Burgess: I certainly wish I was still at Rushden - see below (Burgess later clarified that he was misquoted)
Speight aims to be spot on for Stags this time round
Evening Post, April 13, 2010
MANSFIELD Town's Jake Speight is hoping to put his penalty miss against AFC Wimbledon quickly behind him by helping his side to victory over Rushden and Diamonds tonight.
The striker had his 88th minute spot kick stopped by Seb Brown on Saturday before, incredibly, Kyle Perry had a second penalty saved in stoppage time.
The result was a 1-0 defeat and a fifth home game without a win for the Stags, whose players and manager David Holdsworth came under fire from supporters at full-time.
But the personal and team setback has not dimmed Speight's determination to finish the season with a bang as he continues his comeback from knee surgery.
"It was a very disappointed changing room after the Wimbledon game because we did everything right and had a lot of possession but could not take any of the chances we created," he said.
"We don't know how we didn't come away with the three points and, on a personal level, I missed a penalty as well.
"I wanted to take it – I wanted to take the one at Cambridge on Monday but I wasn't on the pitch at the time – but the keeper made a good save.
"I have been thinking about the miss a lot – I was gutted and it ruined my weekend.
"Kyle Perry wanted to score as well. He wanted to do it for the team.
"But you have to put it to the back of your mind. We created a lot of chances and now we have to convert them.
"You can't afford to let it affect your confidence, or you will go into the game thinking you are going to lose.
"Rushden may be unbeaten in 11, but Oxford were unbeaten until they came here and we did well against them. I just want to play the next three games now to try to end with a few goals."
Speight is hoping for a change of fortune against Justin Edinburgh's side.
He said: "I think maybe we need to be a bit more patient and also show more composure in front of goal.
"But we could also do with that little bit of luck to get us up and running again."
Holdsworth hoping to 'net' Rushden reward
Evening Post, April 13, 2010
IT will not have escaped David Holdsworth that the type of goal that saw his Mansfield Town beaten by Rushden back in September is exactly what they need right now.
That game at Nene Park looked set to be a goalless stalemate until Cliff Akurang's header deflected in off the unfortunate Luke Jones when drifting wide of the target.
It was a fluke strike that condemned the Stags to a third defeat in a row and left manager Holdsworth wondering what his side had done to deserve such misfortune.
Fast-forward a few months and the former Bimingham and Sheffield United player is in a similar situation.
As AFC Wimbledon boss Terry Brown confessed, on another day, Mansfield would have won Saturday's clash quite comfortably.
Instead, they fell to a third defeat on the spin as Seb Brown pulled off sensational late saves from Jake Speight and Kyle Perry, after the latter had struck the bar and also had a header cleared off the line.
Holdsworth acknowledges his front men have to be more clinical in front of goal after six blanks in their last eight home games.
But he knows a goal where the ball goes in off someone's backside, or indeed the opposition's, wouldn't half help either.
"Anyone who knows the game of football will recognise we should have won comfortably against a good Wimbledon side," said Holdsworth.
"We had 22 shots on Saturday and we haven't been clinical.
"But then you watch Match of the Day and you see Tottenham totally dominate for long periods against Portsmouth but not put the ball in the net.
"They have then found themselves knocked out of the FA Cup in the semi-finals after a defensive lapse allowed Portsmouth to score.
"So it is not just here that those things happen, it can happen in any stadium.
"Our strikers came in for criticism at the death, but it was a matter of inches between him (Perry) being the hero and hitting the bar.
"I'm a positive person and I think that's why I've still got the players' commitment.
"But we have not had that bit of luck that we would like. We have had the performances, just not the finishing touches. It's a thin line between success and failure."
Mansfield will be casting an envious eye at their visitors after their 2-0 home victory over Ebbsfleet guaranteed their place in the end-of-season play-offs.
With the play-offs in mind, they are likely to rest star player and top scorer Lee Tomlin, who picked up an ankle injury in that game.
Holdsworth said: "I know Justin Edinburgh and his assistant (Michael Stone) and they deserve congratulations for their season.
"They have had one of the outstanding players in this division in Lee Tomlin to call on and he can probably make the step up into League football.
"But we won there and drew here last year, so we haven't done too badly against them in the past."
Holdsworth made it known he was unhappy with the way fans criticised his players after the Wimbledon defeat, if understanding their frustration.
He re-iterated that verbal abuse would only unsettle his charges and insists encouragement is what is required.
"Whether it be the Conference, UniBond League or Premier League, everyone carries around a bag of confidence. Strikers, especially, are confidence players and when people get on their backs, it can hurt their game. They are still young men some of them.
"People can shout, scream and holler, but they have not let me down in terms of commitment. The Kidderminster game away is the only one where we didn't turn up.
"Effort is not in question. I ask for more, but that is in terms of quality."
Mansfield have taken only 20 points from a possible 57 since Christmas, more relegation than promotion form.
But Holdsworth is sticking by his beliefs.
He said: "If you look at the way we have played in the last six to eight games, we have played good football without winning.
"Only 20 points does concern me, of course, but not in the context of how we have performed.
"The trick is to find a way of winning games or drawing them. You always want more."
A first home win in six would certainly relieve some of the pent-up tension around Field Mill.
This time, Holdsworth will hope Lady Luck is on his side.
Diamonds reach 1,000 with Burgess wishing he had not left
13 April 2010, By Mark Lea
Tonight is another extra-special occasion in Rushden & Diamonds' history with their 1,000th first-team game.
A promotion play-off place has already been secured ahead of the Blue Square Premier trip to Mansfield Town where the away fans will have more reasons to celebrate the club's milestone.
Lining up against Diamonds should be Andy Burgess, Gary Mills, Jon Challinor and Robert Duffy who all began their professional careers by rising through the youth ranks at Nene Park.
Burgess has played for the club in exactly one-third of the total
fixtures and holds the record of 287 league appearances. Only Garry Butterworth (371) is above him on the all-time list.
He said: "It's a fantastic club and unbelievable – not only in terms of the set-up.
"I don't think another club has done what Diamonds achieved by working their way up with so much success.
"Millsy and myself were talking about it a few days ago. Looking back, they were definitely the best times of our careers when we played for Diamonds.
"The supporters kept it going as well and now it's fantastic to see the club in the play-offs.
"It's no surprise to me. They went through three-quarters of the season by getting on with it but they deserve to be up there.
"I certainly wish I was still there but it's easy to say I should have done this or that.
"People close to me know that I regret leaving and I'm gutted that I'm not part of this season's achievements.
"But I had to jump at the chance of joining Luton Town and then Mansfield took over my contract following a change of management.
"It's always nice to play against one of your old clubs and, of course, I'm looking forward to tonight because I've kept in touch with a lot of people at Diamonds.
"Mansfield have got nothing to play for in terms of the league. There is always personal pride and playing for your future so we are going to enjoy it under no real pressure."
Diamonds boss Justin Edinburgh said: "It's great to be involved in the club's 1,000th game.
"There has been a lot of history and great matches in there. Hopefully tonight can be another one."
David Holdsworth video interview --->
Mon 12 Apr 2010
David Holdsworth is speaking to Dave Rhodes (Mansfield 103.2), John Lomas (Chad) and Matt Halfpenny (Evening Post) at today's press meeting.
VIDEO & COMMENT: Holdsworth: We missed Duffy
mansfieldtown.net, Posted on: Mon 12 Apr 2010
David Holdsworth says that we missed our designated penalty taker Rob Duffy during Saturday's 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon but that he may return to action tomorrow night.
Both Jake Speight and Kyle Perry saw their penalties saved late on as we missed out on the opportunity to claim at least a point against the Dons. It was the second game in a row that we have been unable to convert from the spot following Jon Shaw's miss at Cambridge on Easter Monday as our appointed taker watched from the sidelines with a dead leg.
The Gaffer regrets that Duffy was not fit enough to try and convert them himself but praised Wimbledon's 19-year-old shot-stopper Seb Brown for keeping them out.
"The boys (Perry and Speight) were brave to take the penalties but equally their 'keeper made two great saves," Holdsworth said.
"For two games now we would have liked to have had (Duffy's) cool head on the pitch."
Duffy has now recovered sufficiently to almost certainly feature in the squad for tomorrow night's visit of Rushden & Diamonds whilst in other team news, Brough and Hotchkiss are ruled out for the rest of the season but Luke Jones is in full training and may feature in our trip to Oxford this weekend. Burgess missed out on Saturday's loss to Wimbledon with a stubbed toe but the swelling has now disappeared and the Gaffer will assess his fitness in training today.
Holdsworth has hinted that he may look to make changes to the side that lost two days ago as we look to halt a five match winless run and a disappointing sequence of results that has seen us without a win at home in our last five attempts. He firmly believes that we need to score more goals if we are to start winning more matches.
He added: "I might want to freshen things up as we've played three games in a week so there is some fatigue out there."
"We could not have done anymore on Saturday, we had a number of chances to win the game outright and I think that anybody who knows about football will know that we should have won comfortably.
"We haven't been clinical enough - fact, and games are won on goals. The key element is that you must take your chances and we have got to find the players who can find the back of the net.
"If you look at the way we've played in last six to eight games we have not got the results that we have deserved and I need to find the formula that turns draws into wins.
"We have had enough chances to have won an abundances of games but that has been the problem."
Finally, with 15 players out of contract in the summer, our last three games pose a final opportunity for them to earn new deals for next season. If Holdsworth does not feel he has got enough from his players, he has not ruled out bringing in news faces during the pre-season in time for our next campaign.
"Our designs have been fine, we just have not had the cutting edge.
"We have got some very good players here and we are not far away but individual errors have cost us and we need to change that.
"We have a good nucleus of players but if we need to change it in the summer then we will."
Can Stags cut through Diamonds?
CHAD.co.uk, 12 April 2010
By John Lomas
DAVID Holdsworth hinted at changes for tomorrow night's visit of Rushden and Diamonds (7.45pm) and asked fans to stay behind his Mansfield Town players through the game.
Play-off bound Rushden are unbeaten in 11 games and arrive at Field Mill to take on a Stags side who have failed to win in five home outings and failed to score in six of their last eight at home.
The latest flop, a 1-0 home defeat by AFC Wimbledon on Saturday saw Stags fans give their side and manager a hostile reception as they left the field, promoted by a host of chances missed, including two late penalties.
"The strikers came in for a lot of criticism at the death on Saturday but I have told them to keep working hard," said manager Holdsworth.
"When fans are having a go at players then players take their minds off what they are supposed to be doing.
"Every player from Conference level to Premiership carries a bag of confidence. Strikers are confidence people and if they have people on their back it can hurt them. Some are young men still learning.
"Kyle Perry was so close to being the hero when he hit the bar. But then he missed a penalty and took a lot of stick.
"It is my job to now try to pick them up and get the win that we have been so close to at home. It is such a fine line."
He added: "At Rushden we dominated the second half but lost to a last minute own goal. They are a good club and in Lee Tomlin have one of the most outstanding players in our league and one who could make the step-up to the league at any time."
Jake Speight was one of the two players who missed a penalty on Saturday and he said: "I was gutted and have been thinking about it all weekend.
"I wanted to take it but their keeper made a good save to his right. It was one of those days when nothing went for us.
"But we will stick together and try to do our best for the club.
"We do need a home win. But teams came here early in the season and we put three or four past them so they now come knowing what we are capable of and just sit tight behind the ball and make themselves hard to beat."
With so many games recently Holdsworth said he may freshen things up tomorrow with a change or two.
Rob Duffy and Andy Burgess should be back in the squad though fellow injury victim Luke Jones is more likely to be involved at the weekend.
Rushden may rest Lee Tomlin and Craig Farrell, who are bot nursing knocks, with one eye on the play-offs.
The game marks the visitors' 1,000th fixture and they are likely to include former Stags striker Aaron O'Connor, who netted both goals against Ebbsfleet at the weekend.
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