HOLDSWORTH, HECKINGBOTTOM, HOCKADAY REACTION
Gary Mills, Paul Heckingbottom, Mick Laverick and Kevin Bird post match Mansfield 103.2 interviews --->
David Holdsworth post match BBC Radio Nottingham interview --->
David Holdsworth post match video --->
Paul Heckingbottom post match video --->
The Sunday Supplement as Andy Saunders, Matt Halfpenny and David Jackson join Martin Shaw --->
Holdsworth happy with rare clean sheet
DAVID Holdsworth hopes Mansfield can return to their early season form at the back after a first clean sheet in eight matches in yesterday's 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers.
The hosts had to work hard for their win, secured by an early penalty from top scorer Rob Duffy, who took his tally for the season to eight.
But Holdsworth was upbeat about the way his side defended and now wants to see a run similar to the one which saw just two goals shipped in the first seven games of the campaign.
"I like clean sheets but this one has been a little while coming," he said. "It was especially good to see in such testing conditions. We defended well and I didn't think they troubled us too much.
"This was the perfect response from the players. We were stubborn and resilient in what was not a wonderful game.
"Now we have to show those battling qualities in the away games we have coming up and we will be working hard on that in the coming week."
Heckingbottom happy with winning Stags debut
CHAD.co.uk, 3 October 2009, By John Lomas
LEFT back Paul Heckingbottom came through his first game in a year to make a winning debut for Mansfield Town and help the Stags to a clean sheet in Saturday's 1-0 home won over Forest Green Rovers.
A summer capture from Bradford City, Heckingbottom had shaken off his hamstring problem just enough to fill in for the injured Craig Armstrong and said: "It is 12 months to the weekend since I last played so I was always going to enjoy it no matter what.
"No one works harder than me to get fit in the gym after training and I felt fine even though my injury is still not 100 per cent.
"I have to carry it a bit still and be sensible and do my rehab right as I don't want any setbacks.
"Hopefully it will get better and better each week.
"I didn't know what to expect. I have been getting through in training but obviously a match is a different matter."
His first game back was made even harder by a powerful swirling wind which disrupted the match from first kick to last.
He said: "It is always like this when I play at Mansfield! It's been sunny when I have been here watching but as soon as I go out there to play its gale force winds!
"But we ground it out and battled. If we set things up and work for each other like we did today then we will start to get results away from home too. Maybe away we can be a bit too open at times."
Boss David Holdsworth added: "The conditions were poor but the most important thing was the result and we had to work very hard for it.
"I was pleased with the way we defended in the second half – I think they only had two shots.
"It was very difficult as the ball just carried through.
"It is always difficult when the wind is like that. It wasn't easy on the eye and I would like to thank the supporters for sticking behind us in a horrible game.
"No one will remember it apart from the result.
"The early penalty settled us down and we showed our battling qualities today.
"The boys have had a long week as they had a rollicking off me after the defeat at Barrow and a few out there were playing for their places.
"I don't know how Jake Speight's effort didn't cross the line and I will be picking the bones out of that as a second goal would have been the mattress we wanted. At 1-0 Forest Green were still in the game so I am pleased with the clean sheet."
Skipper Gary Mills was back in after a three-game suspension and said: "It wasn't easy as the conditions were tough. But we got three points and that's what it's all about.
"You had to watch the ball onto your foot and think about the wind all the time. But conditions are conditions and you have to deal with them.
"The early goal settled us down. We were all hurting so it was nice to put Barrow behind us like that.
"I didn't realise it but apparently that was my first win as captain – a supporter told me on the way out. I don't suppose I can really count the Crawley game."
Disappointed Rovers manager Dave Hockaday said: "I can't fault the effort but we talk about key moments in a game and we talk about not doing anything silly in the first five minutes of either half and we have given away a soft penalty that has cost us the game.
"As long as they learn from that then I will be happy as you have to learn from it.
"If you show any indecision that early you get caught and we got caught cold.
"After that we had three or four good chances to equalise. We need to be better at both ends.
"The wind was a big factor and they had it first half and us second half. But we didn't get the ball down and play enough to hurt Mansfield in the second half.
"It was a horrible day and a horrible game. But you have still got to pick up points."
We've been taught a lesson – Hockaday
FOREST Green manager Dave Hockaday was left to rue one 'silly' mistake which ended his unbeaten record at Mansfield Town.
Oli Thorne's foul on Rob Duffy in the fourth minute at Field Mill proved decisive, as the Stags striker slotted home the resulting spot-kick for the game's only goal.
It was Rovers' first defeat in seven matches – six of them overseen by Hockaday – and he felt his players had been taught a harsh lesson.
"We talk about the first few minutes of each half and not doing anything silly, and that key moment has lost us the game," said Hockaday.
"As long as we learn from it then I'll have it, as it's the best way to learn, in a horrible sort of way.
"To give away a soft penalty like that was really disappointing, Having said that, we had the whole of the game to get it back and we had three or four very good chances to at least have equalised.
"We need to be better and more ruthless at both ends.
"Yes, the conditions were blustery and horrible, but we need to show more composure and take points from games like that."
Thorne, 19, had been dispossessed by Duffy in the build-up to the penalty incident when attempting to shepherd a long ball out of play.
Hockaday said: "In the first few minutes you don't mess about – defend a throw-in or corner or defend in their half.
"Any indecision and you're going to get caught, and we were caught cold."
One positive to emerge from the defeat was a solid display at right-back from new signing Jared Hodgkiss, who was released by West Bromwich Albion during the summer.
With no fixture before this Saturday's home clash with AFC Wimbledon, Hockaday hopes to see a let-up in the spate of injuries that has claimed four defenders in Andy Taylor, Jeffrey Imudia, Lee Ayres and Curtis McDonald.
"A week's break will be a good thing if we can get some of our key players back, although that's a big if," he said.
Mills relieved to get first win as skipper
GARY Mills was relieved to clinch his first victory as Mansfield skipper with the three points against Forest Green.
Mills was injured in the Stags' 4-0 opening day demolition of Crawley.
And in between his return and a three-match suspension for being sent off at Rushden, Mansfield failed to win a game.
However, it was a happy second comeback for Mills as he was drafted into the centre of midfield at the expense of Matt Somner.
"This was my first win as captain, so I'm pleased to have that under my belt," said Mills.
"I did start against Crawley, so I suppose you could count that, but it is nice to be on the pitch from start to finish.
"It wasn't the best of games, but the main thing from our point of view was just to get the three points, which we did.
"The wind was always going to affect the game, although it was the same for both teams.
"Duffers and I were talking about it on the way to the game that it would be great to get an early goal.
"But we still had to go on and win the game and I think we showed we have got character in the dressing room to come back after the Barrow defeat.
"The gaffer has brought the right people to the club for that."
Mills praised the efforts of goalkeeper Alan Marriott, who made two important second half saves.
He said: "We were delighted for him to get the clean sheet, but hopefully we can go on to get a few more now."
Latest | October 2009