McEWAN, O`HARE AND BRABIN REACTION
Post match press interviews with Gary Brabin (Cambridge manager), Billy McEwan, and Alan O'Hare here
Brabin: "A Good Point"
Posted on: Sat 20 Sep 2008
After seeing his maintain their unbeaten record while ending Mansfield's 100% home record, Gary Brabin declared himself pleased overall with the performance and the result.
Danny Brown put United ahead before the break with a well-struck volley on only his third appearance since a summer operation on his shoulder, but the home side took advantage of a 20 minute dip by United and the generosity of a linesman to level the score six minutes into the second half.
Summarising the game, the U's boss pointed to a key period of 20 minutes in the second half when Mansfield took advantage to get back into the match: "First half I thought we were brilliant - we were well in control, played some great football and came in one-nil up and looking comfortable, so I was really pleased with the performance in the first half.
"Second half they came out and bombarded us a bit and I think we could have dealt with that a bit better," he added.
"They had a 20-minute period where we allowed them back in the game, and when it came to their goal the referee and the linesman didn't know whether to stick or twist with the decision. The referee said 'play on', the linesman gave a free kick, and in the end they got the free kick and their lad peeled away at the back stick and scored."
However Brabin was pleased with the way his men responded and might have snatched the points in the closing stages: "I'm disappointed with the goal we conceded, but after that we changed the formation a little bit and for the last 15-20 minutes I thought if anyone was going to score it was going to be us."
United's talismanic centre forward Lee McEvilly completed the 90 minutes despite being sick on the pitch just before half-time, and Brabin pointed to the way his squad has been affected by injuries since the start of the season: "My first choice front four from the start of the season was Parkinson, Pitt, Beesley and McEvilly, so that just shows what a good squad of players we've got when players of the quality of Holroyd and Crow have come in.
"We've got good competition for places so we're going to have to put the lads who are injured on the back burner and just concentrate on what we've got. I think we've definitely got one of the top sides in this league and if we can just keep going the way we did in the first half I'm confident we'll do OK."
On Brown's goal, a sweetly-struck angled volley after Phil Bolland's flick-on was partly cleared by a defender, the manager commented, "It was a cracking goal and I was made up for Danny because he's worked really hard to get himself fit.
"I thought he was fantastic against Wrexham, he looked a little bit tired and jaded in the last game against Torquay, and today I thought he battled brilliantly. We did a bit of shooting practice yesterday and he was on form and so I wasn't surprised to see that go in today."
Brabin added, "I thought we could have had a couple more but before the game everyone would have said this was a good point so we've just got to look forward now to Tuesday. Most of the squad will be in training tomorrow morning in preparation for Tuesday and we'll just assess everyone and probably make a decision about the team late on Monday."
In closing, he revealed that the players have set their sights high and they wanted three points from today's game, and they will take that attitude into Tuesday's game at Oxford.
"We've set ourselves high standards and it's nice that we're coming off after a draw against one of the most fancied sides in the league and we're disappointed that we didn't meet our high standards for a 20-minute period in the match," he said.
"I'm happy with that attitude. We've had a little chat and the lads are all gutted about that 20 minutes and hopefully we can carry that into Tuesday."
McEwan: "Our Toughest Game"
Mansfield manager Billy McEwan was pleased to see his side equalise in the second half after Danny Brown had fired United ahead before half-time, and like counterpart Gary Brabin he felt the draw was a fair result overall.
The former York boss commented, "I'm not happy with one point at home, but if you'd said to me at half-time when we were losing 1-0 that we would get anything out of the game I might have said different.
"It's credit to the players who were magnificent in the second half. I thought they got after a very good Cambridge outfit from the start of the second period and got a super goal, and with a little bit of luck and good fortune could've gone on to win the game.
"That's the toughest game we have had here at Field Mill," he added. "They are a good side and we knew it was going to be tough, they are well organised and have had some good results this season."
However McEwan admitted he was 'disappointed' with United's goal and felt the ball should never have reached Danny Brown in the first place: "They never should have had it - he shouldn't have been allowed to strike the ball.
"We didn't deal with the ball into the box properly and then we didn't get to the knockdown, but it shouldn't have come to that. Paddy Gamble should have come for the ball so the clearing header needn't have been made. To be fair though, it was a great strike and a great goal from the Cambridge point of view, but I'm not happy by the way it was conceded."
Revealing that he made some tactical changes at half-time, McEwan felt that his men responded well and deserved their early equaliser: "We got the game back at the start of the second half, which made a change because we have been conceding at that time.
"We sorted some things out tactically at half-time and from that point of view I was delighted we came out of the traps very quickly and got after them. It was a super delivery for the free kick and a great finish. We had players who were away on international duty this week in Bosnia who were very tired but we didn't want to change things out there."
The result left Mansfield and United in fourth and sixth places respectively, level on 18 points, and McEwan concluded, "Cambridge will be up there at the end of the season so I'm pleased that a team we got together just before the season started were able to match them out there. I'm still disappointed the 100% home record has gone but the result today shows how we are progressing.
"The atmosphere today was absolutely fantastic with over 3,000 in; it's great for the players when everyone is making so much noise. There were times when the hairs were sticking up on the back of my neck, and credit also goes to the Cambridge following because they contributed to the atmosphere as well.
"We thank them for bringing that level of support because that means more income for us, but we will do the same when we go to Cambridge because we will take a great following there."
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