ago we really protected that clean sheet against Newport, but we’ve not done that today. We’ve not protected Craig Davies’ wonder goal that should’ve earned three points.”

The Stags’ boss went on to state his belief that his players put in a good ‘shift’ throughout the course of the match.

“Davo gave us presence up front. We were a little bit light. We just didn’t keep the ball well enough in the second-half. Davo gave us presence and then we got Danny [Rose] on who gave us more presence.

“We went for the game and put our three strikers on. We weren’t forceful enough in the first-half and we’ll work on that Monday. Shutting a game down and locking a game down is a key aspect of any outstanding team.

“[We have to] make sure that the press quality is high. When we get an opportunity to hurt a team, we have to take it. We have to be more precise.

“I don’t think the players can work any harder than what they’ve done. They put a right shift in and I’m sure the numbers will show it when we look back. If we get that lead we have to make sure we see the game out.

“We have to respect that going 1-0 up is absolutely king and you’ve got to protect that.”
Due to Matt Preston missing the game today through concussion, the manager took the time to provide the latest update on the defender’s situation.

“He [Preston] took a little turn on Thursday and had to go to A&E with the concussion that he got against Yeovil scoring the goal.

“He trained on Thursday and then we got a phone call at about 11 o’clock that he was at A&E. There’s an FA guideline and we’re working towards that now.

“[I was] gutted to not have Matty because he’s been a standout performer since he signed for the club. We’ll guide him back to fitness and make sure he has the support.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.


Mansfield Town ‘floored’ by Colchester United’s late equaliser, says David Flitcroft
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 18 August 2018

David Flitcroft said his players were ‘floored’ after conceding so late in this afternoon’s 1-1 home draw with Colchester United and missing out on ending the day top of the table.

A 95th minute long throw was touched home by Sammie Szmodics after Craig Davies had seemingly won it with his 81st minute blockbuster shot.

“It cut right through the heart when you look at our dominance in the game and the way Colchester sat off,” said Flitcroft.

“We patiently broke them down - too patiently in the first half.


“In the second half we forced issues and were more purposeful.

“I told them after the game whether it’s five or seven minutes that goes up at the end of a game - embrace that time. It is an opportunity to embrace. You’re 1-0 up and you have something to hang onto and protect.

“That’s the spirit I want to foster. But we let it slip.

“Locking a game down is a key aspect of any outstanding team.”

He continued: “Clean sheets are the holy grail and that’s what you win titles with. But today we have not protected Craig Davies’ wonder goal that should have earned three points.

“It was a moment that should have inspired the players to go on and win.

“You have to respect that going 1-0 up is absolutely king.

“We went for the jugular by putting our three strikers on - those three will cause problems for any team.

“But we haven’t defended out box well enough and a long throw has almost gone straight in. It’s cost us three well-earned points and we would have been top of the league.”

Stags now turn their attentions to Tranmere away on Tuesday and the manager said: “The players are floored at the moment, but maybe that’s not a bad thing as it makes sure they understand the importance of getting those moments right.

“Colchester are a good side. They have invested well in good players and will be up there.”


Preston set to miss out again as Mansfield Town head for Tranmere
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS

Mansfield Town centre half Matt Preston looks set to again miss out when Mansfield Town travel to newly promoted Tranmere Rovers tomorrow (Tuesday, 7.45pm). Preston suffered a midweek setback from the concussion suffered at Yeovil the weekend before when he clashed heads with skipper Krystian Pearce as he headed home a goal. Boss David Flitcroft said: “Matty just had a little turn. “After we had trained I got a phone call on Thursday night to say he’d gone to A&E with a reaction to the whack he got at the weekend when scoring the goal. Time for a home update? You’re in the right place to get your place right Sponsored by eBay “There is an FA guideline and we are working towards that. “I spoke to him on Friday night and he’s not really eaten anything. He couldn’t keep anything down. We we’ve not got to rebuild him, get hydration, nutrition and the right food into him so he is physically prepared to come back in. “He is gutted he couldn’t play against Colchester. He did everything he could but now just has to get himself right before he comes back in the building. “He has been our stand-out performer since he signed for the club, but we will guide him back to full health.” Stags dropped two late points with some sloppy stoppage time defending in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Colchester. But, apart from that lapse, Flitcroft said there was plenty to be happy with. “I want more of the same tonight,” he said. “We must make sure the press quality is high and when we get an opportunity to hurt a team we have to take that opportunity. “I don’t think the players can work any harder than they did on Saturday - they put in a right shift.” He added: “We will have a body count and make sure our recovery strategies are good. “The lads that didn’t play against Colchester are trying to catch up with their running distances to make they are ready for Tuesday. “We must make sure all the players, from a well being point of view, physically and mentally, know our next hurdle is Tranmere. “We have to pick the lads up and make sure they know why we haven’t won this game - not dwelling on it, just learning from it. Then we can kick on for Tuesday. “We don’t want to unravel the good work that was done on Saturday. We must make sure we show the players positives from the Colchester game. “We are not the finished article - nowhere near. The team is still developing.”

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/preston-set-to-miss-out-again-as-mansfield-town-head-for-tranmere-1-9310807


Striker left with mixed emotions after stalemate
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 18 August 2018

Striker Craig Davies was left with mixed emotions after his stunning strike was cancelled out by Sammie Szmodics' added-time equaliser, which ensured spoils were shared at One Call Stadium this afternoon.

The striker observed the majority of the game from the bench, but after entering the fray just shy of the hour mark, he made no mistake when giving his side the lead in the 81st minute.

However, it was bitter-sweet for the substitute as he watched the visiting side salvage a point with the last kick of the game.

“It’s nice to come on and get a goal but it feels a little bit like a kick in the teeth to concede in the fashion that we did late on,” said Davies.

“Especially after last week’s draw against Yeovil, I mean you only have to see what they did to Notts County last night, but today I felt we should have got all three points


“I felt like they weren’t causing us massive problems and even when I came on it still felt that way. So, to concede like that is disappointing but we go again on Tuesday night.”

Davies netted his second league goal of the season in stupendous fashion - and felt frustrated that it did not turn out to be the match-winning strike.

“I knew I caught it sweet so when it hit the net I was happy.

“I wanted to try and get a right-footed shot off but an extra touch killed the angle, then it got blocked and it fell nicely onto my left.

“From that point onwards I thought it was either going to hit the top corner or the Pizza Hut behind the stand - luckily it went in the top corner” he stated.

The striker then added that he believes Colchester are a dangerous side - citing that a point may be crucial down the line.

“They [Colchester] are a good team and they’ll be up there at the end of the season. They’ve got some good players so I think it could prove to be a valuable point, but I feel at the moment because of the fashion of their equaliser it’s a little disappointing.

“Everybody’s disappointed - even the supporters are going to be disappointed - because we should have seen the game out but we’ll learn from that and make sure it doesn’t happen again later on in the season.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Craig Davies' interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.


‘It was either to hit top corner or hit the Pizza Hut,’ reflects Craig Davies on Mansfield Town wonder strike
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 18 August 2018

Mansfield Town striker Craig Davies said Colchester United’s late equaliser in today’s 1-1 home draw was a real kick in the teeth for the Stags. Leading by his 81st minute blast after he had come on as a substitute, Stags looked home and dry until they failed to defend a stoppage time long throw.

“Obviously it’s nice to come on and get a goal, but it felt like a kick in the teeth to concede in the fashion we did so late on,” he said. “I think we did enough to win it today. I watched the first hour from the bench and they were not causing us many problems.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/it-was-either-to-hit-top-corner-or-hit-the-pizza-hut-reflects-craig-davies-on-mansfield-town-wonder-strike-1-9308494

“So to concede like that was disappointing, but we’ll go again on Tuesday night.”

Davies will not have scored many better goals in his career than the one which finally broke the deadlock, smashing home from 18 yards. He said: “I wanted to try to get a right foot shot off but I took an extra touch which killed the angle. “I hit the ball and thought this is either going to hit the top corner or hit the Pizza Hut behind - one of the two. “But I knew I had caught it sweet and was happy to see it hit the net.”

He added: “Colchester are a good team who will be up there at the end of the season, so it could prove to be a good point. “Everyone is disappointed, players and supporters, as we should have seen the game out. Now we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”


McGreal hails never-say-die attitude as the U's rescue a point at Mansfield
gazette-news.co.uk, By Matt Plummer @MattPlummer4

PROUD Colchester United boss John McGreal hailed the never-say-die attitude and work ethic of his players as they fought back to snatch a last-gasp leveller at Mansfield Town.

The U’s looked on course for an unfortunate defeat after Craig Davies’ spectacular strike for the Stags.

But Sammie Szmodics prodded home deep into stoppage time to keep the U’s unbeaten start going after three League Two matches.

McGreal had nothing but praise for the players and felt his side “nailed it” tactically.

“We never gave up,” said the U’s chief.

“We changed our personnel and shape again and I thought it was heading for a 0-0.


“We nullified what they were doing.

“I wouldn’t say I felt comfortable but certainly really assured.

“Their goal was the first shot they had and we were holding our own until the kid hit one from the edge of the box.

“Then, with just a few minutes left, you’re wondering if our boys are going to come back.

“But we showed great character, wanting to get forward and get balls into the box.

“I still felt we could get something from the game, which is why I changed the shape again.

“Tactically, we nailed it.

“I just felt we needed two up top.

“It might have looked a bit strange, bringing on a defender for a defender, but we changed our shape again and went 3-5-2.

“It gave us extra men in the attacking third and it meant we had bodies in the six-yard box when the throw came in (for the equaliser).”

McGreal admitted being delighted with his side’s unbeaten start to the campaign.

Saturday’s result followed an opening-day draw at much-fancied Notts County, followed by an eye-catching 2-0 victory against Port Vale at the JobServe Community Stadium.

“Mansfield are a big team in our division and they put Accrington to the sword on Tuesday night,” said the U’s boss.

“The big help they had was their crowd, who really got behind them.

“We knew they were going to come out sharp but I felt we suffocated them a bit.

“It was a sweet moment to score so late, especially as they’d scored eight or nine minutes from time.

“To put in that defensive performance, keep our shape and show that kind of work ethic was superb.

“We did the basics well which was our message from the start and a few of our boys ran themselves into the ground.

“We were actually debating taking Sammie off, because he looked so tired.

“But he can score goals out of nothing and there he is, right on time, to tap the ball over the line.”


John McGreal reflects on ‘good point’ for his Colchester United side at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 18 August 2018

Colchester United boss John McGreal admitted their late equaliser in this afternoon’s 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town was a big point against a side expected to be among their promotion rivals. Samie Szmodics’ stoppage time equaliser wiped out what had looked to be a home winner by Craig Davies on 81 minutes and McGreal said: “We all thought it was going to end up as a 0-0. But we’ll take a 1-1. “It would have been hard on us to lose after the way we had defended. “This was a very good point as Mansfield are one of the big clubs of this division. “We knew they had scored six goals on Tuesday night and would come out fast, but I think we smothered them well. “We thought about taking Sammie off as he looked tired, but he can get you a goal out of nothing so we decided to keep him on.” He added: “We feel we have a good team and we have had a good start. This was another tough game away from home ticked off and a good away point. “It was good to play in front of what is a noisy crowd and keep them quiet. The keep the Mansfield faithful quiet you must be doing something right. “It was brilliant for the away fans to score so late at that end.”

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/john-mcgreal-reflects-on-good-point-for-his-colchester-united-side-at-mansfield-town-1-9308447


‘I’ve never scored so late in a match’ - U’s poacher Szmodics after 1-1 draw at Mansfield
greenun24.co.uk, 18 August 2018, by Carl Marston

Colchester United attacker Sammie Szmodics was on cloud nine after earning the U’s a last gasp point thanks to a real goal poacher’s effort, in the fifth minute of stoppage time in a 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town this afternoon.

Livewire Szmodics made the most of a mistake by Stags keeper Conrad Logan, who failed to gather a long throw by Ryan Jackson delivered into the danger zone.

The U’s 22-year-old, the club’s leading scorer last season with 13 goals, poked home the loose ball from point blank range to rescue a point for John McGreal’s men, after they had fallen behind to Craig Davies’ wonder strike on 81 minutes.

“I don’t think I’ve ever scored a goal so late in a match,” enthused Szmodics.

“Their keeper (Logan) missed it. I was right behind him, from Jacko’s throw, and it looked as though the keeper was going to catch it. He’s a big lad, but he flapped at it and I managed to put it away.

“They all count. Their geezer (Davies) scored with a sweet left-footer, but at the end of the day a goal is a goal.

“He scored one, and I scored one. He earned a point for his team, and so did I.

“We came into this game with a different game-plan, because a lot of sides will come here and lose. We weathered the storm and put in a massive performance, defensively.

“We have looked so strong at the back already this season, and we are always likely to score goals at the other end.

“Bring on the rest of the season, that’s what I say!

“I want to keep scoring, and keep finding the net,” added Szmodics.



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