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Archived News from September 2008

7th September 2008 12:37

audio interviews with Billy McEwan from BBC Radio Nottingham and Colin Walker from BBC Radio York here


City chief thrilled by moral victory
By Dave Flett »

YORK City boss Colin Walker hailed his side's best attacking display of the season after last night's 1-1 draw with Blue Square Premier high-fliers Mansfield Town.

Onome Sodje fired the Minstermen in front on 35 minutes only for Michael Blackwood to earn former City manager Billy McEwan a point on his return to KitKat Crescent early in the second half.

But Walker felt that a return of nine shots on target should have brought a greater reward than a fifth consecutive draw for his team and hopes the game can prove a turning point in terms of his side's forward play.

The City boss said: “All our attacking players looked sharp and they all caused problems. Sodje did well as did Simon Russell before he ran out of legs and Peter Bore also showed he has blistering pace when he came on. I also thought Daniel McBreen had his best game for us.

“We looked very attack-minded and I'm not going to say I was pleased with a draw because that sounds silly but I was pleased with the way we played.

“We created some great chances and just missed that clinical bit at the end. I think we will play worse this season and win.

“It was a great game to watch even though my heart was going at times as they have some exciting players going forward too. I'm hoping that might kick-start us going forward now as we haven't really seen that before this season.”

On-loan Grimsby winger Bore made his debut as a 56th-minute replacement for Sodje, who picked up a hamstring problem that Walker hopes will clear ahead of Saturday's home game with Woking.

Simon Rusk missed last night's match after tweaking a medial knee ligament at Torquay but Walker's only complaint at the final whistle was conceding a 51st-minute equaliser.

He said: “We were slow out of the blocks after half-time and the back four will be disappointed because we should have come out winning the game 1-0.”

Walker, McEwan's assistant during his KitKat Crescent reign, also ended any speculation of a rift with his predecessor, saying: “We spoke three or four times and I think the game was played in a fantastic spirit by both sides. The fans clapped him and he deserved that for what he did at York City.”

Evening Post :
Blackwood: I should have scored another

Michael Blackwood is adamant he should have fired Mansfield to the top of the Blue Square Premier at York.

The midfielder was on target to bring the Stags level early in the second half after they had trailed at the break - his third goal of the season.

But the former Kidderminster player felt he should have netted another effort later that could have sealed the points.

"It is good to have claimed a point at York, but we could have had all three," said Blackwood.

"The goal came after good work from our throw-in and (Aaron) O'Connor's good movement allowed him to get a shot off which came back off the post. I reacted quicker than the defenders to get to the loose ball and score.

''It was a great feeling to get that so soon after half-time.

"The chance that I got in the last 15 minutes I should have done much better with. It came on my (preferred) left foot and I should have scored, but we can't be too unhappy with the result.

"Paddy Gamble made some great saves and definitely made up for his error in the first half by keeping us in it. The triple save at the end was tremendous."

Blackwood hopes Mansfield can now make it four games unbeaten when they take on Eastbourne Borough at home on Saturday.

He said: "We didn't take it lying down when we went a goal down, we came back and showed character like we did at Ebbsfleet. If we can keep the momentum and run going then who knows where it could take us?

"I think this was a great team effort and, though we made mistakes that are typical of a new team, we deserved a draw."

McEwan proud of Stags at York

Billy McEwan saluted the battling qualities of his Mansfeld players after they hit back from a 1-0 half-time deficit to claim a 1-1 draw at York.

The Stags had started the game well, only to concede a soft goal – scored by Onome Sodje – as the break approached.
But the visitors did not crumble and levelled early in the second period through Michael Blackwood, who also spurned an opportunity to grab a winner.
It was then left to keeper Paddy Gamble to pull off a series of fine saves to keep out York in the closing stages and preserve a point.
“It was a cracking game, the television company (Setanta, who screened the game live) will have been well pleased, “ said McEwan.
“The game had everything – goalmouth scrambles, great saves by both keepers and chances at both ends.
“It was great to come away with a point, but we could have had three, although their manager will probably say the same.
“We have not gone behind since Ebbsfleet, where we showed character, and we showed it again.
“Paddy Gamble was fantastic and I am really proud of all the boys.”

Delighted McEwan's good start

Sitting in Billy McEwan's office is a reminder of the club's past glories - a replica of the 1987 Freight Rover Trophy.

Having being relegated to non-league football for the first time in their history, those heady days for Stags may seem further away than ever.

But there are signs that the club is beginning to move in the right direction. After seven games, Mansfield sit third in the Blue Square North table having lost just once. Off the field, things are also changing with new owners and an 'open door' policy.

McEwan has undoubtedly played a part in the turnaround. The Scot has done his best to engender a professional approach and outlook that will help bring the best out of his players.

Two months in and he is happy with how things are moving along on the pitch. The trick now is to maintain the progression so that the Stags' bright start is no false dawn.

"I think 14 points from seven games is a good return - we have to be delighted with that start. It's gone better than I expected," said McEwan.

"When you set out with a new group of lads, you don't expect to start as we have done. But it is down to a lot of hard work and good management. We are not blowing our own trumpet, merely saying that it doesn't just happen.

"There is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes that people don't see - people only see what's on the pitch.

"My work started before I even got the job, because I was out watching people at a lot of games at all kinds of levels to keep my eye in. But it is not just me, but the fans the new owners and the groundsman, with an excellent pitch, who are all doing their bit. It's a team effort and everyone contributes."

Mansfield won plenty of plaudits for their part in an exciting game at York City that was screened live to the nation on Setanta.

But McEwan insists that performance will count for little if his team cannot start to reproduce that level of playing in the games to come.

He said: "It was a progression at York. For me I was proud of watching that. We were up against a side who are established and have been built up a fair amount and for 30 minutes we were the best team. For us to go there and get a draw will have given the players confidence. But the only way that is useful is if you play the same in the next game and the game after that."

Mansfield go in search of their fifth successive home win when Eastbourne Borough - something they have not achieved since the promotion season of 2001-02.

But McEwan is urging caution, especially because the visitors have won their last three matches without conceding a goal.

"It will be a tough one because Eastbourne have had some positive results against good opposition," said McEwan.

Stags boss mcewan praises keeper gamble

Paddy Gamble won high praise from boss Billy McEwan after shaking off first-half disappointment to clinch a point for Mansfield at York City last night.

The teenage keeper - on loan from Nottingham Forest - was at fault for the first goal, along with skipper Adie Moses, which allowed Onome Sodje to tap into an empty net.

But after Michael Blackwood had levelled early in the second half, Gamble bounced back with some fine stops to keep the Minstermen at bay.

McEwan was thrilled with the Nottingham-born player's efforts - and just as pleased with the fighting qualities demonstrated by the rest of his team.

"Paddy Gamble was fantastic. There was a mix-up in the first half and he could have gone under after that," he said. "But he showed mental courage and made some great saves towards the end.

"The game had everything - goalmouth scrambles, great saves by both keepers and chances at both ends.

"It was great to come away with a point, but we could have had three, although their manager will probably say the same.

"We would have settled for a draw before the game but we were positive and had a go at it.

"We opened up very well in the first half hour and then made a mistake.

"Their keeper made a fantastic save and then straight after we got level - and we deserved it."

McEwan was happy to see his side keep pushing forward and causing problems for the York defence, which could have seen his charges nick their first away success of the season.

It has been reported that Mansfield are taking a look at former Sheffield Wednesday defender James Kay, but this has yet to be confirmed by the club.

The Stags' reserves take on Walsall in the League Cup at Field Mill today.

Stags boss praises Gamble heroics

Billy McEwan at York on Tuesday

« Previous « PreviousNext » Next »View GalleryADVERTISEMENTSTAGS boss Billy McEwan had praise for on-loan Forest keeper Paddy Gamble after his heroics helped earn a superb 1-1 BSP draw at York City on Tuesday night.
A first half misunderstanding by Gamble and skipper Adie Moses had allowed York to go ahead.

But otherwise the teenager was in unbeatable form as Stags roared back with a Michael Blackwood equaliser and Gamble defied City at the other end.

York City 1 Mansfield Town 1

"He had a fantastic game and I am really pleased for the boy," said McEwan.

"He made up for the mix-up when he could have gone under and showed mental courage to make some magnificent stops, as did their keeper at the other end."

The game was shown live on Setanta Sports television and McEwan added: "The TV company will be well pleased with that game - it had everything, goalmouth scrambles, great saves from both keepers and chances at either end.

"I am just grateful we came away with a good point. It could have been three though they will be saying the same thing.

We would have settled for that result beforehand but we did want to win it and I think we were very positive and had a go.

"We opened the first half well and did well for half an hour. A mistake led to their goal which you will get at times.

"But we kept our composure, opened the second half great and their keeper had already made a fantastic save before scored straight after so we deserved it.

"We have showed character to come from behind and I am proud of them and pleased for the fans. Over 300 of them came up here on a Tuesday night and I am grateful for that.

"This is a tough venue and it was a good point.

"Michael (Blackwood) took his goal well and had a great chance when he was clean through with only the keeper to beat later on but I think his legs had turned to water by then.

"But we are creating chances at a difficult place and we will continue to work on it."

York boss Colin Walker said: "I have just seen it back on the TV and Paddy Gamble made three great saves in about five seconds.

"I am really pleased with our attacking play tonight. All our attacking players looked really sharp and caused them problems.
"We will play worse than that this season and win.

"We caused them lots of problems but were just missing that clinical bit at the end.

"Mansfield also have exciting players going forward as well, playing off Mark Stallard who is very experienced.

"It was a great game to watch though my heart was going at times."

Stags have slipped into third spot as Burton Albion have eased above them by a single goal into second with Salisbury leapfrogging to top spot.



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