Bubbling Stags aim to win over home doubters
CHAD.co.uk, 22 March 2010, By John Lomas
LIFTED by their biggest away win in 81 years on Saturday, Mansfield Town will be hoping to get their restless home fans on their side when they once again cross swords with Altrincham at Field Mill tomorrow (7.45pm).
Stags were given a rough ride by sections of their home supporters when only winning one of four successive home games before the 5-0 win at Histon.
Manager David Holdsworth said: "I am very proud of my players and the performance on Saturday.
"Getting the first goal helped settle the game down.
"We got the ball down and played which is what I asked of them last Tuesday against York, but they have been looking a little nervous at home.
"There was not much between the sides that night apart from the goal.
"I won't be doing too much differently from Saturday tomorrow though I may have a change or two forced on me by injury.
"I encourage the players to express themselves every game and on Saturday we managed to do that at a tempo.
"I know most of our fans will get behind us tomorrow. There is an element here you will never please. But I want my players to go out and enjoy playing here and express themselves.
"If there is a volatile section of fans, I would just ask them to support the players."
Stags have won a BSP and an FA Cup clash against Altrincham already this season and Holdsworth added: "Altrincham are like us and they fight for everything.
"They showed a tremendous team spirit on Saturday to get a last minute draw against a good Rushden side.
"They will probably come here 3-5-2 and do what other teams have been doing and again we must be patient."
There are worries over Gary Mills, who came off with a thigh injury at Histon, and Louis Briscoe, who has a slight hamstring.
Altrincham are currently six games unbeaten, drawing five of them.
Holdsworth willing Stags to enjoy home comforts
Evening Post, March 23, 2010
MANSFIELD Town's players will tonight be given every opportunity to recreate their demolition of Histon under the Field Mill spotlight, boss David Holdsworth has pledged.
The Stags take on Altrincham with question marks over whether the expectancy of the home fans is affecting the team.
The issue has been pushed to the forefront as Mansfield's 1-0 home defeat by York last Tuesday was followed by Saturday's 5-0 win at the Stutes.
Holdsworth insists he will give the players licence to play possession football, which he hopes will win over supporters.
"We want to get the ball down and play – and I asked for that last Tuesday night (against York), but there was a little bit of nervousness," he said.
"The angle and balance of distribution was much better on Saturday and I think everybody played their part.
"We won't be doing too much differently, although we may have to change things because of injuries.
"We will encourage the players to express themselves. That is no different to what we have been doing, but on Saturday we played at a terrific tempo.
"I want the players to go and enjoy playing at Field Mill.
"If there is a suggestion the crowd here can be volatile, then all I can ask is for them to be supportive."
Mansfield beat Altrincham twice in October – once in the league and once in the FA Cup – with both games having their fair share of controversy, not least things said between the two managers.
But Holdsworth said he had no problem with opposite number Graham Heathcote, adding: "We all say things in the heat of the moment and it doesn't concern me.
"Altrincham are like us – they fight for everything and proved on Saturday they have a tremendous fighting spirit by going down in the last minute to get an equaliser against Rushden."
Meanwhile, Holdsworth is backing the club's appeal – along with nine other teams – to reinstate the six points they lost following the expulsion of Chester City.
Were the Football Conference's decision to be overturned by the FA, all clubs who did not play the Blues twice would gain an extra three points.
It would leave the Stags still five points off the play-offs but better placed against rivals AFC Wimbledon and Luton. Holdsworth said: ""If something is worth fighting for, you should fight for it.
Stags' Briscoe wants more goals
Evening Post, March 23, 2010
THE look of delight on the faces of the Mansfield Town supporters gathered behind the goal said it all.
Not only was the Stags' emphatic 5-0 victory at Histon on Saturday something of a bolt from the blue, it was also achieved in some style.
Gone were the caution and nerves displayed in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of last Tuesday's home clash with play-off rivals York City, which ended in a 1-0 defeat.
Instead, they had the pleasure of watching the Stags produce some free-flowing football that captured the imagination and opened up their opponents time and again.
There was simply no sign of such a sensational transition leading into the Glass World Stadium clash.
Now the hope from the home faithful is that such inspirational stuff does not disappear as quickly as it materialised.
As one of those who thrived at the weekend, Louis Briscoe hopes so too.
But he is realistic enough to know the nature of the Blue Square Premier dictates such stylish performances are hard to repeat week in, week out.
"We have got good footballers in the squad who do try to play football, but it is not always on to play football," said Briscoe.
"Sometimes the teams you are playing pack the midfield and it is very difficult to play through them.
"Sometimes you have to go a bit longer and with the big lads we have available up front, they don't lose too many headers and you can then build up the second phase play.
"Blair (Sturrock) was given a go in a role playing off the striker (Kyle Perry) at Histon and he played little short passes.
"I tried my best to run at people and commit them and it seemed to work really well on the day.
"I don't think the players have a mental issue about playing at home.
"It's just that opposing teams often pack the midfield and put ten men behind the ball when they come to us and it can be difficult to break down."
Mansfield are unlikely to get the same amount of time on the ball against Altrincham tonight.
They are expected to employ a 3-5-2 formation at Field Mill as the Stags go for back-to-back wins for the first time since October.
He said: "Altrincham are organised and will make it hard for us but we will try to get the ball down as much as we can."
"They are a good outfit who are doing OK in the league, probably better than most people thought.
"We had a couple of games with them earlier in the season that were a bit feisty.
"We will want to go out with an aggressive streak, but also know where the line is – and the majority of the time we have known where that is."
Briscoe was pleased with how he performed at Histon – and relieved to get his first goal in more than five months.
He played as part of a three-pronged attack along with Sturrock and Perry.
"You have a bit more freedom if you play in a three rather than a four," said Briscoe.
"You have less of a defensive responsibility but I'm not really bothered which system I play if I'm getting the games.
"I enjoyed my goal (his third of the season) because I have not scored since October.
"We need goals from all over the park and if I can bring that into my game, as I have done at other clubs in the past, then it is good for the team.
"At the start of the season I wanted to get ten goals, but if I could finish with five then I would be happy."
Spotlight on Stags v Altrincham
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Mansfield (from): Marriott, Silk, Brough, Garner, Nicholas, Mills, Challinor, Burgess, Briscoe, Perry, Sturrock, Speight, Nix, Somner, Shaw, Duffy, Williams, Collett.
Altrincham (from): Coburn, Welch, Williams, Young, Densmore, Lawton, Doran, Danylyk, Brown, Senior, McAliskey, Little, Clee, Carden, Saunders, Denham.
Mansfield boss David Holdsworth has hinted he would like to play the same side as at Histon, so hopes Gary Mills (thigh) and Louis Briscoe (hamstring) will shake off knocks.
Luke Foster serves the second of a two-game ban, while Luke Jones and Ollie Hotchkiss (both ankle) are still out.
Altrincham will miss Tom Kearney (broken leg), and Matt Doughty and Dale Johnson (both cruciate).
Nicky Clee (groin) could be back to full fitness after being on the bench at the weekend.
John McAliskey The tall former Mansfield striker has scored twice since moving to Moss Lane in November.
Graham Heathcote Has guided the Robins into tenth place with just the closing stages of the season to go, despite a comparatively small squad.
Holdsworth waiting on duo ahead of Alty clash
Evening Post, March 22, 2010
DAVID Holdsworth today hinted he would like to play the same Mansfield Town side against Altrincham that notched their best win of the season against Histon on Saturday – injuries permitting.
The Stags were emphatic 5-0 victors over the Stutes at the Glass World Stadium as five different players hit the target.
Holdsworth was thrilled with that display and would like to retain some continuity for tomorrow's visit of the Robins to Field Mill.
But he may be forced to change his line-up if one or two knocks sustained by his charges do not clear up.
Gary Mills had to come off in the second half with a thigh problem while Louis Briscoe has a slight hamstring strain.
"Gary had some concern at half-time but he wanted to carry on, so it was sensible we brought him off when we did," said Holdsworth.
"Louis was also feeling his hamstring a little but we didn't want to bring him off immediately straight after he had scored the second goal.
"We hope they will both be okay. Any manager will tell you that they want the team to continue, to find out about partnerships, but sometimes it's not possible.
"I know what goes on behind the scenes, whether people are injured, need resting or have private matters.
"I would like to keep a settled side and I aim to do that given the opportunity.
"As a manager you take stock and I was very proud of the performance and players on Saturday."
Definitely out of the Alty clash are Luke Foster, who serves the second of a two-game ban, Luke Jones and Ollie Hotchkiss (both ankle).
Latest | March 2010