THE only real bright spot for the Stags in their crucual defeat to relegation rivals Barnsley was the full debut of 17-year-old defender Alex John-Baptiste.
The Ollerton teenager stepped into the first team because of injuries to Rhys Day and player manager Keith Curle and won high praise from the management team after the game.
Assistant manager John Gannon said: "He was absolutely magnificent. He only left school last summer and Alex has come a long way in a short time."
John-Baptiste, who was recently signed on a professional contract by the Stags, comfrotably handled the threat of experienced striker Mike Sheron and the pacy Kevin Betsy.
And even when he was more exposed as the Stags switched to a 3-5-2 formation, John-Baptiste showed a cool head and an ability to win the ball that bodes well for the future at Field Mill.
DEFIANT Stags' assistant manager John Gannon refused to concede relegation after this afternoon's crucial defeat at Field Mill.
Gannon said after Mansfield's 1-0 loss to relegation rivals Barnsley: "We're not down yet and we are not the management team to concede anything until it is impossible to stay up.
"We know how the fans feel. Everyone is hurt by the result, the players and all the management. The players in the dressing room are distraught.
"We will keep going, pushing as hard as ever to win every match.
"I thought today we played some excellent possession football in spells, but just didn't have the rub of the green in front of goal."
Latest | April 2003