FLITCROFT, BENNING, KEITH CURLE REACTION
Our support is ‘unbelievable’ - manager
mansfieldtown.net, 13 April 2019
Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has hailed Mansfield’s ‘unbelievable’ support, after 1,465 of the amber and blue army travelled to the PTS Academy Stadium for Saturday afternoon’s 1-1 draw with Northampton Town.
Wing-back Mal Benning opened the scoring directly from a corner on 12 minutes, before Sam Foley equalised for the Cobblers in the second-half.
The manager says that his players showed ‘resilience’ in the match, but called for added ‘composure’ heading forward.
“We showed that resilience, togetherness and spirit,” he said. “These boys are trying - you could argue they’re trying too hard and perhaps not being calm.
“It’s important when you do get it back, there’s a calmness and a composure. That’s what we’ll be working on this week with the players.
“It’s something that you work on in training. You can never recreate what they’ll be out here doing.
“Our fans were unbelievable. Selling out the full quota, the numbers they brought, they were unbelievable.
“Our goal didn’t really settle us. I wanted us to be calmer, but we weren’t. We’ll get the boys back into work on Monday and start gearing them up for another massive game in the Easter period.”
The Stags’ boss says that although the 1-1 draw adds another point to the total, he was left disappointed by the final result.
“It’s a hard-earned point. It’s disappointing when you’re one to the good. The one [set piece] they’ve not got right, they score from,” he added.
“They’re very direct in their approach, so you need to be able to defend corners, and we did. But the one that we didn’t, it cost us the three points.
“I think Danny [Rose] had the best chance, and you’re just waiting for the net to bulge because it’s Rosey.
“We have to make sure that we are tidier in our work. We weren’t pristine enough and there was an edginess to our performance.
“I now have to make sure I settle the boys down for a really big [Easter] weekend and that’s what I’m committed to doing.
“We’ll get the boys feeling good about themselves, and we’ll kick on again. A point adds to the total, but we aren’t pleased with that point.
“It was too frantic and too rushed. Northampton changed for shape and went man-for-man with us. There were times where we had more time and could’ve shown more composure.
“There will be moments like that again where we need to have that composure and be better on the ball. That’ll help us create more chances.
“Northampton are in transition. That’s what we came up against, a team full of players fighting for their individual right to stay in the game.
“I think those teams that are safe in the middle of the table, you have lads fighting for their livelihoods.”
With the Stags sitting third in the table following the latest round of matches in Sky Bet League Two, the manager expressed his satisfaction at Mansfield still having their ‘destiny’ in their own hands.
“It’s a stage of the season when you want to be in that top three. You want to have that destiny in your own hands, and we still have that.
“There will be more twists and turns, there always is. We’re certainly fighting and the players care, that’s what I can assure people.
“They care about each other and doing well for our supporters and the football club. We have to make sure that there isn’t over-trying, which tenses you up a little bit.
“That’s what we’ll be looking at, to try and relax the boys a little ahead of next week.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Boss Flitcroft feels Mansfield Town lacked composure in draw with Northampton
David Flitcroft said his Mansfield Town side will take the point gained from the 1-1 draw at Northampton Town but that they weren't necessarily pleased with it.
A scrappy game saw Stags open the scoring through Mal Benning's goal direct from a corner, before Sam Foley levelled in the second-half.
And Flitcroft reflected that at times his side weren't composed enough on the ball at times in the game.
He said: "It was a well-earned and hard-earned point but it's disappointing not to have won when we'd been 1-0 up.
"We had to defend about 25 corners and did that really well, but the one where we didn't was the one they scored from.
"When you come here you have to be able to defend the direct approach and overall we did that, but that one lapse cost us the three points.
"There weren't all that many chances and we didn't commit or do enough to win it, so we have to make sure we are tidier in our work as today we weren't as pristine or calm as we normally are. There was an edginess to our performance."
Flitcroft says his job now is to settle the players down for a crucial Easter weekend that will see Stags host Morecambe and then travel to Oldham Athletic.
He said: "We will work on things in training as we need to get the lads feeling good about themselves. We were too frantic in the first-half and too rushed, and needed to show more composure but we can sort that.
"These boys are really trying. Sometimes they try too hard. Today we had to show a different side to our game, with resilience, togetherness and spirit.
"The fans were unbelievable again and here in great numbers but our goal didn't settle us which was a bit of a worry. We were up against a side in mid-table but with lads fighting for contracts and first team places and their livelihoods. So it was never going to be easy."
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft calls for calm and composure from players for the big promotion run-in
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft will try to calm his players down and focus on being more composed ahead of their massive Easter weekend.
The Stags go into their last four games in the third and last of the automatic promotion places with a home game against Morecambe on Good Friday quickly followed by a trip to Oldham Athletic on Easter Monday.
But, although Flitcroft is aware how much his players care, he is concerned they are rushing things as the pressure mounts to achieve.
He said: “These boys are trying, but you could argue they are maybe trying too hard and not staying calm. It is important to have a composure about your work.
“We will be working on that this week and making sure when the heat is on and they’re feeling on top, they’ve probably got more time than they think.
“I know how to up that pressure and intensity this week and get us to make calm decisions. The next time we perform we will be better at that.”
Flitcroft said he was excited about the big Easter weekend and the run-in to the end of a thrilling season.
“It’s a stage of the season that you want to be in that top three,” he said.
“You want to have your destiny in your own hands and we’ve still got that. So that’s something to be excited about.
“I said a few weeks ago there’s going to be more twists and turns - there always is. You are never out of a fight until you draw your last breath.
“We are certainly fighting. The players care. That is one thing I can assure anyone connected with Mansfield Town - this group of players care.
“They care about each other, they care about doing well for our supporters and doing well for the football club.
“We have just got to make they are not over-trying, which tenses you up a little bit. We need to get the boys more relaxed for the weekend.
“I have now got to make sure I settle the boys down for a really big weekend. I need to get the boys feeling good about themselves and let them understand where they are, then we will go and kick on again.”
Mal excited for Easter fixtures
mansfieldtown.net, 13 April 2019
Mal Benning is looking forward to Stags’ potentially crucial Easter double header, the wing-back said following today’s 1-1 draw away to Northampton Town.
Benning opened the scoring at the PTS Academy Stadium this afternoon as his delivery from a corner somehow sailed past a crowd of bodies and into the Northampton goal.
The Cobblers, though, restored parity in the second period via Sam Foley’s header - ensuring the points were shared.
And the Stags’ number 3 looked ahead to the next two fixtures, Morecambe and Oldham Athletic, while giving praise to the Stags’ faithful.
“It’s one of them where every game is going to be tough,” Benning said. “It’s a crucial part [of the season].
“There’s two important games and these last four are going to be very important, especially with MK [Dons] on the last day.
“But we can’t look too far forward; we just have to concentrate on Morecambe and Oldham and hope to get the results.
“A point away from home is great. We’ve still got four games left and we have a home game on Friday so it’s just looking forward to that Easter weekend and hopefully a couple of big results.
“We can’t fault the support both home and away and we could hear them throughout the game, especially when it was going through a dry patch where no team really controlled it.
“I think there were almost 1,500 here today so they’re obviously backing us.
“They tried their best and the team tried their best so we can’t say we didn’t turn up or anything.”
The former Walsall defender stated that Mansfield were disappointed to have been held to a draw following a battling display on the road.
“We only switched off on one set piece and it’s just one of them where they’d get on the end of one of them, I suppose, with how many they had.
“We didn’t expect it, the gaffer showed us clips but obviously throughout we had to deal with high balls. It’s a different test and I though we dealt with it quite well without getting three points.
“We’re disappointed but it’s still in our hands - there’ll be twists and turns yet.”
The 25-year-old’s third goal of the season arrived in spectacular fashion when his corner kick needed no diversion to break the deadlock on 12 minutes.
But Benning, in a humble manner, admitted that praise had to go towards the management staff who had issued the orders.
“Credit has to go to the management staff on the set piece,” he continued.
“It’s one that they told us to do. We had a big lad, Sweens, on the front post and it’s just aimed towards there. Obviously, with the curl the ball had and it missing Sweens it went in.
“I was told to just aim into that area and that it would go in if Sweens misses it, but if he’d connected with it, it’d have gone in anyway.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Mal's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Content Curle happy with Cobblers display in Mansfield draw
northamptonchron.co.uk, by JAMES HENEGHAN
A point was the least the Cobblers deserved after they matched the high-flying Stags, who remain in the automatic promotion spots in League Two despite dropping two points at the PTS.
"The result is obviously important but what's also important is the level of performance and I thought it was very good today," said Curle.
"I thought we played on the front and we matched them. The challenge for the changing room was to go up against a team second in league, who are there on merit, and the players had to accept that challenge, enjoy it and go and face it head on. We did that, individually and collectively."
Once again set-pieces formed Northampton's main threat and it cam as no surprise when Foley headed in Pollock's excellent delivery midway through the second-half.
Curle added: "We try to have variation in our set-pieces because we are a threat from them, not only with the movement and the creativity of the movement but also the quality of delivery, whether that's Scott Pollock or David Buchanan.
"We've also got other options to take corners and we have a good understanding of where we need the ball to be delivered and then we need the desire and application to get on the end of it.
"Sometimes it's about keeping the ball alive and sometimes it's about having a chance at goal and taking it. We did that today."
KEITH CURLE PRAISES PERFORMANCE AFTER MANSFIELD DRAW
Cobblers boss Keith Curle praised the performance as he reflected on Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against promotion chasing Mansfield Town.
“The result is important but I thought the level of performance was very good,” he said.
“We played on the front foot and we had performances that worried Mansfield. The challenge to the players before the game was to go and compete with a team near the top of the league and they took that challenge head on.
“We are a threat from set pieces and it’s important you have variation.
“Scott Pollock has integrated into the group very well and he put in a performance that showed the belief we have in him. He has found a different pathway in to the game but he’s kept his focus and he deserved that today.
“There is going to be talk from now until the end of the season about the futures of certain players and I understand that but I think it’s important we talk about performances.
“Some players missed out today but it’s very good to have a full complement to choose from. It’s good for me to have options and I will play the young players if I feel the timing is right.”
Curle: Cobblers made high-flying Mansfield ‘look average’
northamptonchron.co.uk, by JAMES HENEGHAN
Promotion-chasing Mansfield Town were made to look ‘average’ by the Cobblers during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the PTS, according to manager Keith Curle and defender Jordan Turnbull.
The Stags made the trip to Northampton sitting second in Sky Bet League Two and boasting the best defensive record in the division as they looked to continue their promotion challenge following back-to-back victories over Exeter City and Cambridge United.
This is not being disrespectful but I thought we made them look average. They are a reliable and consistent team and they are a threat but I thought we matched them and we were on the front foot.
But they never got going against Town and were fortunate to be ahead at half-time after a first period in which they were second best, with Mal Benning’s early corner somehow finding its way into David Cornell’s net.
That was Mansfield’s only shot on target though the game - if it can even be classed as a shot - as Sam Foley’s header from a Scott Pollock corner earned a deserved share of the points for mid-table Cobblers.
“This is not being disrespectful but I thought we made them look average,” said Curle. “They are a reliable and consistent team and they are a threat but I thought we matched them and we were on the front foot.
“We had some performances that worried them. The challenge for the changing room was to go up against a team second in league and the players had to accept that challenge, enjoy it and go and face it head on. We did that, individually and collectively.”
Turnbull, who returned to defence on Saturday having mostly played in midfield this season, echoed the thoughts of his manager and felt the Cobblers should have been disappointed not to have won the game.
“I think we can be disappointed to come away with a point,” he added. “We’re unhappy with the goal we conceded because it came from a set-piece and that’s something we’ll have to look at.
“But throughout the game I thought we were solid, we were on the attack and our strikers did brilliantly to upset their defence so it’s disappointing that we couldn’t take all three points.
“We did well all over the pitch, especially Scotty in midfield because he helped break up play with Foles and the two strikers upset their defenders and I felt we were solid at the back so it was quite a comfortable afternoon for us.
“We didn’t have many clear-cut chances and that’s what we can work on but the performance is something we can build on.”