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Archived News from February 2019

21st February 2019 14:24

‘Massive response’ required, says manager
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 16 February 2019

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has called for a ‘massive response’ to today’s disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Notts County.

Magpies’ attacker Craig Mackail-Smith scored the game’s only goal with a well-taken volley in the first-half.

The Mansfield chief says today’s result has left him ‘bitterly disappointed.’

“When you have quality players like we have, the test is to commit to the other side of the game,” he said. “You have to make sure that you’re mentally prepared.


“As a player who didn’t have much quality, one thing I did was give 100 per cent. When you have the quality our players have, you have to bring your work to every game.

“We didn’t commit how I wanted them to commit, and we weren’t brave. We didn’t have the mental toughness to get on the ball and cause them problems.

“I’m bitterly disappointed with how we’ve represented here today. Our supporters have come across and paid good money to get in this stadium.

“You have to earn your yards on a football pitch. We had one shot, and that’s not on target - the one shot by Tyler [Walker].

“[In] a local derby that means so much to so many, you have to make sure that the commitment is there.

“I spoke to the players in there about what next week is going to look like. We need to make sure we do the other side of the game. We have to make sure we have a massive response to this huge disappointment.”

The manager says that his side simply didn’t ‘turn up.’

“Notts look like they wanted to compete. They were almost free, whereas we played with a bit of fear.

“When you play with that anxiety, physically your body sometimes doesn’t work. It looked like that today.

“It was a massive game, a big game, and we came up here and didn’t turn up. The goal that Mackail-Smith has got, we were nowhere near him.

“It [dressing room] knows where it’s at. It knows what we’re doing next week, and how let down I feel.

“We have an opportunity now to put it right next week. You have to come and enjoy what you’re doing, and the players didn’t look like that today.”

After the defeat, the boss has called for a ‘massive improvement’ in future clashes, while also praising the fans for their outstanding support, after 4,283 Stags’ supporters made the journey to Meadow Lane.

“I’ll be honest with the players. You can only move forward with anything if there’s an honesty there.

“I want a massive improvement, and there’s got to be a 40 or 50 per cent improvement on today’s performance.

“I wish we had a game on Tuesday that we could bounce into. It gives me a chance to work with the group.

“Today’s work has not been good enough, and the only people who came here and represented was the supporters.

“I think it was a respectful clap off, but I wouldn’t have clapped off the performance from me or my team tonight.

“We’re not going to rest on our laurels. We’re up there near the summit. But I will not accept another performance like that again.

“I have to make sure the group understand that. I have to make them understand what makes the greatest sportsmen become the best, and that’s what I try for daily.”


David Flitcroft criticises players' lack of commitment and work-rate in Notts County derby defeat
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 16 February 2019

Disappointed Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft today criticised his players for a lack of commitment and work-rate in today's 1-0 derby day defeat at Notts County. Backed by 4,300 fans, Stags were sunk by a Craig Mackail-Smith goal in a game in which they failed to register a single shot on target.

“I won't accept a performance like that again, whoever we play,” said Flitcroft. “In am bitterly disappointed for the town, our supporters and our owners. We didn't represent them today.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/david-flitcroft-criticises-players-lack-of-commitment-and-work-rate-in-notts-county-derby-defeat-1-9599388

“Our supporters came across in numbers and paid good money today and represented the town with the passion and commitment they've shown all season. But we haven't replicated that.

“They know how I feel about this. I feel let down and they have let each other down.”

Stags' players have shown their quality in reaching second place in the table. But today Flitcroft said they lacked the other side of the game needed to win a derby as Notts simply showed more commitment.

“When you have quality players like we have, the test every time every time you train or play is to make sure you commit to the other elements of the game out of possession,” he said.

“You have to make sure you are mentally right, mentally focused and mentally competing. “It's easy for me to look at that as a player who didn't have much quality. But one thing I always gave was 100 per cent - I understood that.

“Today we didn't commit how I wanted them to commit and we were not brave. “We didn't have the mental toughness to get on the ball and really cause them problems. All over the pitch we were half a yard off it.”

He added: “Yes we are up there near the top of the summit, but we won't rest on our laurels.

“I have to make sure this group understand that and what makes the greatest sportsmen the best - work and commitment - the two ingredients of every success story out there.

“You have to earn your inches on a football pitch and then you've got to earn your yards, and we didn't. “We have had one shot and that wasn't on target. Apart from that we have not got in and around them. “You have to do that in any football match, let alone a local derby that means so much to so many.

“Notts looked like they wanted to compete and they were almost free while we played with a bit of fear. “When you are playing with fear and anxiety, physically your body sometimes doesn't work and that's what it looked like today. “We were not brave enough. We let people die on the ball. It was a massive game and we didn't turn up.

“We never used the width where the space was and we were nowhere near Mackail-Smith for the goal. He is 19 yards out and someone has to be in that vicinity.”

The Mansfield players now face a tough seven days before next weekend's home clash with Forest Green.

Flitcroft said: “I have spoken to them about what next week is going to look like. I want a massive response from this huge disappointment. “It's got to be a 40-50 per cent improvement on today's performance. “It's going to be a long week and maybe a different commitment than I have asked of this group this season.”


A complete performance
Ardley's reaction to derby victory

Notts County manager Neal Ardley says today’s dominant display against Mansfield Town is indicative of how much progress the club has made.

The boss’ first game in charge of Notts was in December’s reverse fixture, when the Stags dominated on their way to a 2-0 win at One Call Stadium.

But it was roles reversed at Meadow Lane this afternoon as Notts secured a thoroughly deserved victory against their promotion-hunting rivals.

“I said two-and-a-half months ago that there was a gulf in class between Mansfield and us,” said the boss. “They were miles better than us that day.


“They made plenty of noise after the game and let us know they had won. That hurt.

“But today we produced a complete performance. Ryan Schofield didn’t make one save.

“Did I think we’d dominate like we did today? No, but we’ll take it.

“It feels good but the job isn’t done yet - there’s a long, long way to go. We’ve got to stay focused.”

Notts will be looking to make it a hat-trick of victories when they welcome Newport County to Meadow Lane on Tuesday night.

And Ardley is hoping for more brilliant support after being bowled over by the Notts fans’ efforts this afternoon.

“It’s great doing it against the top teams with an atmosphere like that,” he said.

“I’ll ask the fans if they can come and create the same atmosphere again on Tuesdsay night. There won’t be as many away fans, but it’s now going to be the toughest game of our season.

“The players get the crowd going, the crowd get the team going and between us we seem to build momentum.

“We will probably freshen things up a bit because we need to be careful of injuries.

“One or two might come in but I won’t make any decisions until I see them on Monday.”


Notts County manager's delight as his Magpies end miserable run against Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 16 February 2019

Notts County boss Neil Ardley was delighted to see his side end their miserable home run against Mansfield Town with today's 1-0 derby win. That made it seven points of nine for his relegation battlers from three big games against sides up in the promotion mix and a first home league win in nine against the Stags. “We have a long way to go still,” he said. “We are not believing this is anything other than a start and another win ticked off the list.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/notts-county-manager-s-delight-as-his-magpies-end-miserable-run-against-mansfield-town-1-9599405

“Mansfield had a 10-minute spell at the start of the second half but for the last half hour of the game I didn't feel at any point that there was an equaliser on the cards - and that is pleasing “We have played like that the last few games. I don't think anything inspired it. “They are up for it, they want to well for the club and they want to get us out of this mess we are in. They know how important it is for the fans. “I told them they could make history after all the years we have not won this fixture and hopefully there are a lot of fans that are happy now. “We will need them again Tuesday night as I think that will be our toughest game. “These three games have been easy to get up for as we were underdogs in all of them. “But Tuesday night there will be an expectation which makes it even tougher.” Ardley is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel with current form. “There were some dark days,” he admitted.

“I said at the start of my tenure here we'd probably have some short term pain. “That pain lasted a little bit longer than I had hoped as, even though we got fitter, stronger and more organised, we couldn't seem to turn it into the results we wanted. “We felt we had a really good January window - we worked hard at it - and hopefully now we are seeing the benefits. They are all good players we have brought in.” He added: “The biggest challenge for the boys now is that we don't have an 'After the Lord Mayor's Show' here on Tuesday when we have another tough game.”


Hero Craig Mackail-Smith hails 'superb' Notts County in derby win over Mansfield Town
By Leigh Curtis


Craig Mackail-Smith revelled in being Notts County’s derby hero as he urged the Magpies to keep on raising their standards in their fight for survival.

The on-loan Wycombe striker smashed in an unstoppable volley in the 19th minute of the League Two clash against Mansfield which was their first league win over the Stags in 13 years.

Mansfield did not register a shot on target as Neal Ardley’s side dominated for large spells in what was a memorable victory played in front of more than 12,000 fans.

The result meant stretched Notts’ unbeaten run to three games and they have taken seven points from nine on offer against Lincoln, Forest Green and the Stags.

But their performance against Mansfield was the most impressive of them all and Mackail-Smith says the Magpies have to keep their momentum going.

“The standard has been set now,” he said.

“I thought we were outstanding against Mansfield.

“With all the blood, thunder and guts in a derby you have to show composure and we stayed in shape and didn’t allow them many openings throughout the entire game.

“The bar is there and we have to keep reaching it and surpassing it - if we dip below that, the experienced boys will tell the others in the team that it needs to be raised - and that’s a good thing.”

Mackail-Smith’s goal was his first since arriving on loan from Wycombe last month when he became one of eight new arrivals.

Ardley praised the striker’s contribution in what was a complete team performance from Notts and their best display of the season.

Mackail-Smith said he had been working on his finishing in training during the build-up to the game and was pleased to see his practice pay off.

And he insists Notts will have to show the same endeavour when they face Newport at Meadow Lane on Tuesday night.

“I felt like I’d been rushing lately so I’ve been trying to take a step back and focus on hitting the ball cleanly,” he revealed.

“When it dropped to me it was just a case of hitting the target. It was nice to catch one so well and see it go back in the net, especially as even on Friday I was scuffing some shots in training!”

“But I’m loving it here.

“I wanted to come and be part of the challenge and hopefully I can continue to contribute like I did on Saturday.

“We’ve played three of the top teams which, to an extent, were free hits because no one expected us to get the results we have done, so the match against Newport on Tuesday will be a harder test.

“If we show the same application we did versus Mansfield, I think we’ll come away with a positive result.”


Rose: "We won the battle"

Mitch Rose feels Notts County won every battle on the field during Saturday’s victory against Mansfield.

The 24-year-old impressed once again after joining the Magpies in January as fellow new boy Craig Mackail-Smith netted the winner at Meadow Lane.

And Rose thinks Notts did everything that was expected of them during the win.

“It was a huge performance from us,” he said. “We won the battle mentally, physically and technically.

“We spoke before the game about not playing the occasion and the importance of staying focused and we did that excellently.

“Playing against a team who fancy themselves to win the league, coupled with the local rivalry, makes it a tough battle and we’ve come out on top.”

Victory in the Nottinghamshire Derby for the first time since 2005 made it seven points from three matches against promotion-chasing teams but Rose is not surprised Notts have picked up such good results in recent weeks.

“This turnaround isn’t a shock,” he said. “The group is excellent but, for whatever reason, the results weren’t great so the manager has added reinforcements.

“When I came in I was taken aback by the quality of the first few training sessions and if this squad was together from the start of the season we could really push for something, so I’m not surprised we’ve done so well against Lincoln, Forest Green and Mansfield.

“It’s now a case of continuing the momentum. The game with Newport on Tuesday is going to be the toughest of all because now we’re expected to win and we need to cope with the pressure of that.”

Former Mansfield man Rose has been playing in an unfamiliar position since his move to Meadow Lane and paid tribute to his team-mates for continuing to help him to adapt.

“For me, it’s about staying focused on the job at hand - stopping crossed and not allowing my man to get ahead of me and I did that well against Mansfield,” he said.

“It’s excellent to have experienced boys around me, too, because they talk me through things and help carry everyone over the line.

“You relish games like Saturday’s and I enjoyed the stick off their fans so to be able to celebrate with my family afterwards is huge.

“They are the moments you work hard for throughout the week so that you’re able to savour and enjoy them with your team-mates and family.”


Mitch Rose reveals a bottle was thrown at him by a Mansfield Town fan during Notts County's derby win
By Leigh Curtis

Notts County defender Mitch Rose has claimed a bottle was thrown at him by a Mansfield Town fan during their 1-0 victory over the Stags.

The incident occurred midway through the second half of the clash at Meadow Lane and the defender, who used to play for the Stags, confirmed he had spoken to referee Lee Mason who has included the incident in his report.

“Their fans were giving me a little bit of stick as you would expect in a local derby and you are playing against your former club,” he said.

“I responded by shushing them to get the ball and a bottle has come flying past my head.

“It was nothing to really worry about, but the referee has reported it and I’ll leave that to him."

Rose was outstanding in what was a dominant Notts performance as they secured their first league win over the Stags for the first time since 2005.

Craig Mackail-Smith was the hero as he crashed in a terrific volley in the first half with the result meaning Notts can move out of the relegation zone if they beat Newport at Meadow Lane on Tuesday.

Rose said he was delighted with the win over the Stags and paid tribute to a fine team display.

“It was a huge performance from us,” he said.

“I said in the dressing room that we weren’t at our best but we won the battle both physically, mentally and technically.

“We managed to come out on top and win all three points.”


Stakes are high in Saturday’s promotion showdown admits Mansfield Town chairman John Radford
chad.co.uk,by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 19 February 2019

Mansfield Town chairman John Radford admitted Saturday’s home clash with promotion rivals Forest Green Rovers is massive for both clubs and the stakes are high. But, despite two successive defeats, Radford has every faith Stags can bounce back on Saturday and has called on the club to cement a place in the top three automatic promotion spots to avoid the lottery of the play-offs.

David Flitcroft’s men turned in a poor display in Saturday’s 1-0 derby day defeat at Notts County, dropping to third, and Radford said: “You have to get up and move on. It wasn’t a good result or performance. Let’s hope that it’s a one off.

“I have made a (superstitious) rule of not seeing my manager 24 hours before or after a game, because my passions run so high.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stakes-are-high-in-saturday-s-promotion-showdown-admits-mansfield-town-chairman-john-radford-1-9604405

“Unfortunately, I had to meet with David before Saturday’s game and I think it’s my fault why we lost the game.”

Forest Green are just four points behind Stags and Radford admitted: “It’s a massive game for both clubs, there’s no other way of describing it and we know that no game can be taken for granted. “Our main objective now is for us to cement ourselves within the top three.

“I don’t want us to lose our automatic slot and then have to battle in the play-offs. “To maintain our high-riding position within the top three of the league will mean us having to acquire three points for most of our games from now until the end of the campaign.

“This is, of course, possible, with the players we have and a manager who has a promotion on his CV from this division.”

He added: “The stakes are high and it’s an exciting time for the club and the town of Mansfield. “I want us to put on a show for our fans, to respond in characteristic Mansfield fashion on Saturday.

“It should be a fascinating game of football, with the division’s two best footballing sides going head-to-head.”

Stags took 4,300 fans to Notts on Saturday and this weekend’s crowd should be boosted by free tickets once again for U18s.

“Many chairmen will say this, but I absolutely mean it; our fans have been brilliant this season, supportive, encouraging and vocal when our players have needed them most,” he said.

“It was heartening to see an excellent result and a bumper crowd when we did the free U18s tickets against Macclesfield and I want a repeat performance of the result from that game this Saturday.

“This offer enables young people to get out and interact with people in real situations. “It’s good to get out and support your team as opposed to ‘supporting’ in front of a telly. “This is our local professional football club, where we were born and brought up. This football club matters enormously to people. “It is one of the best things in life to be able to support and follow your own local team; you make good friendships and it contributes to a real community spirit.”



Latest | February 2019