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Archived News from March 2003

10th March 2003 18:57

Stags pair on tenterhooks
CHAD website
MANSFIELD Town were on tenterhooks today as they waited to see if central defenders Keith Curle and Rhys Day had won their appeals against suspension.
The pair suffered straight red cards against Oldham last week and, if their appeals are thrown out, they will both miss almost a third of the club's remaining 10 crucial games.
And, with only Matt Gadsby left as a recognised centre half at the club, it would require a swift move into the transfer market for cover on loan.
Player-manager Curle and Day were promised a decision by the end of this afternoon but as of 5pm had heard nothing.
Stags' players had their first post-match dressing room lock-in since Curle took over on Saturday after that miserable 3-1 defeat at bottom club Cheltenham.
"I have come to expect a certain standard of effort and commitment from my players and that was the first time they have not produced it.
"It's hard to say exactly what the problem was. Maybe the importance of the match got to them.
"They certainly lacked leadership on the field which is probably my fault for being suspended.
"But they looked like a team of young boys. That's no good to me - I need to be surrounded by men in our position and some of them have got to grow up very quickly.
"I can handle defeat but not without giving all those supporters who came down on Saturday the pride and passion they have shown in the previous 15 games or so.
"It was football naivity. Poeple didn't do their jobs and also didn't make sure other people did their jobs.
"I did have things to say at the end. But it was all done in a positive, constructive manner. The best thing to do is be honest with them.
"And we have to put that one performance behind us as a blip. It's gone now. Yes, it was a bad day at the office on Saturday but now it's back to business.
"It was good that they came in feeling down about the result on Monday. But they are young lads and have to realise there is no use dwelling on it. All they can do is learn from it and move fowards."
Circumstances conspired against Stags with injuries and suspensions, Cheltenham grabbing a very early goal after Keith Welch's first mistake since he joined the club and the Robin's debut keeper, Shane Higgs, is fine form. Also chances created were missed, notably a great opportunity near half-time by Wayne Corden.
"You can't give any side in our division a two-goal start," said Curle. "We were two down before we even started thinking about playing.
"I made them watch the video on the coach on the way home - I have seen it three times since - and Cheltenham don't even break us down again with their passing until the 40th minute.
"If we had pulled our goal back much earlier then I think they would have wobbled. It's not like we were complacent. I wouldn't allow that to happen. "They were told Cheltenham would try to put us on the back foot for the first 20 minutes with high-tempo football and we had to stand up to it. Instead we gave them a quick goal and Cheltenham grew in stature and confidence."
Curle had words of sympathy for keeper Welch who just four days before had preserved the win over Luton with a superb late save.
"Keith has done well since he came and, by his own high standards, he is disappointed as he knows he made a mistake," he said. "But he's not the only one. There were other things that should have happened before the ball got to him.
"Keepers are the last line of defence and I don't blame them for anything.
"It's not all doom and gloom - we have only lost one game.
"Look at Swindon, they had a bit of a blip and have gone on to string results together. And Notts County. Fair play to them - they had a blip against us and have kicked on from there.
"It doesn't matter which games we get them from - we just need to win some points. In our changing room we know the way forward and that is getting back to the standard of performance we had been producing."


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