DEARDEN AND EVANS REACTION
STAGS ARE LACKING A WILL TO WIN - DEARDEN
Evening Post, 19 March 2007
Billy Dearden accused his players of lacking the will to win after they slumped to a 2-1 home defeat by lowly Boston.
The Stags were unable to get the better of Steve Evans' side - even though they were reduced to ten men for most of the second half.
Dearden felt that had as much to do with the attitude of his players as their ability.
"I gave them a pat on the back for how they battled at Notts County, but I didn't think they showed the same fighting spirit in this game," said Dearden.
"I told them if they started sloppily then we would come unstuck. I must have told them five or six times in the week - but that is exactly what happened.
"It is my responsibility to do something about it because you can't just play well against good teams.
"The best teams play well against all teams whether they are near the top or near the bottom.
"It was a poor game.
''Boston had a game plan and probably would have been happy with a point and ended up getting all three. They did very well.
"But there are very few of our players who can come out of that game with pluses and I'm very disappointed.
"When we have off-days it seems like there are eight or nine players who have them, not just two or three."
Dearden was disappointed with the fact that his side did not get the ball down and play football on the ground.
On many occasions, the Stags played long balls up to their front men, bypassing the midfield.
Dearden said: "We should have got it down and tried to change the play, but we just got dragged into knocking balls long like they did.
"We have struggled against the bottom teams and I can only remember us beating Torquay. That is going to have to change."
Jonathan D'Laryea was ruled out of the game with an ankle injury to miss his first game of the season.
And Dearden felt that the influential midfielder's omission was crucial.
"Did we miss D'Laryea? In a word, yes. You don't realise how much you will miss him until he is out," he said.
"We all knew that it would have an impact but the lads who have gone in his place have to do it.
"Whatever side we put out, we should have had enough to beat Boston. We have a small squad but that has always been the case when I have been here.
"It is the same players who lost the game that have taken us on the unbeaten run."
MULLINS GRABS RAZOR AS MANSFIELD'S RUN OF FORM COMES TO A DISAPPOINTING END
Evening Post, 19 March 2007
Johnny Mullins revealed he will reluctantly shed his beard after Mansfield's unbeaten run came to an abrupt halt.
The right-back did not shave prior to the game at MK Dons, where the Stags claimed an unexpected 1-1 draw.
Since then, the former Reading and Kidderminster man has grown his stubble, believing it to be good luck, as Mansfield have stayed undefeated.
But with fortune running out in the 2-1 defeat to Boston, Mullins will be clean shaven again this week.
"It was just something that started as a bit of a joke after that Milton Keynes game, but as the games kept coming and we were doing well, I decided to keep it," said Mullins.
"I was hoping it would get like Alan Cork's did when he did the same thing when Sheffield United reached the FA Cup semi-finals, because that would have meant we would have had a chance of reaching the play-offs. But it is back to normal for me now after that and it was not the circumstances that I wanted to do it."
The final whistle against the Pilgrims brought boos from the Mansfied fans and Mullins felt the supporters were entitled to do so after a poor display.
He said: "We were not good enough and we know that it was an inept performance. We didn't deserve any better from the fans really.
"We never really got going and conceded two poor goals. We still had the chances to get a result but the goals didn't materialise.
"It's frustrating because we have been on a good run and they weren't a particularly good side, but we can't let it get us down.
"As the gaffer has said we just have to look to try to finish the season as high as possible."
Mansfield have a disappointing record against teams in the lower half of the table and Mullins insists that is something he and his team-mates are looking to put right in the closing stages of the season.
"Give or take the odd game, most of the teams we have left to play are struggling in the bottom half," he said.
"We have to address quickly why we are not beating these teams and put it right when we play them.
"Football is a game of experience and as long as we are learning from the things that we are doing wrong then it is not all doom and gloom."
EVANS HAS HEADACHE
Lincs Echo, 19 March 2007
Pilgrims boss Steve Evans admits he may finally face a selection headache of the right kind following Saturday's superb victory at Mansfield Town.
Against all the odds, United recorded their first ever League Two victory over the Stags to climb out of the relegation zone.
Boston triumphed 2-1 at Field Mill, thanks to goals from Stewart Talbot and Drewe Broughton, despite an appalling build-up to the match.
The Pilgrims named just three substitutes after new loan signings defender John McCombe and striker Michael Proctor were denied permission to play because of administrative problems.
To make matters worse, the players were forced to travel to Field Mill in cars and public transport as the club could not meet the cost of a team coach.
"Our preparation was very difficult," said Evans.
"I was told by the chairman on Friday that we didn't have a team coach to get us to the game.
"I know how difficult it was for him to tell me that. Jim Rodwell is a true professional who has played at this level - he knows what players need.
"Then I learned the new loan players could not play because the new consortium, who needed to sign the papers, could not be reached.
"We turned up like the Red Lion pub side and still came away with three points. Every player was excellent for us. There were one or two who had the opportunity to hold on to the shirt and they gave it everything they had.
"The preparations were not ideal, but in adversity some heroes came through."
An impressive attacking display played a key role in Boston's first away win of 2007.
And Evans insists he will persevere with that aggressive approach after admitting giving their league rivals too much respect earlier in the season.
"If we are going to stay in the Football League, we need to go away from home and have a go at teams, like we do at York Street," added the Scot.
"I've probably been too reserved away from home and shown teams too much respect.
"I'm not criticising anyone else for that. It's been me because I am responsible for the side. For the last five months, I'd been more concerned about losing games rather than trying to win."
Huddersfield's McCombe and Proctor, of Hartlepool, should be available for United's visit to play-off-chasing Wycombe on Friday night.
They should be joined by Albert Jarrett, who missed Saturday's victory with an ankle injury.
Evans revealed the Pilgrims have managed to secure the services of the Watford middleman until the end of the season.
However, defender Brad Thomas, who was sent off at Mansfield, is expected to return to parent club Yeovil this week.
Audio interview with Billy Dearden from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed) http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/realmedia/football/2007/stags_boston_home_manager.ram
Dearden shocked by Stags' horror show
Stags boss Billy Dearden watched his side turn in a horror show against struggling 10-men Boston United to lose 2-1 and lose their five-game unbeaten run at Field Mill today.
"I thought we were poor throughout the team," he said.
"When we have an off day it seems it's eight or nine of them that have an off day and not one or two.
"I had been saying in training all week that if we expected to beat Boston just because they are near the bottom then we would come unstuck and that's just what happened.
"We had seven or eight who were not at the races. No-one really came out with any plusses, yet we've battled so hard in recent games.
"Maybe one or two of the young lads are running out of legs after playing so many games, I don't know.
"The crowd had a bit of a go at the lads and they were fully entitled to.
"No disrespect but we should have beaten Boston. But, like Chester, they came here with a game plan and did it very well. We have to be able to handle that better.
"It is the way we lost that disappoints me. We didn't show enough character to get a result."
Boston not only had to play most of the second half with 10 men after Bradley Thomas was sent off, but also had to travel to Mansfield in a fleet of cars after being unable to afford a coach - while boss Steve Evans was told by his chairman he could not use his two newest signings and went with only three substitutes.
However, this second successive win lifted them out of the bottom two and Evans said: "I understood why the deals for the new players did not go through, but the bus decision was hard to take.
"We arrived in cars but the 'Sunday team' prevailed.
"I will have to look in my little girl's piggy bank to see if we can get enough money for a team bus to Wycombe next week.
"Let's resolve these issues on Monday, look forward and get these two players in.
"We deserved to win, we battled through adversity against a good side.
"The players were absolutely sensational, they blocked everything, tackled non-stop and chased lost causes. It was the best result ever under the circumstances."
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