MCEWAN, BLACKWOOD, LEE AND DAISH REACTION
audio interviews with Liam Daish (Ebbsfleet manager), Billy McEwan, Michael Blackwood and Jason Lee from BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Nottingham, Nottingham Evening Post here
(Total 22 mins, 2.7Mb).
Photos of these interviews (Daish, McEwan, Blackwood and Lee) below, by Martin Shaw and Steve Hartshorn:
McEwan praises Mansfield's battlers
Billy McEwan saluted his battling Mansfield players for the way they fought back from 2-0 down to clinch a 2-2 draw on the opening day of the season at Ebbsfleet United.
The FA Trophy winners looked comfortable after first half strikes from Michael Gash and Stacy Long.
But the second half was a different story following the introduction of Jason Lee for the Stags and goals from Nathan Arnold and late on from Mark Stallard sealed a last-gasp point.
“We're delighted to have got a point after being 2-0 down at half-time against an established Conference team,” said McEwan.
“To come back to 2-2 and have the chance to get more goals, although they could have got more too, I will take away from home.
“We were against a strong wind in the first half and it was always going to be tricky conditions.
“But I feel proud of the lads and proud of our supporters. We had a great following and they cheered the boys on to a very good second half performance.
“At 2-0 down your back is against the wall but I said at half-time that my teams don't throw the towel in and don't make excuses that they are a new side.
“I was confident that if we stayed positive in the second half then we would get something out of the game – and we did.”
Blackwood does it for Stags
MICHAEL Blackwood declared himself satisfied with his day's work after scoring one and teeing up another in Mansfield's opening day 2-2 draw at Ebbsfleet.
The Stags had struggled to make any kind of impression in the first half and trailed to goals from Michael Gash and Stacy Long.
But just past the hour mark, left-winger Blackwood pulled one back before crossing for Mark Stallard to level the game in the penultimate minute of normal time.
“It was very pleasing to get a point away from home – the first game is always difficult,” said Blackwood.
“It was always going to be hard with all our new signings, but the boss has put a lot of time in on the training field.
“We stuck at it and in the end we got the point we deserved. The last 10 or 15 minutes we were really going for the equaliser.”
Blackwood admitted his first goal for the Stags – which went over the line before Nathan Arnold headed in to make sure – was intended as a cross.
He said: “I tried to nick it to the back post for someone to finish off but it was in before anyone else touched it, so I will take it.
“The boss has given me licence to keep attacking, so hopefully it will be the first of quite a few this season.
“If you are going to do well in any league then you need your midfielders to chip in with goals.”
McEwan hails battling Stags . . . and fans
STAGS boss Billy McEwan has paid tribute to his new-look side for bravely battling back to earn a point in their season-opener against Ebbsfleet United on Saturday.
Mansfield had trailed 2-0 at the break following a poor first-half display, but rallied with a solid second-half performance to earn a much-deserved share of the spoils.
And speaking after the final whistle McEwan told Chad the impressive point now gave Stags something solid to build upon.
"We are delighted to have got a point. We were 2-0 down at half-time and to come back like that away from home against an established team is something we will take," he said.
"The first goal was unlucky, on another day the ball would have rebounded away from goal. We showed great character and resilience to come back as we did.
"I was confident that we would get something out of the game if we stayed positive.
"We have only been together for a few weeks and are gelling together well. I was very excited when we got the equaliser."
He also praised his side's fighting spirit and thanked the band of Stags fans for their impressive support.
Said McEwan: "We are a new team and are trying to build. It is very early days at the moment and we need to be patient.
"We came here to win, but this is a good point and we would definitely have taken the draw at half-time.
"The games are going to be tough and there will be lots of highs and lows for fans and players, but we are hopeful we have the right set of players here.
"We had an excellent away following today, the supporters were excellent and we want to thank them for that."
Goalscorer admits first Stags goal a fluke
MICHAEL Blackwood admitted his match-turning goal was a fluke, after the Stags fought back from 2-0 down to claim a point at Ebbsfleet in the opening game of the season on Saturday.
Blackwood's 65th minute cross somehow ended up in the net to launch the fightback and then he turned goal maker two minutes from time, crossing for Mark Stallard to secure a dramatic 2-2 draw.
Afterwards Blackwood, one of nine Stags league debutants, said of his goal: "I tried to dink it to the back post for someone to finish off at the back post, but it went in before anyone else touched it."
Blackwood's thrilling attacking play in the second half helped to transform the Stags and afterwards he said: "The gaffer has given me licence to keep attacking and get forward, so hopefully it will be the first of quite a few this season.
"Home or away we are going to attack. If you are going to do well in any league then you need your midfielders to chip in with goals.
"It was very pleasing to get a point away from home. We stuck at it and in the end we got the point we deserved."
"It was always going to be hard with all our new signings, but the boss has put a lot of time in on the training park to try to get us to gel and play together.
"It was great at the end to get the equaliser and great to get a point.
"To come from behind at 2-0 shows a lot of character already.
"The support from the away fans was great and hopefully we gave them something to cheer about at the end. It was very pleasing to the players to see so many fans come such a long way."
Striker Jason Lee added: "We have got to be pleased. In the first half we didn't get going, but really it was the classic game of two halves and in the second half we gave it a real go.
"We pressed them and created a lot more chances second half and might have gone on to win the game."
Lee had three chances to score himself in the second half fightback and struck up an immediate rapport with the Stags fans.
And he urged them to go to Field Mill on Tuesday for the first home League match against Histon. He said: "The club has had a lot of gloom and doom over the years, now it is a lot more positive. Hopefull they will come along on Tuesday and cheer us on."
Latest | August 2008