FLITCROFT, MICHAEL FLYNN REACTION
Manager reflects on penalty heartbreak
mansfieldtown.net, 12 May 2019
Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has delivered his post-match verdict following this evening’s play-off semi-final second leg against Newport County.
Mansfield displayed a spirited performance and created several opportunities in the second-half to open the scoring, yet eventually fell to a 5-3 defeat on penalties after a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes of action.
The manager says he is ‘floored’ by tonight’s result.
“We’ll have a mourning process and a grieving process,” he began. “We felt that after we didn’t go up [against MK Dons].
“To lift the lads and put in that performance against Newport [on Thursday] was massive.
“We went down there [Newport] and gave a galvanised performance. I’ve had the referees’ association apologising for the two things they got wrong at Newport.
“In the second leg, both teams have gone out full throttle to try and win a game of football. The passion and the commitment was there.
“In those big moments, we just didn’t seal the deal. It must have been one hell of a game to watch because the two teams left everything out there.
“I’m just gutted for the players and gutted for the supporters, who were unbelievable tonight. That’s the best I’ve been involved in at a stadium where I’ve been [the manager].
“The support they gave us was phenomenal. I’m disappointed for our chairman [John Radford] and Carolyn [Radford, chief executive], because they have supported me brilliantly and I wanted to give them that day at Wembley.
“We have some thinking to do. I’m floored because everyone has put so much into this season. The supporters turning up at MK Dons, and then here tonight. So I’m floored, and there’s a lot going through my head.”
The Stags’ boss described the post-match scenes as the ‘toughest five minutes’ he has suffered in football.
“It’s tough. It’s probably the toughest five minutes I’ve had, listening to Newport celebrate in the dressing room next to us.
“All credit to Newport in the first-half, they created a couple of chances. We got into half-time and I felt we were a little lucky.
“Second-half, the lads came out all guns blazing. We looked threatening and we got a foothold in the game.
“In those big moments, when you have the momentum, you have to go and win it.
“I said to the players in the huddle before the penalties, it takes real bravery to step up and take a penalty.
“It’s difficult for Tyler [Walker]. The kid’s distraught in there. He’s a Nottingham Forest player, but he’s been Mansfield through and through - he’s been a Stag.
“He’s distraught, but he hasn’t let us down. This kid has had to carry [us] at times. He’s had to do that a lot this season and has scored many winning goals.
“It’s my job now to lift the group. It was important we absorbed some of their celebrations, because they have deserved it.
“It [getting to Wembley] was something we desperately wanted. We’ve not achieved that, and it’s a tough one. It’s a real hard one.”
Looking ahead to the future, David Flitcroft says that Mansfield must become more ruthless in the ‘big moments’ of matches.
“It’s always fight or flight in those big moments. You have to take those opportunities and stand up and be counted.
“In 95 percent of what we’ve done this season, we’ve been excellent, but in that five percent we have to improve to become winners.
“We have to become more ruthless in big moments in big games. If we had done that, we’d have had an improved season.
“It’s that five percent that I have to look into. It’s that five percent that we have to move forward with and get better in.
“They [players] have been consistent and kept their standards high, but we’ve just not got over the line.”
To watch the manager’s interview in full, head to mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
David Flitcroft urges Mansfield players to feed from the pain of play-off semi-final defeat
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Sunday 12 May 2019
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft told his players to listen to Newport County's post-match celebrations and vow to never suffer that feeling again after tonight's League Two play-off semi-final defeat.
Stags lost on penalties after a thrilling 120 minutes ended goalless and Flitcroft said: “Our dressing room is back to back with Newport's so I told the players keep quiet, listen, absorb it, understand it and come out of that fighting.
“Don't ever have this experience again. It's horrible and cruel. I felt sick listening to their celebration.
“It just comes down to big moments and 95 per cent of our season I'd find it difficult for anyone to argue that it's not been good.
“Our standards have been consistent and good. It's the other five per cent that we've not done that's not got us over the line. That's the bit we need to improve on for next season.”
Two major decisions went against Mansfield in the first leg with County lucky not be down to 10 men early in the game and then gifted a penalty that replays show wasn't one.
“I felt a bit hard done by over the first leg at Newport,” he said.
“I have had an apology from the Referee's Association about the two incidents they got wrong. So this could have looked different. I really wanted to bring home a lead into the second leg.
“But tonight you've seen two sets of players and staff go all out full throttle to try to win a game of football and how a goal wasn't scored in open play I haven't a clue.
“It was like a slug out. We left ourselves open and vulnerable at times and so did they. We have had good chances.
“The lads gave it everything they had - they left it all out there. That's all I can ask of them.
“Massive respect for Newport. They gave us one hell of a game here as they did there and I wish them well at Wembley.”
Stags were without influential midfielder Neal Bishop after he was ruled out with injury and Flitcroft admitted: “He was always going to be a miss.
“It was a late call. He had a fitness test. He tore his calf in the first leg and just couldn't get it going.
“He tried everything - tablets and injections - but he was still struggling. He has been a driving influence all season.”
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft backs striker Tyler Walker after play-off penalty miss
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Sunday 12 May 2019
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft has told distraught striker Tyler Walker to put tonight's costly penalty miss behind him as Newport County pipped Stags to the League Two play-off final.
After 120 minutes failed to separate the sides, Walker saw his kick saved by Joe Day before Matt Dolan sealed the win.
Flitcroft said: “I've taken them myself and it's about people stepping up. Those who stood up tonight had the courage to do so.
“It was a great save from Tyler's. I have just said to him don't carry that around with you.
“You have been unplayable at times. You have been outstanding for us this season. You have carried us with having other strikers out injured.
“Our goals conceded has had to be that good with only one striker carrying us.”
He added: “The kid is distraught and he will need some picking up.
“I will continue to give him that unconditional fatherly support I have given all season. He is a young player with immense potential and promise.”
David Flitcroft told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"This was the most difficult job that I've ever had coming into this place that was broken that was wrong in every way. No moral values. It did not match my own values. We've had to work really hard with staff and everybody connected with the club. We've had to work really hard on that."
"The supporters have been phenomenal."
"It hurts man. It hurts!"
John Radford @JRadfordMTFC
I'm hurting after that as my love for this club is beyond words.
The measure of a club, though, is how you react and advance from adversity.
This setback should only make us stronger, as one united club.
A special mention to our fans who have been magnificent all season.
Neal Bishop @NealBish
Hurting deep tonight, can’t quite find the right words, but thankyou to everyone that has helped/supported us through this season, ultimately, we have failed and I’m gutted beyond words. We have to take this pain and make sure it never happens again, thanks again
Ryan Sweeney @RyanSweeney97_
Can't put into words how gutted I am right now. Thanks for your unbelievable support this season it's been a pleasure We'll be back stronger than ever all the best to Newport in the final
Conrad Logan @conradlogan
Difficult way to finish the season and one that is hard to take. Everyone that supported @mansfieldtownfc this season be proud of yourselves you have been fantastic and the boys appreciate it massively. Good luck to @NewportCounty in the final
Willem Tomlinson @WillemWillem8
Apologies to the fans that’s showed unbelievable support since I’ve been here and all season, no one is more disappointed and hurt than us. Time to rest up and be ready to put it right next season
Mal Benning @Mal_1993
After a whirlwind couple weeks. Just wanted to thank all the fans for backing us this season! I know we fell just short, but this club has progressed massively over the 4 years being here and was so close to achieving promotion this season. It has been a great year for the club in terms of progression in every department from on the field to off it and it has helped me achieve some objectives I set myself. We will continue to strive for promotion this club deserves! But for now it’s time to rest up and refocus
Jacob Mellis instagram
Disappointing end to the season that hurts a lot but I can honestly say it's been the most enjoyable in my professional career. some Of the football we played at times was a pleasure to be involved in.
Danny Rose instagram
Horrible way to end the season. Disappointed we didn’t get over the line but we go again next season. Thankyou for all your amazing support throughout the season.
CJ Hamilton instagram
Not the way any of us wanted the season to end, which still hurts a lot of us now.. Time to recharge & prepare for next season..Want to say a massive thanks to all the fans for your amazing support this season. can’t wait to get back for pre season already #22 #yellows
Newport County boss had 'full faith' in shootout heroes
By Andrew Penman, southwalesargus.co.uk
THEY should have won it in normal time and could have lost it in extra-time, but Newport County AFC manager Michael Flynn insists he had “full faith” in his players to prevail on penalties at Mansfield Town.
Nothing could separate the sides after a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade and a 0-0 thriller after 120 minutes at Field Mill.
But Joe Day’s save from Tyler Walker and Matty Dolan’s cool head secured a 5-3 win in the shootout and sealed a place in the League Two play-off final on May 25.
“It’s a fantastic, amazing achievement for these players,” said Flynn afterwards.
“I thought we were excellent; we were absolutely superb. We should have gone three or four up in the first half.
“In the second half they came back into it and they had a few chances.
“And extra-time was like a basketball game with chances at either end. For the neutral it must have been brilliant.
“I was alright during the penalties,” added the Exiles boss.
“It was one of those situations where what will be, will be.
“But I had full faith in these players. We went through the list and I asked them what position they wanted to take penalties in and every single one of them got the position they wanted, and every single one of them scored.
“I told Joe it was about time he saved a penalty, and he saved the best ‘til last!
“He was fantastic. He made a couple of really good saves. He’s been a rock for us.”
Flynn had a simple message to his players after the final whistle.
“I’ve just said to the players, ‘here’s your challenge; in 13 days’ time do we want to be Newport County AFC in League One?’
“It’s an unbelievable achievement [to get to the final] and I cannot praise these players and my staff highly enough.
“They have been absolutely superb.
“We’ve had a lot of challenges, but we’ve got a board who support things as best as they can. There’s no sugar daddy there.
“And we’ve got a fantastic group of supporters who have been there through thick and thin. This is for them.
“I’m hugely proud,” he added.
“I’m going to have to buy a new suit now! I might get a black and amber suit for Wembley.”
Asked if he felt for Mansfield after they were consigned to another year in League Two.
“No, I’ve got to be honest, I don’t,” said Flynn. “I’d rather it be them in that position than me.
“I think David Flitcroft, his staff and his players have been fantastic.
“They finished fourth in the league and, in all honesty, they should have gone up in the position they were in.
“That’s not my concern, but they’re a class act and David is someone I’ve got a lot of time for. I wish him well.”
Newport County boss Michael Flynn beams with pride after securing play-off final place
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Sunday 12 May 2019
Newport County boss Michael Flynn had nothing but the highest praise for his underdogs after they pipped Mansfield Town in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to reach the League two Wembley Play-Off final.
Joe Day saved Tyler Walker's spot kick before Matt Dolan netted the decisive penalty after a thrilling game had somehow ended 0-0 after 120 breathless minutes.
“It is a fantastic achievement,” smiled Flynn.
“What an amazing thing these players have gone and done. I thought we were excellent today - absolutely superb and we should have gone three or four up first half.
“Second half they came back into it a little bit and had a few chances of their own. Then extra-time was like a basketball game - end to end. For the neutral it must have been brilliant.”
Flynn said he was calm when the game went to a shoot-out.
“It's one of those situations that what will be will be. But I had full faith in these players,” he said.
“I asked them what position they wanted take the penalties in, every single one of them go the position they wanted, and every single one of them scored.”
Keeper Day had a superb night and Flynn said: “Joe was fantastic. He made a couple of really good saves and then saved the best until last. He's been a rock for us.”
Now Newport prepare for Wembley and he added: “I just said to the players - here is your challenge. In 13 days time do we want to be Newport County AFC in League One?
“It is an unbelievable achievement and I cannot praise these players and my staff high enough.
“We have got through a lot of challenges. We have a board who support things as best as they can and a fantastic group of supporters who've stuck with us through thick and thin.”