HASLAM AND CALDERWOOD REACTION
Stags boss Keith Curle declined to speak to the media after the game but chairman Keith Haslam said: "Obviously we'd have liked to have won the game but at least we have the second leg of the semi-finals at home.
"We shouldn't be frightened of anyone now. We need big time players and we need to be professional in the two games ahead.
"I thought we played well today and their second goal was dubious as I thought he was offside, though the officials didn't agree.
"We are in with a good chance now. It's amazing how things kept changing constantly with Yeovil in the play-offs one minute and then Northampton back in.
"Look at last week, Huddersfield had champagne waiting on the touchline and yet they are now in the play-offs.
"As the manager said, there are bound to be twists and turns and there probably will be ups and downs in the two semi-final games.
"Northampton are an experienced side who have had a marvellous run. So by no means will it be easy. But we have enough experience in our side now and Northampton told us after the game that we are the best side they've played."
Northampton's Director of Football John Deehan said: "Getting into the play-offs looked almost unattainable at Christmas so this is a tremendous achievement.
"You have to feel for Yeovil who are probably the first team to get 74 points and not make the play-offs. But we will savour this tonight and then it's back to work on Monday.
"We have two big games with Mansfield to look forward to now. For me they are probably the best footballing team in the division.
"They play terrific football and showed no malice in the game. But I think we were just about worthy winners.
"It was a fantastic goal from Eric Sabin. Then after Mansfield equalised there was a 20 minute spell when I think we were back out of the play-off places.
"We planned to gamble all and throw the kitchen sink at them in the last 10 minutes but it didn't come to that.
"Rob Ullathorne grabbed us the winning goal. I had him at Norwich and, although his goalscoring record is not fantastic, once he gets into that sort of position, he is a good finisher."
Team manager and former Stags star Colin Calderwood added: "This a great achievement but I genuinely believe my players deserve some sort of success.
"Mansfield are a very good side and when we played them at our place you would have thought they would go close to automatic promotion.
"Recent results show they are very capable and their performance today, in patches, showed they can cause us problems next week.
"We are just delighted to have the chance to play them. We respect them as a team."
Northampton Town boss Colin Calderwood admitted it was a nervous afternoon but he paid tribute to his side after the Cobblers had won 2-1 at Mansfield own to secure a place in the play offs.
“I might have a calm personality but I lost my calmness early in the game!” said Calderwood.
“The players deserve the chance to be in the play offs for their efforts over the season. They have put in a huge amount of effort and application over the last few months. Just getting to the play offs is a huge achievement and it is a reason to celebrate. We will enjoy it, but we know we have plenty of hard work ahead of us. We start preparing again next week but it is such an exciting thought to be in the play offs.
“It was a strange day. We knew that Yeovil were ahead and then Mansfield equalised. At times only a win would have done, but at other times a draw would have been enough. In the end we needed a win and thankfully that is what we got.
“The play offs are a terrific invention. They bring excitement and keep seasons alive. We will go into the play offs and do our best and I genuinely think that these players deserve some sort of success for what they have done this season.
“I'm not quite sure what Rob Ullathorne was doing so far forward when he scored the winner! But on such small margins do seasons depend and we are delighted he was there.
“We know Mansfield are a very good side and they will be tough in the play offs. They will cause us problems but we think we can cause them one or two ourselves. We respect them as a team but we will work hard and we are delighted to be involved in the play offs for the sake of the players, staff, directors, Chairman and supporters. The fans were magnificent again today and I would like to thank them for their support."
Latest | May 2004