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FLITCROFT, MELLIS, PEARCE, DANNY COWLEY REACTION
29th November 2018 0:41


Boss proud as Stags fight for late point
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 24 November 2018

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft was beaming with pride after seeing his players fight back to rescue a point late on against Lincoln City at Sincil Bank.

Midfielder Jacob Mellis’ stoppage time volley cancelled out Kellan Gordon’s opener to stretch Stags’ unbeaten away record to 13 games in Sky Bet League Two.

After the game, the Mansfield manager shared his delight at the fight his players showed.

“I don’t think we can underestimate what the players have put themselves through today,” he said. “It’s really important that at a tough place like Lincoln, we had to come here and defend that [away unbeaten] record with everything we’ve got.

“We struggled to move the ball today but Lincoln make it frantic. When they put players on like [Matt] Rhead and [Matt] Green, you know they are going to change the game.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/november/gaffer-post-lincoln/

“The desire not to get beat, and for Mellis to get there at the end, it was quality and the finish was great.

“Even though we weren’t at our best, we have come out of the game with the dressing room absolutely delighted with it.”

The Stags’ boss emphasised the importance of his players fighting until the death in what has been a hectic schedule of late.

“I have Sweeney here who has tonsillitis and was sick at half-time, I had Hayden White pull up before the game, we had CJ [Hamilton] also struggling with tonsillitis.

“That’s eight weeks now that we’ve played Saturday-Tuesday. It’s been a tough shift for the boys. Lincoln have had the time to freshen up and it showed. They got a foothold in the game in the second half.

“I am absolutely proud of this team and what they have achieved. [To come back] from being behind so late on, tells you what this team is fighting for.

“At Charlton when we were 2-0 down we kept fighting, but at 3-0 I don’t think we did, and that wasn’t me. Even at 3-0 you’re never out of the game.

“I spoke to my players about that, about how we fight until the last breath. We keep going, and at 1-0 down, you always have that threat.

“Bish [Bishop] has scored a couple of those late goals, but you wanted Mellis on it. Fair play to him that he’s fighting for these boys.

“We didn’t see games out too well in that period [earlier this season]. The more we have played, it’s given us more experience to manage games better.

“The squad are absolutely locked in together. That’s taken a lot of rebuilding over the last six months.

“They were out on their feet and fighting, and that’s the message from me today. I’m proud of them.

“It [late equaliser] meant everything. When you come here, this team that has been built here at Lincoln, they have great momentum.

“It was a great atmosphere. You felt the power of that when they scored. It doesn’t make you feel good, it made me sick to the core.

“It did mean a lot [when we scored]. There’s almost a smugness at times around here. I’m delighted for the team and the supporters, our chairman, Carolyn and the directors.”

The manager also looked ahead to Tuesday night’s contest, a visit from Crawley Town to One Call Stadium in Sky Bet League Two.

“We’ll get back tonight and we’ll hopefully have Whitey [on Tuesday]. We may have to freshen things up, see how CJ is. It gives him and Ryan Sweeney three days to recover.

“It did feel like a victory, but it is only one point on our journey. What it means is that unbreakable spirit. We have to honour the run we are on and protect it.”

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

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Mansfield Town boss proud as Stags overcome illness and injury to snatch late point in derby
chad.co.uk

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft paid tribute to the spirit of his side, who overcame sickness and injuries to snatch a last gasp 1-1 draw in today’s derby at Lincoln City. With two of the side playing on with tonsillitis, one just back from illness, others carrying knocks and another injured in the warm-up, Stags were up against it from the off. So when they conceded near the end, it seemed Lincoln had won the points.

But Stags refused to give up and Jacob Mellis netted a late equaliser to extend the club record unbeaten away league run to 13 games. “I don’t think we can under-estimate what the players have put themselves through today. They’ve put their bodies on the line,” said Flitcroft. “That dressing room is absolutely delighted with each other and they can be proud of themselves.

“I’ve got Ryan Sweeney in there with tonsillitis. He was sick at half-time. “Before the game Hayden White’s hamstring tightened up and Will Atkinson had to come in. “CJ Hamilton was also struggling with tonsillitis before the game. He was a doubt and you could see he was off colour today.

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-boss-proud-as-stags-overcome-illness-and-injury-to-snatch-late-point-in-derby-1-9460429

“That’s eight weeks of Saturday/Tuesday games. They have had a tough shift as a group of players and I think today it showed. “Lincoln have had a bit of time off and freshened up at the right time.”

He added: “I felt sick to the core when Lincoln scored. “So to get that draw from being a goal down so late on shows you what this team is fighting for. It meant everything. “They were out on their feet but they just kept on fighting.

“I am proud of that. It almost feels like a victory. It’s only a point but it does give us that unbreakable spirit.”

Flitcroft was delighted to see the unbeaten away run continue - Stags have not lost away in League Two all season with December approaching. “They have shown that togetherness and that spirit - that’s 13 games unbeaten now which is phenomenal,” he said. “I said before the game it was important at such a tough place like Lincoln to defend that record with everything you’ve got.

“We weren’t at our best today. We struggled to move the ball and get our tempo. “Lincoln make it frantic and frenetic with balls in the air. Then when they add the firepower they’ve got by putting Rhead and Green on, who are top players on this level, you know they will have an effect on the game - and they did.

“But, with the braveness of our squad, they want to keep going.”

On the late Mellis equaliser, he said: “I am not too sure three or four months ago if Mells would have got there from a fitness point of view and a ‘wantability’ to get there. “But he showed his desire today to not get beaten. We know he has the quality and his finish was absolutely brilliant - real class.

“They were two good finishes today. In those moments, when it’s high octane, the atmosphere here was brilliant. “Our supporters played a big part today - they almost dragged the ball into the goal.”

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Roll call as Mansfield Town hope for better news on players’ fitness
chad.co.uk

Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft will take a roll call of his walking wounded before tomorrow night’s visit of Crawley Town (7.45pm). As they prepare for an eighth and final game of a crazy November, it’s no surprise it’s taken its strain on the club, though they are 12 League Two games unbeaten and only out of the top three on goal difference. On Saturday they had three key stars playing on with illness - Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton and Matt Preston - Neal Bishop just back in the side from illness, Jacob Mellis at 60 per cent fitness with a strain and Hayden White forced to pull out in the pre-match warm-up after his hamstring tightened. Mansfield will give them all as long as they can to report fit for duty tomorrow.

“We will hopefully have Whitey if he can come through his niggle,” said Flitcroft. “We might have to freshen things up. But players like CJ and Ryan Sweeney will have had three days to recover. “We have an unbreakable spirit right now and we should honour the run we are on and protect it. “I am sure this group of players that we are trying to teach to do that day in day out will give every effort to do that on Tuesday.”

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/roll-call-as-mansfield-town-hope-for-better-news-on-players-fitness-1-9462972

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Late leveller shows Stags’ fight - Mellis
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 24 November 2018

Midfielder Jacob Mellis believes his late equaliser against Lincoln City epitomised the squad’s fighting spirit despite not being at their best on the day.

Mellis was the Stags’ hero at Sincil Bank as the amber and blue came from behind to snatch a point at the death.

A 93rd minute volley sent the away fans behind the goal into complete elation, thus protecting their unbeaten run which stretches all the way back to when they faced Exeter City in September.

After Kellan Gordon had initially put the Imps in the driving seat with his goal on 85 minutes, Mellis levelled up proceedings - and he believes it shows the squad’s fighting spirit to continue their impressive unbeaten league run.

“The gaffer always says: ‘when you’re not at your best you don’t lose the game’,” he revealed.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/november/mellis-post-lincoln/

“And we ground it out to keep that unbeaten run going. It’s massive and the gaffer makes no mistake about telling us. We want to keep it going because we’re on a great run.

“There’s a few niggles and illnesses in the camp - I had a bad hamstring and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play.

“The team spirit we have right now, everyone gets around each other and wants to play so that’s a good thing.”

The 27-year-old then touched upon his own personal performance, after completing the 90 minutes at less than full fitness.

“I’d say I was at 60 percent today and some of my passes weren’t quite there.

“I had a little hamstring injury but I just want to get out there for the boys and today it’s paid off. Not with the passing though, only with the goal,” he said jokingly.

“I have to [score more]. Last time I scored was against MK Dons. I have to create goals and score goals to earn my place in the team, as well as to take the weight off the strikers’ shoulders.”

The Englishman also talked through his emotions as he reflected upon netting the game’s equaliser in the dying embers.

“It just dropped to me and I put it in so I’m glad we’re still on [the unbeaten run].

“I had a previous shot about ten minutes before and I put it in the stands so I had to make sure I kept concentration to put it in the bottom corner.

“I was buzzing because the fans travelled in numbers today and gave great support. I don’t think we deserved to lose the game so I’m buzzing for them.

“This is a good point for us today but Tuesday’s another game and we want to get three."

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

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Mansfield Town goal hero Mellis soldiered on with hamstring injury
chad.co.uk

Mansfield Town’s late goal hero Jacob Mellis revealed after today’s thrilling 1-1 derby draw at Lincoln City that he was carrying a hamstring injury. The midfield ace was one of several Stags players who soldiered on with illness and injuries to secure the precious point, thanks to his stoppage time leveller.

“We have a few illnesses in the camp and a few niggles,” he said. “I had a bad hamstring and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play. “I was probably only about 60 per cent today. But I just wanted to get out there for the boys. Luckily it paid off with the goal, though not the passing!

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-goal-hero-mellis-soldiered-on-with-hamstring-injury-1-9460553

“With the team spirit we have now, everyone just wants to play and that’s a good thing.”

Mellis was delighted with his late equaliser, which came soon after Lincoln had notched what they thought was the winner. “I am buzzing,” he smiled. “I don’t think we really deserved to be behind. It dropped to me and I put it in. “I had a chance about 10 minutes before and I put it in the stand, so I had to make sure to keep my concentration and put it in the bottom corner. “

The fans travelled in their numbers today and it was great support, so I am buzzing for them.”

That is now 13 successive away league games unbeaten for the Stags and Mellis said: “We are on this unbeaten run away from home and I am glad we’re still on it. “As the gaffer says, when you’re not at your best, you don’t lose the game. “We weren’t at our best today, but we ground it out and we’re still on the unbeaten away run. We just want to keep that going and today was a good point for us.”

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Skipper ‘buzzing’ after point in ‘biggest game so far’
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 24 November 2018

Stags’ skipper Krystian Pearce hailed his side’s 1-1 draw with Lincoln City as a result to keep them in the mix in Sky Bet League Two.

With Mansfield Town currently sat in fourth place after the latest round of fixtures, there are just two points that separate third to tenth.

This subsequently makes Jacob Mellis’ late equaliser seem all the more important as they kept up their superb unbeaten run with a pulsating draw at Sincil Bank.

And Pearce reckons that every point is important - eluding to the fact that it also came in what was Mansfield’s biggest game so far this season.

“Everyone’s buzzing,” he exclaimed. “Getting a last minute equaliser is always a big thing in a local derby like this, in the biggest game of the season; it was a good feeling.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2018/november/pearce-post-lincoln/

“To get a point away from home against Lincoln is a good point for us. It stops them getting a gap on us and keeps us in the mix.

“When it’s only a one goal difference there’s always a chance so we kept going to the end.”

Pearce himself left Lincoln having put in, as he so often does, a solid shift at the heart of the back line, yet deflected praise onto his teammates either side of him.

“I was pleased with my performance but Sweeney and Preston were man mountains beside me,” he recognised.

“They’ve both been under the weather so to put in the performance they did today I have to give them a little shout out, too.

“We put in a good performance and as a team we showed our character as we’ve done in many games this season.”

The 28-year-old then commented on the threat of Lincoln’s strike force, as well as how he and his side dealt with it accordingly.

“They can cause problems but I felt the defence dealt with them well.

“It’s different kinds of opponents so you try to nullify their strengths and play to your own instead.

“The back three has done us well so far. Our goals conceded tally and the amount of clean sheets we have shows that - but it’s not just been that we’ve been defending as a unit.

“All the boys are buzzing after this so we’re looking forward to Tuesday.”

To watch Krystian's interview in full, log in to mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.

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Pearce delighted as Stags snatch late point
chad.co.uk

Inspirational skipper Krystian Pearce was delighted with Mansfield Town’s late 1-1 draw at title-chasing local rivals Lincoln City today. Amid an electric atmosphere, Lincoln took a late lead before Jacob Mellis hit back in added time to make it a cub record 13 away league games unbeaten for the Stags. Pearce, alongside Ryan Sweeney and Matt Preston, were immense as a back three and Pearce said: “We put in a good performance and, as a team, we showed our character as we have done in many games this season.

“We have always been difficult to beat and we have gone another away game unbeaten today, so we were delighted to get that last minute equaliser.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/pearce-delighted-as-stags-snatch-late-point-1-9460517

“Everyone is buzzing. Scoring in the last minute in any game is a big thing, but to get it in a local derby - the biggest game of the season - was a good feeling.

“It is a good point as it stops them opening a gap on us and keeps us in the mix. “When it’s only a one goal difference you know there is always a chance and we kept on going until the end.” He added: “I was pleased with my performance and the guys around me as well. They were man-mountains beside me.

“They have both been under the weather, so to put in a performance like that, I have to give them a little shout-out too. “This back three has done us well so far - our goals conceded tally shows that as well as the amount of clean sheets we’ve got.

“But it’s not just been us three - it’s been the whole team collectively. We’ve defended well as a unit. “Every point on the board is massive, but we do want more wins - and back-to-back wins - to go on a run.”

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twitter

@NealBish
Sickness, Illness and injuries all over the place this week but the boys dug deep today!! Thanks for the brilliant support

Otis Khan @OtisKhan63
A great point away from home!! Buzzing to be back from injury amazing support from the fans today, something else...

Ryan Sweeney @RyanSweeney97_
Traveling support today was incredible

John Radford @JRadfordMTFC
Ryan Sweeney, sick at half time... others far from 100% but battling on for our club... we’re showing real character and commitment, led by our manager.

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Frustrated Danny Cowley left 'hurt' by Mansfield Town's last-gasp equaliser
The Imps boss insisted the ball went out of play in the build-up to the goal

By Mark Whiley
https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/frustrated-danny-cowley-left-hurt-2255804

Danny Cowley admitted the manner of Mansfield Town’s last-gasp equaliser “hurt” after Lincoln City were forced to settle for a point against their promotion rivals.

An absorbing contest looked to be heading the Imps’ way when substitute Kellan Gordon fired home his second goal for the club in the 86th minute.

But the Stags levelled in the third minute of added time through Jacob Mellis’s classy volley.

“We’re not used to conceding late goals so when you do, it hurts,” said Cowley.

“We’ve scored a lot of late goals, either to win or to earn us a point, so we’re disappointed with how it ended, but pleased with a lot aspects of the game.

“We started the game really well and got on the front foot. To be fair to Mansfield, they’re a good team and they came back into in it in the second part of the first half.

“In the second half, I thought we were really in the ascendancy. We played with more intensity and purpose and got really good foothold in the game.

“It was disappointing that they scored with their only shot on target in the second half.

“But we have suck in the disappointment and use it drive us.”

Cowley felt the ball had gone out of play in the build-up to Town’s dramatic leveller, but refused to be too critical of the officials.

“We’ve watched the video and it clearly goes off for a throw,” added the Imps boss.

“It’s hard for the linesman because it was right on top of him. I know it sounds crazy but sometimes the closer it is, the harder it is to tell.

“I would have liked the fourth official to have played his part then and assisted the assistant referee.

“But it didn’t happen and credit to Jacob Mellis because it was a really controlled finish from the edge of the area.”

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Danny Cowley bittersweet over Mansfield point
by Charlie Russell @elwriteback
https://www.redimps.co.uk/news/2018/november/181124-cowley-stags/

City boss Danny Cowley expressed his disappointment in conceding a late goal before going on to praise a number of his players following the 1-1 draw at Sincil Bank on Saturday afternoon in front of a sell-out Sincil Bank.

Lincoln City returned to the top of the SkyBet League Two table ahead of the league’s 3pm kick-offs with a 1-1 draw against David Flitcroft’s Mansfield Town.

The Imps had taken the lead through substitute Kellan Gordon’s 85th minute strike. However, former England Under 19 midfielder Jacob Mellis scored an injury time equaliser for the Stags.

“We are just disappointed to have conceded late on in the game because it hurts. We have been on the other side where we have scored late goals and it is a great feeling but today we’ve got to suck it up," Cowley said.

“It was a really good game with two great teams, there was very little in it and I thought we probably just about deserved it especially in the second half. We had more in the second half in terms of territory and chances on goal, but we have to lick our wounds and go again.

“Bruno [Andrade] worked really hard, I thought there was some good performances from Josh Vickers, Bozzy [Michael Bostwick] and Shacks [Jason Shackell]. The three of them were excellent.

“There was a super save from Josh, he is so good at using the depth of his line and he makes those saves which have almost gone behind him, so it was a really good save but we are disappointed that once we took the lead we didn’t see it out.

“Eards [Neil Eardley] coming back for his first game was reliable as ever, Petty [Tom Pett] and Michael O’Connor I thought all put in a good performance. Then all three of the subs came on and I thought they had the impact which we wanted from them. I thought they were all really good but I am disappointed with their goal.”

Cowley went on to discuss both sides explaining how he felt his side didn’t test their opponents as much as he’d like in the first half: “It was an even game, I thought we started the game better but they came into it and finished the first half the better side.

“There was very little in it in the first half and we didn’t quite test them as physically and as mentally as we wanted to because we really wanted to crank it up. We did much better in the second half because I thought we had a real ascendancy.

“We were one up deep into injury time and we feel like it is two points lost definitely, but they are a good team and you just have to look at their bench to see the strength and power they have got in their squad.”

Cowley finished by going into depth on Lee Frecklington’s injury. The Imps boss is hoping the midfielder will return to action in the near future: “Frecks [Lee Frecklington] is still struggling with his bone bruising, he had the big collision in the Port Vale game. The human body is a very clever machine because the hamstring was protecting the bone bruising in the early phase.

“We have done a lot of work to try and lengthen hamstrings and look after them. When the hamstring is guarding, it is liable to straining and tearing so we have done a lot of work to try and loosen the hamstring.

“Now there is no protection in the knee and if he doesn’t catch the ball right he feels a grinding of the two bones which causes a lot of pain. He had an injection early in the week which will hopefully resolve it and he’s not too far away. We just felt the best decision was to take the long-term view going forward.”

City are back in action on Tuesday night, with a trip to Oldham, and over 400 tickets have already been sold for the trip.

---------------------------------------

Meanwhile, two days later on TalkSport, 26 Nov 2018, 3pm:

... So this just happened on TalkSport. Thank you to someone on Stagsnet for pointing it out to me!

https://stagsnet.net/interviews/LincolnA_TalkSport_26Nov18.mp3

Martin

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A heavyweight contest and Flitcroft's latest swipe - talking points from Lincoln City 1-1 Mansfield Town
Why it could still be a good point for the Imps

https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/sport/sport-opinion/heavyweight-contest-flitcrofts-latest-swipe-2256119
By Mark Whiley

Lincoln City were forced to settle for a point after Mansfield Town’s late equaliser. Imps reporter Mark Whiley picks out some talking points from the game.

A heavyweight contest
While the match wasn’t a thrill a minute, it was tense, absorbing and you couldn’t take your eyes off it.

The first half was fairly even, but the Imps controlled the second half and really took the game to the Stags.

City should have been at least two goals to the good by the time Jacob Mellis volleyed home in the third minute of added time.

There was drama, some excellent play and a wonderful atmosphere created by the sold-out crowd - what a cracking advert for League Two.

What’s Flitcroft’s problem?
The Mansfield boss took another swipe at the Imps in his post-match interview.

“It was a great atmosphere. You felt the power of that when they scored. It doesn’t make you feel good, it made me sick to the core,” he said.

“It did mean a lot [the equaliser]. There’s almost a smugness at times around here. I’m delighted for the team and the supporters, our chairman [John Radford], Carolyn [Radford] and the directors.”

Smugness? It’s not the first time he’s had a pop at the Imps. Other than Danny Cowley’s comments about the Stags’ over-physical approach during the Checkatrade Trophy tie earlier this season, there’s barely been anything coming back the other way.

Anyway, it should be seen as compliment that a rival manager is so interested in what is happenning at Sincil Bank.

It makes for a very spicy rematch between the sides in March.

Cowley's concern
Being on the wrong end of a late goal is an unusual feeling for City.

The Imps have made a habit of striking late in games during Cowley’s success-filled era.

They did it again when Kellan Gordon fired home with just four minutes of normal time remaining, but unfortunately Mellis struck even later.

What is not unusual for Cowley at the moment is the absence of a clean sheet. It’s now nine games since their last shut-out, which is clearly an annoyance to the Imps boss, who prides himself on his side’s defensive solidity.

Mansfield hauled themselves off the ropes to snatch a point following a punishing run of games across three competitions.

Cowley felt the ball was out of play before it was swung into the City box ahead of Town’s equaliser.

That said, the Imps boss also admitted his side could have defended the situation better.

Nevertheless, it was still a stunning finish from Mellis, who once again underlined his importance to the Stags.

After a slow start to the season, Town have been gaining momentum and are finally fulfilling their pre-season promise.

Along with MK Dons, they could be the Imps’ biggest rivals in the race for promotion.

A good point?
It looks like it after MK Dons conceded two late goals in their 3-2 defeat at Stevenage, which was a real shock result.

Obviously, the manner of Mansfield’s goal was galling, but the Imps would not have been too downhearted had they been offered a point before the game.

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