HOLDSWORTH, HOTCHKISS, SILK, TERRY BROWN REACTION
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Boss looks to plug defensive frailties
CHAD.co.uk, 16 January 2010, By John Lomas
STAGS boss David Holdsworth will step up his hunt for a new central defender this week after two poor moments of defending cost Mansfield dearly in their 2-0 defeat at play-off rivals AFC Wimbledon this afternoon.
Nathan Elder put the home side ahead on two minutes and Lewis Taylor sealed it on 22 minutes, though Jake Speight had a late effort ruled out for offside.
Young centre half Scott Garner was substituted at half time and after the game Holdsworth said: "Gary Silk is excluded, but apart from him I was very disappointed with three of my defenders today.
"I was bitterly disappointed with our defending. The first goal is crucial in most games and it was a dreadful start.
"I am not looking for excuses. But it was a long journey down here with an early start and we hadn't played for three weeks. They came out of the traps faster than us.
"Of course we would have liked to travel down overnight but that costs money and I respect it wasn't possible.
"The difference today was that they took their chances and we didn't. We probably had more clear-cut chances than them and we have got to be more clinical.
"We were much better in the second half and restricted them to shots from 25-30 yards. And there were two debatable decisions with a handball by Blanchett and the offside decision against Jake Speight.
"I won't criticise them for that second half when we played some decent football. But at half-time I told them they couldn't defend like that.
"It was a harsh lesson today for Scott Garner who is a young man learning his trade.
"He was up against a robust player. But, whatever level you are playing at, you can't defend that poorly. I felt Scott showed his immaturity today and he has got to learn from it."
Holdsworth has struggled to find the right defender at the right price in the last two weeks and said: "I will ask the question again of the chairman this week. But we are well aware they cost money. We don't have the money that some of the clubs have to bring players in but I respect that this club must manage itself financially."
Stags Man of the Match Ollie Hotchkiss added: "That first 20 minutes killed us.
"You can't expect to go 2-0 down like that and work miracles to come back.
"The two central defenders crossed over when they shouldn't have sand have held their hands up. But we need to defend better as a unit and must defend from the front properly.
"We also have to be more clinical in front of goal. Overall we played okay and created more chances."
Saturday 16 January 2010
Elder makes the difference
Nathan Elder made a dream debut for the Dons, scoring after just two minutes with a far post header from Will Hendry's cross, and creating the second for Lewis Taylor who swept home Elder's headed pass.
After their lay-off since New Year's Day, the Dons were good value for their win as they overcame a strong Mansfield team. All three of Terry Brown's new signings started the game and looked at ease as they settled into the Dons' diamond formation.
Having secured a two goal lead in the first half, Wimbledon withstood a Mansfield fight back early in the second half, and could easily have added to their goal tally with substitute Ricky Wellard twice being denied by excellent saves from keeper Alan Marriott.
Terry Brown was absolutely delighted with both the result and the display. "It was a massively important win today, beating one of the teams in the top five for the first time this season. It was vital after the set back against Hayes & Yeading on New Year's Day that we returned to winning ways. Mansfield were a big, strong, physical side who on another day could have scored two or three goals, and I was delighted with the clean sheet.
"The two first half goals were well taken and I could not have been more delighted with the performance of all three new signings. In particular, it was a great debut for Nathan, who was awesome in the first half. As we get used to the strengths of the new signings I am sure that we will get even more out of them. I was also very pleased with the response of the rest of the team and from those who came off the bench, and indeed Ricky Wellard was unfortunate not to get his name on the score sheet.
New faces shine as finally a big boy is beaten
Saturday 16th January 2010
By Sam Elliott »
AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Mansfield Town
Wimbledon expertly broke their big-five duck as the new faces took next to no time to prove their worth.
Manager Terry Brown's signing spree since the New Year's Day defeat to Hayes paid instant dividends.
After hitting the January sales, the Kingsmeadow boss begun with all three new-boys Danny Blachett, Glenn Poole and Nathan Elder.
And it was Elder who stole the show – scoring one minutes into his debut and providing an assist for the second as the on-loan Shrewsbury powerhouse inspired his new team to victory in the absence of Danny Kedwell.
Elder scored at both ends of the pitch on his Brentford debut ironically against Mansfield in 2008.
Lewis Taylor snatched the second today 20 minutes after the opener as the Dons leapfrog David Holdsworth's team into fourth place.
Brown said: “We had yet to beat a team in the top five so to get that win against a side up there is terrific.
“It's our first one and it could be a massively important one. We've had such a long break and it was vital we got back to winning ways after we lost to Hayes on New Year's Day.
“I looked upon this game as a signal of where exactly we are. We played our three new signings and they all did very, very well. None of them have played for a month and although they ran out of puff a little, you saw their quality.
“Nathan Elder took his goal very well and I think he'll be a quality signing for the club. What better debut could you asked for? He was awesome.
“Had we lost today I would have been feeling sorry for myself wondering if we could actually catch them.
“But as it is we're up into fourth and we're looking like a team capable of staying there.”
Elder nodded home Will Hendry's superb cross little more than two minutes in to get the ball rolling.
Mansfield had their chances – this was by no means a perfect Wimbledon performance – but casual finishing from Gary Silk, Lee Briscoe and Kyle Perry let the hosts off the hook.
There was to be no escape for the Stags as Brown's team showed them how to finish.
With the visitors' defence nowhere to be seen, Sam Hatton's cross was nodded back across goal by Elder and Taylor was there lurking to make it 2-0.
Glenn Poole, an impressive debutant, was a whisker away from adding a third eight minutes before half-time.
Mansfield continued to press after half-time but when Perry missed from five yards out they knew it wasn't going to be their day.
Michael Brough prevented Elder from making it 3-0. Wimbledon substitute Ricky Wellard came close with two stunning long-rangers but couldn't get the better of Alan Marriott.
A controversial linesman's flag denied Jake Speight three minutes from time – and Town manager Holdsworth wasn't happy with the assistant referee.
He said: “It was very debateable whether it was offside or not. There are two decisions there today, that and the clear handball by Danny Blachett, that could have changed the game.
“I'm not here to make excuses and I'm bitterly disappointed with our defending. We've had a long journey down and we've not played for three weeks but Wimbledon came out of the traps faster than we did. We were too slow to start.”
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