DEMPSTER, COOK, MARK COOPER REACTION
Stags showed ‘fantastic character’ in fightback - boss
mansfieldtown.net, 19 October 2019
Stags’ boss John Dempster has praised the ‘fantastic character’ shown by his side, as they overturned a 2-0 deficit to earn a point away at Forest Green Rovers.
Mansfield faced an uphill battle on 61 minutes when Jack Aitchison doubled the home advantage, but a brace from substitute Andy Cook restored parity.
Although conceding that his side ‘lacked quality’ this afternoon, the boss was pleased with how his charges fought back to ensure they did not leave The New Lawn empty-handed.
“After the hour, we were disappointed,” he told iFollow Stags. “Over the 90 minutes our quality was severely lacking and the players held their hands up for that.
“Good teams pick up points when they play poorly and in the second-half we were better. It was great for Cooky [Andy Cook] to come on, perform like he did and get the two goals.
“We were lacking in quality today, but what fantastic character to come back the way we did. It’s a good point on the road.
“Character is important in any team if they are to be successful and that was there in abundance today.
“We wanted to attack Forest Green, but the way Forest Green played and passed the ball, we couldn’t get bodies up the pitch.
“I thought they [Forest Green] were a very good side and probably one of the best sides we’ve played all season. They are a very young side who are talented on the ball.
“It’s a good point which we would have certainly taken after the hour. They showed real character and Cooky showed his quality.
“For large parts of the game, Forest Green were in the ascendancy, but that said, we could have won it. Cooky had a snapshot on the edge of the box and their ‘keeper pulled off a really good save.
“The lads know that the quality was lacking. But we spoke in previous weeks about being a team that can pick up points when we’re not at our best. Today was certainly an example of that.”
The manager emphasised that his side must improve on the ‘basics’ if they are to see an increase in performance levels from today’s encounter against Forest Green.
“We have a big game on Tuesday night [against Salford] where we can hopefully perform better and pick up some more points,” he added.
“It’s about doing the basics well and in the first 50 to 60 minutes today we didn’t do them very well.
“We didn’t really link up like we can or pass the ball with any purpose or quality. If we do that better on Tuesday night, the performance will be better and it will give us a good opportunity of picking more points up.”
“I want to see the same character [against Salford] but the quality levels need to go up. Salford will be a different test to Forest Green.”
Prior to the match at The New Lawn, it was confirmed that top scorer Danny Rose will be sidelined for four to six weeks with an ankle injury. The boss explained how the injury occurred, saying: “We got Danny out on the training field on Thursday, which was a massive positive as he had been feeling his groin.
“The medical team managed to get him out on Thursday and he felt really good. We were doing a crossing and finishing drill and he went over on his ankle unopposed and he was in quite severe pain.
“We got him off the [training] pitch right away and got him in for a scan. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be four to six weeks at least because there is quite a lot of ankle damage.
“I’m disappointed for Danny [Rose] because it’s a real blow for him as he’s up there with the top scorers in League Two.”
Midfielder Alex MacDonald was another absentee from the matchday squad, with John Dempster expecting the former Oxford United man to return to training on Monday.
“We’re hoping that Macca [Alex MacDonald] will train on Monday. He’s been a player who has been very consistent this season.
“He is somebody that brings a lot to the party on and off the pitch. He will hopefully train on Monday and if he does, he’ll be in contention for Tuesday night [against Salford].”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch John Dempster’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Mansfield Town boss John Dempster delighted with Andy Cook brace and character shown by his below-par side at Forest Green
chad.co.uk, Saturday 19 October 2019
Mansfield Town boss John Dempster was delighted to see interval sub Andy Cook bag two crucial goals to earn below-par Stags a superb 2-2 draw at Forest Green Rovers today.
Trailing 2-0, Stags were hauled level by the first two goals of Cook’s Mansfield career after a difficult start to the season.
“I am really pleased for Cooky as I am sure he’s been frustrated with the injury and lack of game time,” said Dempster.
“It was fantastic for him to come on and perform like he did and all the players are in the changing room patting him on the back.
“It was a change that worked. I have made substitutions this season and some of them haven’t worked and some of them have.”
Dempster admitted his side had lacked quality today but was pleased with the character they showed in the fight back.
“After the hour we were disappointed. I think over the 90 minutes our quality was severely lacking - and the players hold their hands up for that,” he said.
“But good teams pick up points when they play poorly.
“Second half we were better and it was great for Cooky to come on and perform like he did and get the two goals.
“We did lack quality today but what fantastic character we showed to come back the way we did and it’s a good point on the road.
“Character is important in any team if you’re going to be successful and the players have shown that in abundance today.”
Stags had set their stall out to take the game to Rovers but found the high-flyers in fine form.
“We wanted to attack Forest Green and we played with Nicky (Maynard), CJ (Hamilton) and Otis (Khan) up there, but the way Forest Green played and passed the ball we ended up being pinned back and couldn’t get bodies up there.
“I thought they were a very good side, probably one of the best teams we’ve played so far this season. What Mark Cooper has built here is very impressive.
“When they lose the ball they work very hard to get it back which is what we found difficult in particular in the first hour.
“We can do better. It’s a good point and we’d have taken it after the first hour. Credit to the players - they showed real character and Cooky showed his quality.”
He added: “Conrad (Logan) had made a couple of good saves and the first goal took a deflection. He had a very good game which tells you that for large parts of the game Forest Green were in the ascendency.
“Having said that, we could have won it. Cooky’s had a snapshot on the edge of the box and their keeper has pulled off a good save and it’s just gone wide of the post. On reflection, though, it’s a point gained.”
Stags were without top scorer Danny Rose at Forest Green after a training injury which will see him out for up to six weeks.
“We got Danny out on the training field on Thursday, which was a massive positive as he had been feeling his groin,” he said.
“He was feeling really good and it was just one of those thing when we were doing a crossing and finishing drill.
“He went over on his ankle unopposed and it was quite a bad one. You could see he was in quite severe pain.
“We got him in for a scan and were hoping it would be two to three weeks but it looks like it will be four to six weeks.
“We are disappointed for him. It’s a blow as he is up there with the top scorers in the league, but it’s an opportunity for other people to step up as Cooky did today.”
Stags hope Alex MacDonald will train on Monday, having missed today with a hip problem, with hope he can be fit to face visiting Salford City on Tuesday.
Alex MacDonald expected back from injury as Mansfield Town host first ever visit by new boys Salford City
Midfielder Alex MacDonald looks set to return to the Mansfield Town squad as they prepare to host the first ever visit of EFL new boys Salford City tomorrow night (7.45).
MacDonald missed out on Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Forest Green Rovers with a hip injury but has trained today.
Stags also welcome back defender Ryan Sweeney after serving a one-game ban.
But midfielder Jacob Mellis is still out with his hamstring strain, though could be back for the weekend, defender Hayden White sits out the last of his three games suspended, and striker Danny Rose is out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury.
Salford have had an identical start to the season as Mansfield with four wins and five draws in their first 14 games, Stags one place above them on goal difference.
“We need to show the same character tomorrow but the quality levels need to go up,” said Mansfield boss John Dempster.
“Salford will be a different test to Forest Green.
“Forest Green are very technical and like to dominate possession while Salford are also a good footballing side but will also bring more physical attributes that we will have to deal with.
“We will analyse the Forest Green game and put a game plan together to combat Salford.”
Two-goal hero discusses comeback draw
mansfieldtown.net, 19 October 2019
Striker Andy Cook maintained that keeping Mansfield Town’s unbeaten run intact was the most important factor after his second-half brace rescued a point against Forest Green Rovers.
Stags’ boss John Dempster introduced the frontman into the action at half-time after seeing his side fall behind to midfielder Aaron Collins’ long-distance effort.
And despite the hosts striking again on 61 minutes, the former Walsall man ensured his side would leave The New Lawn with a point following two well-taken goals.
Cook’s first strikes in amber and blue filled him with pride but he ultimately turned his attentions to the overarching result.
“It was nice to come on and get off the mark,” he began.
“It’s my first league goals for the club - but the main thing is getting the draw to keep the unbeaten run going.
“Otis put the ball in the box and I knew straight away it was a great ball.
“The second one [goal] was a little scrappy in the box but it fell to me and I hit it.
“The ‘keeper’s got a touch to it and I didn’t think it was going to go in but eventually it did, so happy days for that!”
The 29-year-old also revealed how he was told to operate in the second period, despite being absent from the dressing room at half-time.
“I wasn’t in there [the dressing room] because I was warming up. I was told to go up top, be a nuisance and be big and strong.
“That goal [Forest Green’s second] woke us up and we started to create more chances. We were unlucky not to get the winner.”
Cook divulged his thoughts on his current place in the Stags’ roster as he eyes up more opportunities as a result of his brace on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m buzzing because I’ve not really played as much as I’d like to have played,” he continued to tell iFollow Stags.
“You’ve got [Danny] Rose and Nicky [Maynard] who have been doing well, and obviously I need to get match fit.
“The manager picks the team what he thinks is going to win the game, so hopefully the two goals will get me a start.
“It’s a hard place to come. Not many teams will come here and take a point off them so I think we’re all happy, especially being a two down.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Andy's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later this evening.
Andy Cook hoping for first League Two start for Mansfield Town after match-saving brace at Forest Green
chad.co.uk, Saturday 19 October 2019
Mansfield Town striker Andy Cook is hoping his crucial second half brace at Forest Green Rovers today will earn him a first League Two start for the Stags against Salford City on Tuesday.
A big summer signing, goal ace Cook has seen his chances limited after early season injury and other strikers performing well.
But the half-time sub was the hero in the 2-2 draw at the New Lawn with his first two goals for the club and almost bagging a winner at the end too.
“The manager picks the team he thinks is going to win the game and hopefully the two goals will get me a start,” said Cook.
“I am buzzing. I’ve not really played as much as I’d have liked to.
“Rosey (Danny Rose) and Nicky (Maynard) have been doing well and I need to get match fit.
“So it was nice to come on and get off the mark - my first goals for the club, but the main thing was getting a point and keeping the unbeaten run going.
“I was told we were going 4-4-2 and to go on, be a nuisance and be big and strong.”
Looking back at the goals, he said: “Otis (Khan) put the ball in the box for the first and as soon as it came in I knew straight away it was a great ball and I thought it’s my chance to get my first goal.
“For the second one, it was just a bit scrappy in the box and it just dropped to me and I hit it. The keeper got a touch to it and it spun in. I didn’t think it was going to go in but it eventually did. Happy days with that.”
Cook almost won it with a third and said: “I thought it was going in. I think it took a bit of a deflection and it had killed the keeper but he got a good hand to it and knocked it round the post.”
He added: “I think their second goal woke us up and we started creating more chances - we were unlucky not to get the winner.
“We are happy as not many teams will come here and take a point off them.”
Otis Khan @OtisKhan63
A good fight back to get a point out of the game congrats to @andy9cook opening his account safe trip back to all the travelling fans
Conrad Logan @conradlogan
Well done @andy9cook
Hard earned point today the team dug in right till the end, buzzing for @andy9cook getting off the mark, now onto Tuesday
Dapo Afolayan @dapo_afolayan
Brilliant comeback today to earn a point! Buzzing for @andy9cook scoring the goals! Travelling stags were great as always, have a safe trip home
Danny Rose @dannyrose_32
GET IN YOU BIG HORSE
Drewe Broughton - High Performance Coach @DreweBroughton
So pleased for the big man today. It’s hard when you are being kept out by others form. To continue to stay in the day and not get despondent is tough. He’s been magnificent daily. Working , doing extra work and scored two great goals today.
Two brilliant goals from the big man. He kept his head in the day, kept the voices at bay and waited for his chance. Fucking hard to do!!
Mark Cooper hails Forest Green Rovers' 'best performance of the season' but bemoans 'lack of professionalism'
gloucestershirelive.co.uk, By Bobby Vincent, 19 OCT 2019
Here’s what Forest Green head coach Cooper said to the press after the game:
I don’t think you’ll be too pleased with that second-half performance, would you?
“(It’s our) best performance of the season - 2-0 up, into the second-half, great bit of play to get the second goal, so we have to win the game. We played well, we had 21 shots, seven or eight on target. It’s the most one-sided game I’ve seen in a long time.”
They only had two chances and scored both of them. That must be disappointing to you?
"Horrendous defending and goalkeeping. The boys know that. The performance was spot on, we have to win the game. Individually, you make sure you mark your man in the box and you make sure you keep it out if it’s a daisy-cutter. We (had to) see the game out, but we didn’t. Once we scored our second goal, we conceded straight away. (It’s) just a lack of professionalism.”
In the first-half, you played tremendously well. The best performance of the season, I thought
“It’s our best performance of the season, so it’s important we maintain and keep a level-head and we’re still in a very good position. Sometimes you get the performance, but not the result you deserve. If you defend sloppily for a little period, it just shows it can end in the back of your net.”
It’s a quick turnaround, back up against Morecambe on Tuesday
“We need to perform. If we can perform like that regularly then we will win games of football.”
It sounds like you’ve taken a lot more positives out of that game than negatives
“It’s a young team, but they have to learn that when you’re that dominant in a game of football, then you have to win the game. 2-0 up, cruising, then they score within 10 seconds. We’ve got enough nous on the pitch to make sure we win the game and go and score a third and fourth.”
Could you feel the opening of the game was stopped a lot by the whistle?
“It’s just normal.”
Forest Green 2 Mansfield Town 2 - REACTION AND RECAP: Mark Cooper's verdict after Rovers are held by Mansfield
FOREST GREEN head coach Mark Cooper labelled his side’s performance as the best of the season after Forest Green relinquished a two-goal cushion.
“That was the best performance of the season,” said Cooper.
“We’re 2-0 up into the second-half and that’s the most one-sided game I’ve seen in a long time, sometimes you get the performance, but not the result you deserve.
“We had 21 shots and seven or eight on target. Our performance was spot on - we have to win the game.”
Cooper bemoaned two errors that allowed Mansfield to claw their way back into the game.
He added: “Individually you make sure you mark your man when the ball is in the box and keep the ball out of the net when it’s a daisy cutter and see the game out.
“Once we scored the second goal, we let them score straight away, just a lack of professionalism, but we should have enough nous on the pitch to make sure we go on and score a third or fourth.”
And it was rookie Mansfield Town boss John Dempster who lauded the impact of substitute Cook after his second-half brace rescued a point for the Stags at promotion-chasing Forest Green.
Dempster, 36, the youngest manager in the EFL, said: “After an hour we were disappointed, the quality was seriously lacking, and the players have held their hands up.
“They showed fantastic character and it’s a good win on the road and a real smash and grab.
“The first goal took a bit of a deflection, but our keeper kept us in it, we can do better, but it’s a good point and Cookie showed his quality with his double and really made a difference against one of the best teams we’ve faced this season.”
Latest | October 2019