PALMER AND WATKISS REACTION
Audio interview with Carlton Palmer from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed)
Audio interview with Watkiss from BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester(RealPlayer needed)
Evening Post , 29 March 2005
Carlton Palmer always felt Mansfield were the better side against Kidderminster, even when they almost fell two goals behind.
"Even when we were 1-0 down in the first half we were the better side, although we didn't play particularly well," said the Stags boss.
"We've been working hard on our fitness, and after two games the boys were a bit tired. No disrespect to Kidderminster, but I thought they were a poor side.
"I felt that if we upped the tempo it was a game we could win comfortably and we did in the end. I would still have fancied us had we gone 2-0 down because we were creating chances, but we got a little break because Pilks should have been sent off.
"We had a lot of young players in the side who were a bit heavy-legged and they showed great character. We didn't cave in, we got back into it and we thoroughly deserved it."
"We had a problem with Alex Neil. He had concussion and was being sick so I took him off and Callum came off for tactical reasons."
Evening Post website:
PALMER DELIGHTED WITH YOUNG STAGS
Mansfield manager Carlton Palmer was delighted with the way his young side came from behind to claim a 3-1 win at Kidderminster.
And Palmer was relieved that his goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington had been able to stay on the pitch after flattening Chris Beardsley to concede a penalty that was missed.
Palmer said: "I thought we were the better of two poor teams in the first half and we should have been ahead before they scored.
"We had a lucky break when in all fairness our goalkeeper should have been sent off and then they missed the penalty. But I was delighted with the character shown by my players, particularly when you consider there were six 18-year-olds out there.
"People have been criticising us for not winning in six games, but we've only lost two of those and actually have only lost eight out of 24 and kept more clean sheets than anyone.
"We have the nucleus of a very good young side and if we can bring in better players in one or two positions we could certainly be up there challenging next season."
Kidderminster manager Stuart Watkiss said: "After six games unbeaten I thought it was impossible for the lads to carry on performing at the level they have been.
"I half expected a performance like this because it's difficult to play at a consistent level week in week out.
"We weren't quite at the races but give Mansfield credit because they stepped it up a notch in the second half.
"We showed signs of our bad old ways but we must ensure it was a one-off and that we put it behind us.
"We have six massive games to go and we must look forwards and go into them optimistically. If we can go six games unbeaten again that will lead us to safety."
Stags boss Carlton Palmer, whose side have now won three and drawn two of their last five away matches and netted seven goals in the last two, was happy with the second half fight back.
"We were 1-0 down at half-time even though I thought we were the better side without playing particularly well," he said.
"Simon Brown should have scored a couple of goals.
"But we have been working them hard in training and, with playing Friday, there were understandably some tired legs out there.
"I said at half-time I thought Kidderminster were poor and if we upped the tempo we could win.
"Them missing the penalty was a break for us though I would still have fancied us to get something out the game. And by the letter of the law Kevin Pilkington should have been sent-off.
"Our youngsters showed some heavy legs out there but also showed character and didn't cave in.
"Jake Buxton and Adam Rundle were battling on with injuries while Alex Neil came off with concussion and was sick.
"So the lads will now have a deserved couple of days off.
"I wished Stuart Watkiss all the best. He is a genuinely nice guy who I have spoken to a lot before and since I got the Mansfield job.
"He has taken on a very difficult job there and is working wonders."
...the afternoon ended in heartbreak for Watkiss.
"We have had a great run of late and, hand on heart, I though it was impossible to keep on performing at the level we have been," said Watkiss.
"I half-expected something like this to happen.
"All credit to Mansfield though. They stepped up a gear after the break and deserved their win.
"They out battled us and did to us what we've been doing to other teams of late. Other results were not disastrous to us, though, and we have to make sure this was just a one-off.
"There have been a lot of changes since I was at Mansfield but I knew some of the players like Jake Buxton, Alex John-Baptiste and Callum Lloyd and it was nice to see them again. They are super lads and I wish them nothing but success.
"I would be lying if I said I didn't feel bitter after my sacking at Mansfield. It was a difficult time for me and quite humbling.
"But I wish them well and it is ironic that I still have my flat in Kirkby yet when I was at Mansfield I lived in Wolverhampton.
"The Stags fans were great to me this afternoon and I was very grateful for their reception. I just wish their team had been as generous with their sentiments and allowed us the three points!
"But we were beaten by the better team with a little help from the officials. Even Kevin Pilkington admitted to me that he should have been sent off. Everyone in the ground thought that apart from one man!"
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