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Archived News from December 2019

27th December 2019 17:26

Boss pleased with performance in first match
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 21 December 2019

Manager Graham Coughlan was pleased with the ‘work rate, attitude and commitment’ on show from his players this afternoon, but added that he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ to not get all three points after a good performance against Northampton.

The new Stags’ boss took charge of his first game in a 1-1 draw with play-off chasing Northampton this afternoon, with Andy Cook and Harry Smith on the scoresheet for either side.

The manager says he was ‘encouraged’ by plenty of the Mansfield display.

“I’m bitterly disappointed because we should have won the game,” he told iFollow Stags. “We had the better chances and the game should have been dead and buried.


“But I was really pleased with our work rate, attitude and commitment. There were lots and lots of positives.

“We got a little bit lucky in the first two minutes when their shot came off the crossbar, but the lads have worked their socks off in the last three days for me so we deserved that little bit of luck.

“But after that, we defended resolutely. We had to head it and put our bodies on the line.

“I loved the defending. The way we stuck our heads in and wore our hearts on our sleeves. I loved that little bit for the parts of the game where we had to defend.

“I also loved the way we picked the ball up, turned, and went at the opposition. There is plenty to work with.

“All-round, the crowd encouraged me, the players encouraged me - yes, I would’ve loved three points, but all-round I have to be relatively pleased against a promotion-chasing team.”

Graham Coughlan spoke of an improved second-half performance from his side, whilst also praising the support from the ‘immense’ home crowd.

“I wasn’t comfortable with the first-half. I felt like we were just running along with them and I thought we paid them a little too much respect.

“Yes they’re a promotion-chasing team and deserve to be there, but I just wasn’t getting enough from three or four individuals.

“They can do it and they showed it in the second-half. Now I just want that bit of consistency and a little bit more.

“I actually think the crowd got us over the line at the end of the game. You could see the lads were getting tired, but the reaction of the crowd after the [Northampton] goal - it was like we scored.

“They could see that they were leaving everything out on the pitch. I thought the crowd were immense today.

“They spend their money - which is hard to come by nowadays - they’re willing to come out the week before Christmas and support these lads. That’s immense.”

On how he decided on his first lineup as Mansfield boss, the former Bristol Rovers’ manager added: “I had to look at the date - who would run and who would chase for me. I had to get a little bit of pace.

“I thought Northampton were there to get at and I thought CJ Hamilton was excellent today. Macca [Alex MacDonald] were very good.

“To be honest I thought they were all excellent today and I feel bitterly disappointed that we didn’t win the game. But it’s something to build on.”

With the games coming thick and fast over the Christmas period, the Mansfield chief outlined the schedule for the festive programme.

“I thought we had to lift them and give them a little bit of confidence. The body language wasn’t great, so we had to pick them up and instil that self-belief.

“We had to let them know that they are good players. They’re at this football club for a reason. We had to get a little bit of structure and organisation into them, and that’s shone through today.

“The priority now is to work on the fitness levels and the creativity. But it will come. We have another massive game on Boxing Day, so we’ll have to get away and get ourselves geared up for that.

“It will be busy [over the next few days]. It’s the time that footballers dread as there’s plenty of work to be done!

“The lads won’t get much time off, as harsh as that sounds, but that’s not just this football club - it’s up and down the country.

“We’ll assess the game on Monday morning and turn our attention quickly to Port Vale on Boxing Day.”

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


New Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan thanks fans for helping his tired side hold on for a point against in-form Northampton Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 21 December 2019

New Mansfield Town manager Graham Coughlan believes the Stags supporters were the reason why his side hung on for a 1-1 draw under a late onslaught by promotion-chasing Northampton Town this afternoon.

Coughlan looked set to mark his first game in change with a victory after Andy Cook put them ahead 16 minutes from time.

But Harry Smith levelled with six minutes to go and the Cobblers pushed hard in the seven added minutes to shred the nerves of a bumper 4,496 crowd.

“I would have loved three points but all round I have to be relatively pleased with a point against a promotion-chasing team,” said Coughlan.


“I actually think the crowd got us over the line at the end of the game. The crowd got us the draw.

“They could see the lads were getting tired, you could see they were sinking. The reaction of the crowd after the goals went in, it was like we'd scored it.

“They got up and clapped the lads as they could see they were leaving everything out on the pitch. I thought the crowd was absolutely immense.”

He added: “The reception I got was great and it's my responsibility to make sure I get that the week after and the week after. That was brilliant. My missus and kids were here today and they would have felt that too.

“The fans were spending their money, which is hard to come by these days. They were willing to come out five days before Christmas to support these lads and that was immense.”

On the game, he added: “First half I think we might have paid them a bit too much respect because they are a promotion-chasing team.

“I just wasn't getting enough from three or four individuals that can do it - they showed it in the second half - and now I just want a bit of consistency.

“We defended manfully and wore our hearts on our sleeves. CJ and Macca did well and Andy Cook was different class up front.

“They were all excellent today and can feel bitterly disappointed tonight they didn't win the game. But it is something to build on.”


Striker full of praise for new boss
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 21 December 2019

Striker Andy Cook heaped praise on Mansfield Town manager Graham Coughlan after the new boss secured a point in his first game against Northampton Town.

The frontman notched his fourth goal of the season in style after catching the visitor’s ‘keeper unaware from distance, firing home with aplomb.

However, the former Bristol Rovers manager was denied a dream start at One Call Stadium as Harry Smith’s looping header restored parity six minutes from time.

Despite the equaliser, Cook detailed the Dubliner’s positive impact since his appointment on Tuesday afternoon.


“He [Coughlan] wants us working hard in training and everyone to give 100 percent and it’s been the same out there [on the pitch],” he said to iFollow Stags.

“He wants us pressing from the front. He wants us to press and cause problems, and that’s what we’ve done.

“I’ve been impressed. He’s come in and been a good coach - he’s going to be good for us.

“If players aren’t going to be working hard, I don’t think they’ll play it’s as simple as that. It’ll keep people on their toes.”

The 29-year-old - signed from Walsall in the summer - felt as though this afternoon’s contest was a battle Mansfield deserved three points from.

“It was a battle. I don’t mind that, though, and neither do the lads. We’ve all put a shift in and we were unlucky not to come away with the three points.

“We’ve had chances, missed chances but if we keep playing how did and work hard, those chances will go in.

“The gaffer just told us [at half-time] to keep doing what we were doing and we were unlucky not to come away with three points.”

In addition, the former Tranmere man believes he is now finding form after a ‘frustrating’ start to life in amber and blue.

“For me it’s been frustrating,” Cook continued. “At the start I didn’t really get going but I’ve scored in the last couple games, so hopefully I’ll keep going now.

“[Sometimes] I was on the pitch but I wasn’t getting chances. Now, though, I’m getting chances and I’m taking them.”

And on his fantastic strike, the No. 19 added: “Mal [Benning] has thrown it down the line and I was going to flick it, but the way it’s come in I thought I’ll turn.

“The space then opened up so I thought I’d take a shot and luckily it’s gone in.

“I saw the ‘keeper was a little to the side so I thought if I get it on target you never know where it’s going to go."

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


Andy Cook already impressed with new Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 21 December 2019

Mansfield Town striker Andy Cook has already been impressed by new boss Graham Coughlan in his first four days in charge.

Cook netted Stags' goal in today's 1-1 home draw with Northampton and said of Coughlan: “He has been good.

“He wants us working hard in training and everyone has given 100 per cent, the same out there today, and I think that's how it's going to continue.

“He wants us pressing from the front and causing problems.

“I have been impressed with him. He's a good coach and I think he is going to be good for us.


“If players are not going to be working hard then he won't play us. It's as simple as that. It will keep people on their toes.”

Stags led high-flying Northampton until six minutes from time and Cook said: “It was a battle that, but I don't mind that and the other lads don't. We've all put a shift in and we were unlucky not to come away with all three points.

“We missed chances and should have won it.

“The way things have been going we needed to play like that.”

On his goal from Mal Benning's throw-in, he said: “Mal threw it down the line and at first I was going to flick it down the line.

“But the way it came in I just took it down and turned, then space just opened up and I thought I'd shoot and it's gone in.

“I saw the keeper was a bit to the side so I hit it hard and on target as you never know where it's going to go.”

Cook has now scored in successive games and five overall and said of his season: “For me it's been frustrating.

“I've not really got going. But I have now scored in the last couple of games so hopefully I will get going now.

“I just wanted my chance. I was on the pitch but not getting chances. Now I am getting them and taking them.

“If we want to push up the table we need to win games over this Christmas period. That's the bottom line.”



Willem Tomlinson @WillemWillem8
Enjoyed being back out there, Must say the fans were outstanding today too stuck with us until the end.

Neal Bishop @NealBish
Hell of a long way to go, but great to see a togetherness today, fans, staff and players



Cobblers boss Keith Curle praised the response of his side as he reflected on Saturday’s 1-1 draw away at Mansfield.

“It was a very competitive game,” he said.

“Considering the manner of the game and the fact we were away from home I think it is definitely a point gained.

“This is a difficult place to come to and any point away from home in this league has to be earned.

“In the first half we probably had the best three chances of the game but in saying that Mansfield had some good chances in the second half.

“Things weren’t going our way but it showed the bravery and the character of the group to come back from a goal down.”



Northampton Town manager Keith Curle praised the character and determination of his team as he looked back on Saturday's 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town.

"We knew Mansfield would be tough opposition," he said.

"They have clearly been lifted by the arrival of a new manager and it was a tricky game for us away from home.

"No points are just handed out in League 2, you have to earn them and I know what a difficult place Mansfield can be to go to when they are at it, and they were on Saturday.

"Had we got ahead then Mansfield might have got the jitters and that might have changed the course of the game. We had some chances to score in the first half, including when Sam Hoskins hit the bar inside the first 20 seconds but it wasn't to be.

"We had the best chances of the first half, Mansfield had the best chances of the second half but we showed our character and determination to score late and take something from the game.

"It was a really competitive game and the scoreline shows that.

"We will look at the goal we conceded, there were plenty of things that we could have done to stop the goal and that is something we will take on board.

"Nicky Adams is always a threat and he showed that again on Saturday when he added another assist for Harry Smith.

"Alan McCormack came off after around an hour or so but he is fine. We only planned to give him an hour because he has had limited training time over the last couple of weeks. I know what we can get out of Alan, and we need him on the teamsheet as often as possible. If that means gradually building his game time back up, that is what we will do."


Curle: Stags draw 'definitely a point gained' for Cobblers
by JAMES HENEGHAN, northamptonchron.co.uk, Saturday 21 December 2019

Cobblers boss Keith Curle described Saturday's 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town as 'definitely a point gained' for his side after Harry Smith grabbed a late equaliser.

Smith headed in a cross from Nicky Adams with six minutes remaining to cancel out Andy Cook's goal earlier in the second-half.

Town had been the better side in the first-half and cracked the woodwork just 18 seconds in through Sam Hoskins, but a draw fairly reflected an even game after Mansfield improved in the second period.

"It's away from home and with the manner of the game, you'd definitely say it's a point gained," said Curle afterwards.


"No points in this division are given away and I know the football club here and I know it's a difficult place to come to so it's definitely a point gained for us

"If we had a goal in the first-half, that might have caused a few jitters and uncertainty and we had Sammy hitting the crossbar inside 30 seconds.

"People talk about new manager syndrome but anxiety might have set back amongst their players had that gone in and we probably created the best three chances of the first-half.

"Having said that, they probably had the best three chances of the second-half so it was a very competitive game and it showed the character and the bravery of the group to come back and get a point."


Curle critical of Cobblers' defending for 'avoidable' goal at Mansfield
by JAMES HENEGHAN, northamptonchron.co.uk

Cobblers boss Keith Curle was unhappy with his side's defending for Mansfield's 'avoidable' opening goal during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Field Mill.

With the game goalless after 74 minutes, Andy Cook was able to control a throw-in, bring the ball infield and fire between David Cornell and his near post, handing the Stags a 1-0 lead.

Harry Smith's superb header 10 minutes later grabbed a point for the Cobblers, but Curle didn't allow that to mask his disappointment with Cook's strike.

"It's definitely avoidable." he said. "If you have a look at it, the set was wrong from the throw-in because they're able to throw it into the lad and he's able to bring the ball down on his chest.


"He was allowed to turn and get in shooting range and let one go so there's a lot of things within that which is wrong.

"I take onboard that I had just made a couple of substitutions because roles and responsibilities do change, but it was too easy to get a throw-in into somebody's chest.

"Worst way, you let the ball go back and you don't let him play forward."

Goalkeeper Cornell may also feel disappointed to have been beaten at his near post from a long-range strike, although Curle was reluctant to blame individuals.

"Until I've gone back and reviewed the footage and analysed it, we don't criticise," he said. "We work on areas we think we can improve on.

"Before it gets to Dai, the ball's out of play but is our shape right? Are we in a position to defend our goal?

"The lad gets it, takes it on his chest, turns and fires a shot off so before the ball gets to Dai, there were issues that we need to address."


Curle unhappy with officials and claims Cobblers 'could have had two penalties' in Mansfield draw - reaction and highlights
by JAMES HENEGHAN, northamptonchron.co.uk

Keith Curle took issue with the officials after his side's 1-1 draw at Field Mill on Saturday by claiming the Cobblers could have had 'a couple of penalties' for some of Mansfield's marking at set-pieces.

Referee Alan Young didn't endear himself to either set of supporters throughout Saturday's Sky Bet League Two encounter, dishing out nine bookings in total and repeatedly pulling play back for infringements.


But his whistle wasn't blown when it mattered most, at least according to Curle, as Mansfield marked their men aggressively in an attempt to negate Town's aerial threat at set-pieces.

Striker Vadaine Oliver in particular looked to have a clear shout for a penalty turned down when a Mansfield defender wrapped both arms around him as a corner came into the box deep into stoppage-time.

"I think there could have been a couple of penalties for some of the marking in the box," said Curle. "If you went by the letter of the law, there were infringements against our players when the ball came into the box.

"They know that we're quite attack-minded from our set-pieces and we have decent movements so they tried to nullify that by grabbing hold of our players.

"You're not allowed to do that and I think if the referee had been slightly better placed he might have seen some of those infringements, but I think he made honest decisions for the ones he saw."

With Christmas now just a few days away, Curle also suggested a possible present for referee Young.

He added: "Things didn't go our way but it was a difficult pitch and I think the referee is going to need a new whistle for Christmas because it seemed he was blowing it every 20 seconds.

"He was blowing for what he sees because it was a very competitive game and they've got some big, strong boys and we've got some big, strong boys and there was some honest competition for the ball.

"You can't take that away from either team."


Northampton Town boss Keith Curle happy with a point on his return to Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 21 December 2019

Former Mansfield Town boss Keith Curle was delighted with a 1-1 draw and point on his return with high-flying Northampton Town today.

Curle knew the Stags had new boss Graham Coughlan in charge for the first time and the home fans behind them, so was satisfied to leave with a point from Harry Smith's late equaliser.

“Away from home and with the manner of the game you'd say it was definitely a point gained,” said Curle.

“I know this club and that it's a difficult place to come.


“I know what this place is like when you get it rocking and I know what it's like when things are not going your way as well.

“If we'd got a goal in that first half I think that may have put some jitters and uncertainly into Mansfield with the new manager coming in.”

Northampton had the edge in the first half and Curle admitted: “When Sam (Hoskins) hit the crossbar in the first 30 seconds, had that gone in that might have set some anxiety back among their players.

“First half we had the best three chances and second half they had the best three chances.

“Getting a draw showed the character, the bravery and the honesty within the group.”

He added: “Things were not going our way, but conditions were difficult with the pitch and I think the referee is going to need a new whistle for Christmas as it seemed like every 20 seconds he was blowing it. But it was a very honest, competitive game.

“It wasn't the prettiest game, it was about two teams both wanting to get on the front foot and that ends up in a clash. Neither team was prepared to go on the back foot and give an inch so credit to both teams.”

The draw lifted the Stags a place into 17th in League Two while the Cobblers stayed in the final play-offs spot in seventh place 12 points ahead of Graham Coughlan's men, who have now not won for seven games and face Port Vale at home on Boxing Day.



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