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Archived News from October 2019

6th October 2019 18:02

Manager analyses slender loss
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 28 September 2019

Stags’ boss John Dempster has delivered his post-match verdict following this afternoon’s 1-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle.

Mansfield were the better of the two sides in the second-half but could not register an elusive equaliser following Conor Grant’s stunning long range strike in the first-half.

The manager says that the ‘effort’ and ‘bravery’ were there from his players but conceded that his side need to improve in the final third.

“[We lacked] that last bit of quality, whether it was a ball into the box or a finish. Effort and endeavour can’t be questioned today. They worked their socks off,” he said.


“But what you can question is that quality in the final third. It hasn’t been good enough today.

“There were two key moments in the game where both players [CJ Hamilton, pictured below and Andy Cook] have gone through one-on-one with the ‘keeper.

“CJ’s pace has got him in, his touch has let him down and Cooky managed to get a shot off, but the ‘keeper’s made a save. We expect both players to do better in those situations.

“We got into some good areas. Kellan Gordon got into some good areas in terms of crossing. Our set plays today were poor - we didn’t hit those right areas today.

“The strike that has won it, they’ll say it was a strike worthy of winning any game. But we’ll pick the bones out of it and look where we can do better previous to the strike.

“We felt that we could do better in terms of movement in the box and a lot of times our delivery hit the front man.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose, but I don’t want to be a manager who stands here and cries about bad luck. It’s our responsibility to make sure that things do go for us.

“We want to maintain the work ethic and the bravery on the ball, but the final piece is that bit of quality. That’s what we need.

“If you look at our last three performances, they’ve been positive. It will turn if you keep consistent with those levels of performance. But we need to get going and keep moving up that league table.

“Performance levels and effort levels were high today and bravery on the ball was good, intensity of press was there. Consistency [in those areas] is going to be key.”

The boss says that the Stags will look to improve by working hard on the training ground.

“We needed a goal. We had four centre forwards on the pitch so we threw the kitchen sink at them.

“There were a couple of blocked shots and a few deflections that would fall for us, but that’s not happening right now.

“What you have to do is dust yourself down and come back in on Monday. You either shrivel up into a ball and give in or stand up and be counted. Those are the two options and I know what I’ll be doing on Monday morning.

“[We will improve by] hard work in training, emphasising exactly what we need and what we want.

“Some of it is technical and some of it could be confidence because of where we are in the league at the moment.

“Hard work will see you through. Having watched the game, if you’re a neutral, there wasn’t anything in it. To lose at home is disappointing, but we have to dust ourselves down and go again.

“Confidence isn’t low, but that crucial moment and somebody stepping up and being the hero, is probably where we lacked today.”

John Dempster also provided updates on wing-back Hayden White (below) and goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik, who were both absent from today’s matchday squad.

“Hayden [White] had some issues on Thursday night and came into training on Friday not feeling great. We sent him back home to rest, but the club doctor advised him that if he was continuing with the pain, to go to A&E.

“The hospital have kept him in to do some testing on him as he’s got some severe stomach pain. It goes without saying that we wish Hayden well.

“The last update I had before the game was that the hospital had taken him in - I’ll be making a phone call to make sure he’s okay.

“Bobby [Olejnik] dislocated one of his fingers in training. We were pleased to have him back and competing for a place. We have a reserve game on Tuesday against Scunthorpe and Bobby is due back in the hospital on Monday.

“The possibility of him playing in that game on Tuesday is very slim because they need to check if there’s any ligament damage.”

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


John Dempster calls on Mansfield Town players to stand up and be counted after Plymouth defeat
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 28 September 2019

Mansfield Town boss John Dempster warned his players not to hide or crumble as their poor start to the season went on with a 1-0 home defeat by Plymouth today.

Apart from the result, Dempster was happy with another good performance in which Stags wasted good chances at the start and end of the game.

“The players are despondent as they know what they've put in today,” he said.

“But in those crucial moments it's about individuals stepping up and being the hero on the day. We lacked that today.


“The players have two options on Monday. You either give in and curl up into a ball or you come back fighting and dust yourself down down. That's certainly what I will be doing on Monday.

“No one hid. People were courageous, wanting the ball and helping each other.

“We just needed that little bit of quality. We got into good areas, but Plymouth defended well and scored a very good goal - and that was the difference today. You have to take your hat off to him for that finish.

“In terms of effort and endeavour, you can't question the boys. “They covered every blade of grass and we chucked the kitchen sink at them. We had four centre forwards on at the end.”

Missed chances by CJ Hamilton and Andy Cook proved costly in the end.

“We had two really good opportunities - CJ in the early stages and then Andy Cook near the end,” he said.

“We all know CJ's pace is electric and that's what gets him behind. But he took a bad touch and it ended up in the keeper's hands.

“Cooky will be disappointed he didn't do better with his chance, though he did hit the target and made the keeper work.

“Those are the opportunities you want to create, they are the effort levels you want to see and if those two opportunities end up as goals it's a completely different reflection on the game.

“It's a travesty we've not kicked into these performances earlier as over a period of time if you perform like that and put that effort in you will get results. We'd be higher up the table.”

Mansfield's bad luck over injuries continued with Hayden White and Bobby Olejnik ruled out today.

“Hayden went to A&E today with severe stomach pain and they have kept him in for further testing,” said Dempster.

“It was a hammer blow on Friday when Hayden told us he was struggling as he'd performed so well against Port Vale.

“Bobby dislocated his finger on Thursday as well. He probably won't be able to play for the reserves on Tuesday as he is back at the hospital on Monday to see if there is any ligament damage.

“We have had some bad luck but we won't harp on about it. We need to put things right."


'Stick with us,' says midfielder
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 28 September 2019

Midfielder Alex MacDonald has issued a ‘stick with us’ message to Mansfield Town supporters following a narrow 1-0 defeat against Plymouth Argyle.

The Stags produced a dominant second-half display in their latest fixture in Sky Bet League Two but it was a first-half strike that was the difference.

Midfielder Conor Grant’s long-distance strike in the 13th minute proved decisive as the away side travelled home with all three points.

And MacDonald subsequently stated that provided the players and fans stick together, results will soon turn in their favour.

“We’ll take our medicine tonight and Sunday and we’ll come in with a smile on our faces and our heads held high,” he told iFollow Stags.

“We’ve got to stick together as a club. It’s a position that we didn’t envisage ourselves being in, we don’t want to be in it, but as a group of professionals we hold ourselves accountable for where we are right now.

“I’m sure if we stick together, with the fans, we’ll start climbing this table.


“I’ve seen it before. I’ve been involved in good teams, good dressing rooms and it all comes from the training ground, and ours in the last couple of weeks has took a switch for the better.

“As a group of professionals we know if we keep putting the hard yards in, when it comes to a Saturday and we perform to the levels we are doing, I genuinely believe we’ll start climbing this table.”

The former Burton Albion man also believes that performances have been positive, but results have to follow suit.

“If you’re going off the last couple of games I’d expect us to come away with something. Certainly a win at Port Vale and being involved today I felt comfortable.

“They scored a great goal from distance but for large parts I didn’t think they would break us down.

“I’ve seen many teams have slow and sluggish starts; it just means we have to start hitting form.

“And it’s alright me saying that but we have to start hitting form, and it’s got to start happening soon.

“The mood obviously isn’t going to be as good as it has been, or as good as what it can be, but the only way to change that is by ourselves. We’ve got to come in bouncing on Monday.”

In addition, the 29-year-old felt his side lacked a clinical edge in the final third against the Pilgrims this afternoon.

“I thought from goalkeeper to their box we were good, not excellent, but it was solid display,” he continued.

“But that little bit of quality in the final third probably not taking our chances has ultimately cost us.

“We can create more clear-cut chances. We got into their final third many times we just seemed to fall short today.

“It’s a cliché that ‘goals change games’ and if we take our chance early on it could be a completely different game. We’re not quite doing that so we are where we are.

“We’re not kidding ourselves - we know our results haven’t been there - but what I can say is from the training ground to the last few performances I can say we’re just round the corner from the levels we need to be at to climb this table.”

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


Plymouth boss Ryan Lowe happy with gutsy win over Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 28 September 2019

Plymouth Argyle boss Ryan Lowe paid tribute to his side's gutsy display in today's 1-0 win at Mansfield Town.

Lowe said he had seen another side to his players over the game as they dug in and hung on to what they had with a Conor Grant wonder strike winning the day.

“It wasn't a good football performance but it was a gutsy performance,” he said.

“We have been criticised of late for conceding sloppy goals.


“ But today I have seen a different side to my team and they really put their bodies on the line.

“They've shown they can do it and they will now carry on doing it.

“They were resilient, made block tackles and George Cooper has a broken nose and a black eye.

“That's League Two football sometimes.”

Cooper ended the day at A&E after taking a Mal Benning boot to the face and Lowe said: “He was brave for us. Some players are pretty boys who don't like to get into those areas, but he has put his head on the line for us.”

He added: “We were not great. But we have footballed teams to death at times this season and not got any points for it.

“We dominated the first half and should have scored more.

“Conor popped up with a great goal. He has had to wait patiently and took his chance today. It was a fantastic strike.

“Without being too disrespectful, we felt our three attacking players against their three defenders today, we'd cause problems and we got our rewards. We wanted to get up against them and force them into errors - and we did.”


No Guts, No Glory
pafc.co.uk, by Rick Cowdery

ARGYLE manager Ryan Lowe hailed the Pilgrims for a ‘gutsy’ 1-0 victory at Mansfield and was pleased to see another side to his players’ abilities.

A superb first-half strike from recalled midfielder Conor Grant was the highlight of a performance in which Argyle gave no quarter to opponents who cranked up the pressure as the game progressed.

“Not a good football performance, but a good gutsy performance,” was Ryan’s summation of the victory, the Pilgrims’ first in six matches.


“I’ve seen a different side to my team today - resilient; their guts out; bodies on the line; block tackles; George Cooper’s broken his nose, got a big black eye. That’s football; that’s League Two sometimes; that’s the way Mansfield did it.

“Mansfield were always going to put pressure on you, always going to get at you. The pleasing thing for me is I know I’ve got characters in there who put bodies on the line.

“They can do it, and they will do it. We’ve just been talking about one of the other games that we played and we lost because of the way they played. Not today. No-one was beating us today.

“In terms of the performance, they wanted to win,

“The football wasn’t that great, but we’ve footballed teams to death this season and haven’t got any points for it. You can play football, and we play football right the way through - we know that.

“The first half was a dominant display. We should have scored more but we know where we are with that.

“Conor pops up with a great strike. We’ve been asking him to shoot and I’m pleased for Conor. He’s been having to wait patiently, and he’s taken his chance, certainly.

“We did play some good football. The goal we scored was fantastic but we want more. If you go in 2-0 up, the first half becomes much better.

“I would have liked to have scored a couple more goals, but the other end was fantastic.”

The win moved Argyle up to 12th in the League Two table, three points outside the play-off zone, and reignited hopes among the Green Army that the Pilgrims can challenge for promotion.

“There’s a long way to go,” said Ryan. “We’ve said that all along. I don’t get carried away and obviously expectations are up and down at the moment. That’s fine. We are where we are and that’s probably where we deserve to be - possibly two or three or four points off - but we’re a work in progress.

“We’re doing a fantastic job behind the scenes; we’re working hard; everything’s going good. It pays off - it is a good week to come to Mansfield and take three points.”


Ryan Lowe hails his Plymouth Argyle players for their 'gutsy' display in 1-0 win at Mansfield Town

Ryan Lowe described Plymouth Argyle’s 1-0 win away to Mansfield Town as ‘a good gutsy performance’ as they dug deep to pick up maximum points.

Conor Grant, recalled to the Pilgrims’ midfield for the League Two encounter at Field Mill, grabbed the decisive goal with a superb long-distance strike in the 13th minute.

Argyle came under a lot of pressure in the second half but strong defending limited Mansfield to only a few clear-cut chances.

When they were not getting their bodies in the way of shots and crosses, the Pilgrims saw ‘keeper Alex Palmer made a vital save from substitute Andy Cook in the 89th minute.

Lowe summed it when he said: “Not a good football performance, but a good gutsy performance.

“I think we have been criticised of late for conceding sloppy goals and, yeah, they have been poor goals.

“But you have seen the lads there put their bodies on their line. I have seen a different side to my team today.

“There was resilience, bodies on the line, block tackles, George Cooper has broke his nose and got a big black eye.

“That’s League Two football sometimes. That’s the way Mansfield done it. They put balls in to our box and we withstood it all.

“So I have seen a different side to us. The footballing weren’t great, but we have footballed teams to death this season and not got any points for it.”

Lowe thought Argyle had put in a ‘dominant display’ in the first half and should have scored more than once.

He said: “Conor pops up with a great strike and we have been asking him to shoot.

“I’m pleased for Conor because he has been having to wait patiently and he has took his chance today certainly.”

Argyle moved two positions up the League Two table to 12th after ending a run of five games without a win.

Lowe continued: “I have seen a different side to the boys this week, in terms of going and doing it.

“Yeah, you can play football - and we play football right the way through - but you have got to earn it.

“George Cooper going up for a header and getting his nose broke, lads putting bodies on the line, Gaz Sawyer blocking - all of them.

“So I have seen a different side to them boys today that they can do it, and they will do it from now on.

“We have just been talking about one of the other games we played and we lost because that’s the way they played.

“Well not today, because no-one was beating us today. Yeah, I would have liked to have scored a couple more goals but the other end was fantastic.”

Grant and defender Scott Wootton were recalled by Lowe for the game against Mansfield, as Josh Grant dropped down to the bench and Dom Telford was ruled out by a hamstring injury.

Lowe made a slight alteration to his usual formation, which was more 3-4-3 than 3-1-4-2.

That meant Joel Grant led the attack for Argyle, with Danny Mayor and Cooper either side of him, although a little deeper.

Conor Grant and Sarcevic were the two holding midfield players, flanked by wing-backs Joe Edwards and Callum McFadzean.

Lowe said: “We will do things what we need to do. We felt our three attacking players up against their three defenders would cause problems.

“When we pressed the way we pressed we got our rewards. That’s just tactical if you like.

“We thought ‘Let’s get up against them and force them into errors’ and we certainly did that, hence why I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get the second goal.

“But in terms of overall play we can play any formation. The formation doesn’t change really, one person just moves to the left, and if you know your stuff you will have seen that.

“That’s what happened. We pushed the front three right up and we had a nice solid four in the middle of the park.

"We broke them down every time, hence the chances we were creating going the other way.”


Conor's Cracker

MATCH-WINNER Conor Grant’s was as pleased with his team’s resilient attitude in defending their lead given to them by his first Argyle goal at Mansfield as he was with his wonder strike.

Conor fired home a 25-yard left-foot drive in the 13th-minute of the Sky Bet League Two contest at One Call Stadium to bust Argyle’s five-game winless streak.

After claiming his first Argyle goal in his 23rd appearance for the Pilgrims. He then joined a collective second-half team effort to keep the home side at bay.

“I’m delighted with the win,” he said. “We needed to get back to winning ways after recent results, but we’re very happy.

“There was probably a side [to the team] in the second half that we haven’t really seen enough of.

“When we lead the game like that, we have to dig in and fight for everything. It was a sweet feeling to get a 1-0 win in those circumstances.

“I thought we were good first half, but two halves are very rarely the same, so it was important that we dug in.

“They put a lot of pressure on us - we can’t deny that, it was clear to see - but we dug in as a team.

“My goalscoring record isn’t as good as it should be but I’m hoping that’ll give me the confidence to keep adding a few more goals.”

Having not been a part of the starting line-up for the past five matches, Conor could not have had a better game to come back into.

He said: “I had a little inkling [that I’d be starting], on Thursday in training and then had confirmation yesterday so I was obviously really happy.

“I always believed I could get in the team, but it’s been frustrating the last five games, not playing any football at all.

“[The goal has] been a long time coming. The ball came to me, I’ve had a good touch on my feet and, at that range I always fancy myself,

“I’m just happy to get the win. It’s a strange league; it’s quite an open league and a lot of teams can beat anyone, so it very important to get three points.

“To score a goal and keep a clean sheet is brilliant; it’s not always as easy as that, so it’s important.”

“I also think the way we won it was important - we had to battle for it, and it wasn’t just one way, it wasn’t all us.”

There was a slight change in formation in this afternoon’s game, went from 3-5-2 to 3-4-3, and it paid off.

“It’s a little different to the formation we normally play” he said. “We actually touched on it at Northampton; we changed in the second half; it’s not too dissimilar, but it worked today.”

Our next game is at Home Park, next Saturday, when we face Scunthorpe.

“We will analyse Scunthorpe as we analyse all the other teams and come up with a plan,” said Conor.

“We want to win as many games as possible. We haven’t done that recently but hopefully this win will kick us off.”



Latest | October 2019