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Archived News from April 2019

NORTHAMPTON PREVIEWS / MORE ON EFL AWARDS
16th April 2019 6:02


Manager reflects on 'brilliant' awards evening
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 11 April 2019

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has said the recognition achieved by Mansfield Town during Sunday night’s EFL Awards filled him with ‘immense pride.’

The Stags were named as the Sky Bet League Two Family Club of the Year, had four players present in the Sky Bet League Two Team of the Season, and also saw skipper Krystian Pearce make the EFL’s Team of the Season.

The manager says that awards are a sign of the club moving in a positive direction.

“It [EFL Awards] was a brilliant night,” he said. “I love what the EFL represents. You see the work that goes on and what a club means to a town and its community.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2019/april/gaffer-pre-northampton/

“We have the best leagues in the world - the Premier League gets all the coverage but it’s a night to celebrate what the EFL is good at.

“A lot of work has gone in to make Mansfield Town as good as it can be off the pitch. To get the Family Club of the Year [award], you’re proud as a manager to support that.

“Seeing the players [Mal Benning, Pearce, Tyler Walker and CJ Hamilton] up there [on stage] filled me with an immense amount of pride. You work with these guys all year and they’ve been recognised as top performers this season.

“Nothing has been won or lost yet this season, but when you get recognised like that, it tells you that you’re doing something right.

“We’ve had that recognition, and I was really proud of the players and the club on Sunday night.

“He [Pearce] has had a tough career, but he wants to just keep fighting and keep driving for his dreams.

“Just to see him on stage and getting that [EFL Team of the Season] recognition, it’s brilliant for a football story.

“I’d like to mention Joe Thompson [former Rochdale midfielder] as well, getting the Sir Tom Finney award. The standing ovation kept going and rightly so.

“For Joey to come through what he came through and survive cancer twice, and get that recognition, it was absolutely brilliant.”

The Stags’ chief says he feels a ‘unity’ throughout the club as we enter the final five fixtures of the campaign.

“I think it [destiny] has always been in our own hands, since the start of the season. The support we’ve had home and away has been phenomenal.

“The backing that I’ve received from the players and staff has been promotion form. We’re all trying to drive for the same thing.

“There’s a unity within Mansfield Town that I recognise and I feel right through the club.

“It’s the people here that you want to do it for. We have to keep building the momentum and keep believing in that.”

This weekend, over 1,400 Mansfield supporters will travel to Northampton to cheer on the Stags in their latest Sky Bet League Two clash.

David Flitcroft highly praised the ‘unconditional support’ shown by the fans this season.

“We’re away from home [this weekend], and our last away performance is certainly the best away performance we’ve had this season.

“I’m delighted with our form going into the game. Keith Curle is a highly professional operator and a great manager.

“Northampton are a massive club in our league and a very good club. We’ll look forward to representing as Mansfield Town.

“At home on Saturday, it got a little bit edgy, but it’s that unconditional support we’ve had all season [that got us over the line].

“Cambridge piled some pressure onto us in the last ten minutes, and our support never wavered. It just kept driving us to keep the ball out of the net.

“We’ll need that over the next five games because it’s going to be five massive football matches.

“We have a brilliant goals conceded column and we’re resilient. We have warriors and incredible energy in the team.”

The manager also provided an injury update on his charges, including the news that Ben Turner could be sidelined for up to a fortnight.

“Ben Turner came off [against Cambridge] with a suspected calf problem. It’s a strain, so he’ll probably be out between ten and 14 days.

“So, Turns is going to be out on Saturday. Alistair Smith has an allergy that we’re just looking into at the minute. Until we know what that is, we’ll keep him away from the first team.

“It’s just a confidence thing with Danny [Rose] now. It’s just about getting those minutes in his legs. He come through it [reserves game against Notts County] unscathed, and that’s the important bit.

“It’s just about managing the squad now and making sure every detail is taken care of. We got over the Exeter [sickness] bug and we’ve contained that.

“It’s just about making sure that in the training load, we don’t get anything that turns into more than a couple of days off training.”

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

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Manager David Flitcroft proud of Mansfield Town’s progress after awards night successes
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft said he was very proud of the club’s progress as the awards and accolades flowed at the Sky Bet EFL annual presentations night on Sunday.

Krystian Pearce, CJ Hamilton, Mal Benning and Tyler Walker were all in the League Two Team of the Season, Pearce also in the overall EFL Team of the Season, while Stags also picked up the Family Club of the Year award.

“It was a brilliant night,” said Flitcroft.

“I love what the EFL represents. You see the work that goes on and what a football club means to a town, city or community.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/manager-david-flitcroft-proud-of-mansfield-town-s-progress-after-awards-night-successes-1-9706811

“There was a stat that something like 11 of our England World Cup squad played in the EFL. We have got the best leagues in the world.

“The Premiership gets all the coverage. But this was a night for the EFL to celebrate what they are brilliant at.

“I was so glad I went as I was inspired by a lot of what I saw.”

In particular he was delighted to see how Mansfield Town is marching upwards and onwards in the national eye.

“A lot of work has gone on over the last seven years to make Mansfield Town as good as it can be off the pitch,” he said.

“To get the Family Club of the Year award shows the work put in by Tina, Paul (Broughtons), Danielle (Betts) and all the staff on that.

“You are proud as a manager, not just with the football, but also to go down there and support that.

“Seeing the players up there representing for us filled me with immense pride. You work with these guys all year and they have now been recognised as top performers this season.

“It’s brilliant to see and I was made up for them.

“We we got here, there were too many rocks and we needed sponges. We got players in who wanted to listen and learn.

“What is amazing is that three of them, Pearcey, CJ and Mal Bening were in and around the team but not absolutely nailed-on starters.

“Those three and Tyler have probably put in more training time than any other players. They are out there all the time working on their craft and their skills set.

“That gives you that understanding you can make those massive improvements. It’s credit to the players and to the staff.

“Nothing has been won or lost yet this season, but when you get recognised like that - and having four players in the team - it tells you you’re doing something right.”

As an ex-Bury manager, he was also moved to see his former player Joe Thompson honoured after twice beating cancer.

“Joey Thompson getting the Tom Finney award was some accolade too,” he said.

“The standing ovation just kept going, and rightly so for what he’s been through.

“That’s the stories football throws up. That’s the pyramid that supports the Premier League.

“Joey was not on great money at Bury, Tranmere and Rochdale.

“They are right on the cusp these players. If they don’t get it right next season, you can potentially be out of work and unable to pay your mortgage.

“Some of the football down at low levels is breadline stuff and for Joey to survive cancer twice and get that recognition was absolutely brilliant.

“It was a brilliant night and Mansfield Town were a big part of it.”

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Tribute paid to Mansfield Town skipper Krystian Pearce after national honour
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

David Flitcroft paid tribute to the progress of his skipper Krystian Pearce after the centre half was named in the Sky Bet League overall Team of the Season on Sunday.

Stags had four in the League Two team, but only Pearce made the overall side.

“Having four in the team was a big moment, but what rounded it off was having Pearcey in the team of the year,” said manager Flitcroft.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/tribute-paid-to-mansfield-town-skipper-krystian-pearce-after-national-honour-1-9706881

“In a week when the players told their stories to each other, in Pearcey’s life there has been a lot of struggle and heartache.

“He’s had a tough career. But he just wants to keep fighting, driving and going for his dreams.

“It’s the way his family has supported him and he’s supported them through the hard times.

“Just to see him on that stage getting the recognition is brilliant for a football story.

“When you understand what Pearcey has been through in his career and some of the things that haven’t worked out for him in his career, to have that moment stood on that stage, I was certainly proud of him.

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Mansfield Town ready for war as Northampton Town battle looms
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

Mansfield Town are ready for a real battle at Northampton Town this Saturday as they try to keep hold of second place in League Two.

Former Stags boss Keith Curle has admitted he is getting his side to ‘play ugly’ right now and Mansfield manager David Flitcroft is ready to combat that.

“Any League Two game at this time of the season can turn into a war of attrition and that’s something we have got - players who can deal with that,” he said.

“We have a brilliant goals conceded column. We are resilient and we have warriors and an incredible energy in the team.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-ready-for-war-as-northampton-town-battle-looms-1-9706851

“We have to combat whatever style of team we come up against. Our team is equipped to do that.

Stags thrashed Northampton 4-0 at home in September which saw boss Dean Austin sacked.

“Before we played them here you could tell something just wasn’t right,” said Flitcroft.

“It was a strange atmosphere before and during the game. “The manager was subsequently sacked after that game, which is never nice.”

Curle then took the reins and Flitcroft said it would appear he was now starting to plan for next season.

“They knew they wanted a top professional in and that’s what they’ve done. Keith Curle’s work at Carlisle was pristine and professional,” he said.

“They are in a transitional period, working out what it’s probably going to look like next season now they are safe and how to rebuild. He is the right man to take them to the next level where they want to go.

“Keith has taken over a difficult situation.

“You can see he almost wants to get to the end of the season and put a Keith Curle stamp on it.

“That stamp is incredible professionalism and a way of playing.”

He added: “I think he is trying to understand what he has in the squad and what he needs to build out from that.

“At times, with that, you get a bit of uncertainty in your squad. But he is a highly professional operator, a great manager, and some who I have pitted my wits against down the years and found to be a tough operator.

“Northampton are a massive club in our league and a very good club. So we will look forward to representing as Mansfield Town and we are looking forward to the game.”

Stags go into it on the back of two wins and Flitcroft said: “We are away from home and our last away performance was certainly the best we’ve had this season.

“The lads believed in that and over the last two weeks their stats and energy is exceeding expectations, which I am delighted with our form going into it.

Stags will be backed by an army of almost 1,500 fans at Sixfields and Flitcroft said: “Please stay patient and keep that belief.

“At home on Saturday it got a little bit edgy - and these games will do as it is the business end of the season and players will make mistakes. We are all human. I will get things wrong.

“We just need that unconditional support we’ve had all season and keep that energy.

“Cambridge piled some pressure on us for the last 10 minutes and the support didn’t waver. It just kept driving us to keep the ball out the net and put blocks on.

“We are going to need that over the next five games which will be five massive football matches.”

With Stags in second, they know their destiny is in their own hands, but the managed added: “I think our destiny has always been in our own hands from the start of the season.

“The support we’ve had from the chairman and Carolyn, the board, the staff and supporters home and away has been phenomenal.

“The backing has been promotion form.

“It’s the people here that we are trying to do this for.

“The momentum has built and we have to keep driving that and believing in that.”

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New blow as Mansfield Town lose Ben Turner with calf injury
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

Mansfield Town have been hit by yet another injury with centre half Ben Turner ruled out for up to a fortnight.

Turner limped off at half-time in the home win over Cambridge United last weekend and manager David Flitcroft said: “Ben came off with a suspected calf problem.

“It is a strain and there is a slight tear there. He will probably be out between 10 and 14 days.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/new-blow-as-mansfield-town-lose-ben-turner-with-calf-injury-1-9706843

“He felt as though it could go and, on testing, the specialist has given us that. He will be out on Saturday and we will work on him round the clock to make sure he is ready for when we need him.”

Other than the long-term injuries, the only other new absentee from the squad for the weekend is young midfielder Alistair Smith.

“Alistair has got some sort of allergy we are looking into at the minute,” said Flitcroft.

“Until we know what it is, we will keep him away from the first team in case it’s contagious.

“Other than that it’s just a case of managing the players’ workloads and making sure we don’t pick any short-term injuries up.”

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Danny Rose growing in confidence after broken jaw return
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

Although not fit enough for a start yet, Mansfield Town striker Danny Rose is growing in confidence as he bids to return from a double break of the jaw.

Rose came on as a sub for the last half-hour against Cambridge and then topped his fitness up with the first hour of the midweek reserves game at Notts County.

So far the injury has not been further damaged and boss David Flitcroft said: “You know it’s there.

“But the more you do the more you get confident. It’s just a confidence thing with Danny now.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/danny-rose-growing-in-confidence-after-broken-jaw-return-1-9706949

“More than anything it’s just about getting the minutes into his legs.

“He actually felt better starting the game on Tuesday instead of coming on as it can be quite difficult coming on at times. You want them to go on and make an impact.

“But there is already an energy in the game and you are having to get up to that speed as opposed to everyone having to get into the rhythm.

“But he came through it unscathed and that’s the important thing.

“He is getting there. He’s still not there yet.”

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Crisis at rivals Bury is no surprise to Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

The dire off-the-field issues facing promotion rivals Bury have come as no surprise to Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft after his time there.

The Shakers had a winding-up order adjourned in court on Wednesday and, with wages not paid, there has even been talk of a players strike this weekend.

“What is happening there now is what was happening when I was there as manager, but I just kept my powder dry,” he said.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/crisis-at-rivals-bury-is-no-surprise-to-mansfield-town-boss-david-flitcroft-1-9706821

“I got on with my squad and didn’t let people know what was going on. I kept the squad protected from it. It was tough and it is tough.

“Players in League Two are potentially not paid the wages people think they are paid.

“Defaulting on a mortgage - and I have been there - it’s tough on your family, your missus, your kids.”

Bury have slipped from second to fourth after three defeats in a row while the cash problems have come to light.

“It can go one of two ways with them,” said Flitcroft. “They could let it galvanise them and have a spirit from within or it could affect people.

“But we are really focusing on the first half against Northampton and that we are really clear on our plan.”

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Hurt of Crewe defeat driving Mansfield Town even harder towards glory push
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

As Mansfield Town head into the last five games with their promotion fate firmly in their own hands, boss David Flitcroft said they could use the hurt of their recent home loss to Crewe to help drive them on.

Stags travel to Northampton Town on Saturday, but win, lose or draw, he believes the club overall is on an upward march thanks to the backing of chairman John Radford and CEO Carolyn Radford.

Since the Crewe defeat, Stags have won both games and Flitcroft said: “I suppose there was a realisation for the players to understand what it meant to so many people that day.

“We can use that hurt in the next five games. But I think every defeat we’ve had gives you that knowledge and you can use that hurt and emotion to drive you to the next point.

“But everything successful is down to having the right process and the right infrastructure.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/hurt-of-crewe-defeat-driving-mansfield-town-even-harder-towards-glory-push-1-9706931

“You can see what Lincoln have done with their success - 10,000 fans and a league training centre. They have been building their infrastructure for three years and are worthy leaders of this league.

“We are catching that up and we want to be challenging at the top of the league.”

He continued: “I have really enjoyed the season. I have enjoyed the support and the football.

“In a crazy way, you learn more about yourself, your staff and the players when you take a defeat.

“After we lost to Crewe our chairman rang me and I can’t thank him enough for that conversation.

“People talk about financial support, but this was about emotional support.

“He is probably the most successful businessman I know and you’re not that successful unless you have great wisdom.

“I believe having great wisdom is passing it on and the chairman does that with me. That support network I have here is absolutely vital.”

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Mansfield Town face early season Stags star Timi Elsnik at Northampton Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

Mansfield Town will come face to face with Northampton Town midfield ace Timi Elsnik on Saturday, after the Slovenian shone for Stags in the first half of the season on loan from Derby County.

Mansfield were unable to come to a permanent deal and Elsnik ended up at Sixfields where Stags head on Saturday.

“The way it worked out - the deal wasn’t right for the football club or for Derby so we moved on,” said Mansfield manager David Flitcroft.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-face-early-season-stags-star-timi-elsnik-at-northampton-town-1-9706872

“Timi knows what I feel about him. I have worked with him twice, once at Swindon and then here. He had a brilliant rapport with the lads.

“Timi is a top pro. He is a great person, an absolutely lovely guy, and I wish nothing but the best for him in his career - just not on Saturday.

“I have spent a lot of time with him and we have shared a lot. I have shared a lot about my family and his family and he is someone I admire immensely.”

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Support can make the difference - Benning
mansfieldtown.net, Thursday 11 April 2019

With over 1,400 Stags’ fans expected to travel for this weekend’s clash away to Northampton, wing-back Mal Benning says that the exceptional support could ‘make the difference.’

The 25-year-old, who has appeared 48 times for Mansfield this season, also listed the qualities he believes will be required to ensure a positive end to the campaign.

Benning added that the Stags must simply ‘enjoy’ the ‘good pressure’ that the race for automatic promotion brings.

“If you go back to pre-season and the signings that the gaffer made, as you can see he’s bedded them into the team well,” he said.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2019/april/mal-pre-northampton/

“As a team, we’re a strong unit. It’s about being consistent and keeping going. Hopefully it will pay off.

“You want to play every game, but it’s the lads that don’t play, come on and make a huge difference [that are important].

“Everyone backs each other to do well. It’s a good pressure to be under and there’s a lot at stake -we just have to enjoy it.

“I would be the best achievement of my football career if we do achieve it [promotion]. But it’s not just for me. I’ve been here and seen how the club’s progressed, and I think it’s ready to kick on now.

“It’s about doing what we’ve done for the past 41 games. There have been ups and downs and it’s not going to be easy for us. It’s one of those where we just have to keep going.

“It [support going to Northampton] could make the difference. Even the game here on Saturday [against Cambridge], at 0-0 they still backed us. The fans help us get over that line, and hopefully they can do that at Northampton on Saturday.”

The defender was recently named in the Sky Bet League Two Team of the Season - along with fellow Stags’ players Krystian Pearce, Tyler Walker and CJ Hamilton - and travelled down to London on Sunday for the EFL Awards.

Benning says that being a part of the Team of the Season is a ‘special moment’ in his career.

“It was a very special moment for me and the other three lads,” he added. “It’s obviously a big achievement for me to get into the Team of the Season, and for the club as well to get four players in there.

“It was something that I feel shows my hard work has paid off. Being released from a club and coming here, Mansfield has been a breath of fresh air for me.

“I’m comfortable here and it’s very good. To see that I’ve been recognised for that hard work, it’s a good feeling.

“I feel like I’ve done well this season, but what’s helped is that we’re now challenging at the top of the table. It’s one of them that adds to what you’ve done on the pitch. It’s a credit to the team and the club.

“If I’m being honest, I want a couple more goals before the end of the season considering I’m playing wing-back. Hopefully I can add a few more.”

The Stags currently boast the best defensive record in Sky Bet League Two this season, and Benning deflected the praise for the impressive stat onto his team-mates, particularly those that feature in the back-three of manager David Flitcroft’s system.

“There are some big characters and big personalities in this squad. If you look at the spine of the team, there’s a lot of experience.

“This season, we’ve still got the best defensive record, so hopefully we can keep that and build on that.

“The credit has to go to the back-three, because as a wing-back, sometimes you’re not doing as much defensive work as a left-back.

“The back-three has been immense. As a wing-back, you have to help at the back and going forward as well. I do like attacking, so I do find myself up the pitch.”

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

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Benning hails team character at Mansfield Town as promotion bid continues
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

Mal Benning has hailed the character and personality in the Mansfield Town squad and believes they could be crucial factors in promotion being secured.

Mansfield go to Northampton Town on Saturday looking to maintain their top three place.

And as Benning reflected on the season as a whole, he feels consistency has been another key to Stags' success.

He said: “If you go back to the start of pre-season and the signings the gaffer made, he’s bedded them all in well and as a team we are a strong unit.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/benning-hails-team-character-at-mansfield-town-as-promotion-bid-continues-1-9706403

"It’s about being consistent - even if we’ve lost and had bad performances we’ve kept doing the same stuff and kept going and if we can do that for the next five games then hopefully it’ll pay off.

“We back each other to do well. Everyone wants to play, but those that don’t start are still coming on and making a huge difference.

“It’s a good pressure to be under. There’s a lot at stake but we have to enjoy it and hope the reward will come."

With Benning in his fourth season at Mansfield, he feels going up would be top of his achievements so far not just with Stags, but in his whole career.

He said: “Promotion would be the best achievement of my career but it’s not just for me, as having been here a few years and seen how the club’s progressed I think they’re ready to step up so it would be a great achievement for everyone.

“We’re buoyant at the moment so need to keep our heads down and get the job done.

“It’s nearly four seasons for me here now and hopefully there will be more to come with us progressing up the leagues but we will of course take each year as it comes.

“It’s about doing what we’ve done for the past 41 games. There have been ups and downs and there still will be. Teams won’t lie down as we saw against Cambridge, but we have to keep going and doing what we do best and hopefully the results will come."

Benning feels the experience within the team will be key in the final five games, as well as maintaining the character shown so far.

He said: “There are some big characters and personalities in the squad. The spine of the team has a lot of experience in the team and that’s what we need to push us over the line.

“We also have a lot of past promotion winners in the team so hopefully they can help all of us get over the line.”

The Stags wing back also wants the fans to maintain their great support, with over 1,000 expected to head to Northampton on Saturday.

He said: “It could be a massive difference. Even the game here on Saturday the fans backed us at 0-0 and when we were under a bit of pressure when leading towards the end the fans were helping us get over the line so hopefully they can do similar at Northampton.”

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Mansfield Town star Mal Benning thrilled to be part of League Two's Team of the Season
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Thursday 11 April 2019

Mal Benning says being picked as part of the Sky Bet League Two Team of the Season was a reward for his hard work.

Benning was included in the side at the EFL Awards last weekend, alongside team-mates Tyler Walker, CJ Hamilton and Krystian Pearce.

And the wing-back is pleased to have been recognised.

He said: "It was a very special moment for me and the other three guys. It’s a big achievement for us to be in the team and of course for the club as a whole to have four players in it.

https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-star-mal-benning-thrilled-to-be-part-of-league-two-s-team-of-the-season-1-9707056

“It made me feel like my hard work’s paid off in a sense, because having been released from another club and come here, Mansfield have been a breath of fresh air for me and I’m comfortable here, so to see my hard work pay off is a good feeling.

“I feel like I’ve done well each season but with us challenging at the top of the league it’s added to how well I’ve done given the team is doing well."

Having arrived in 2015, Benning feels that this has been his best campaign in a Stags shirt, albeit one he hopes to supplement with a few more goals.

He said: “I think in terms of consistency it’s been my best season since I came here. If I was honest, I’d like to have a couple more goals before the end of the season as I play at wing back and would like to add more to my tally.

“My favourite goal is still the right-footer at Dagenham in 2015 but in terms of a collective team goal then the Chesterfield one stands out nearly a year ago."

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Latest | April 2019