HOLDSWORTH, SPEIGHT, NIX AND EDINBURGH REACTION
David Holdsworth video interview --->
Jake Speight and Kyle Nix video interviews --->
Holdsworth praises fans' backing
CHAD.co.uk, By John Lomas
DAVID Holdsworth thanked the home supporters for playing their part in tonight's thrilling 3-2 victory over promotion hopefuls Rushden and Diamonds.
After five home games without a win and a failure to score a last minute penalty against 10 men for the previous two games, Stags won this one with a last minute Rob Duffy spot kick against 10 men.
In the match programme Holdsworth had called on fans to get behind the players and he said; "I am grateful to the fans tonight for their backing.
"It was a real test of character for the players as we have been having a tough time.
"I know the fans have been harsh on us recently and, at times, rightly so.
"But when we were losing at half-time they didn't give the lads stick which was a telling factor tonight which I recognise and I am grateful for.
"It really gave them a lift and then the fans showed their appreciation at the end with some generous applause which I must thank them for.
"It was also nice to see the directors and the chairman salute the players.
"We all want to do so much for this football club and the lads have gone home with smiles on their faces tonight.
"We have had some tough times recently and I am responsible for that. I hold my hands up – there have been errors made this year and I will look to rectify those.
"We haven't had much luck sometimes. But the players have stuck together and their commitment has never been in question.
"I feel for the players. They have had to keep a really close counsel in the last few weeks but now they are smiling.
"We have been hurting and the lads deserve all the credit tonight.
"We haven't achieved what we wanted to this season but the lads have worked hard and stuck to their guns."
Although Duffy grabbed the winner, earlier the hero was Jake Speight who twice levelled the game.
"I am pleased for Jake and he is kicking himself that he had four or five good chances tonight and didn't take the match ball home," said Holdsworth.
"For his first chip he used an eight iron but the second time he used a nine iron and got it right!
"But he scored two good goals, showed pace and power and got through 90 minutes."
Stags finally won a last ditch penalty for the third game in succession - and finally scored one!
"I couldn't tell if it was a penalty from where I was but Kyle Nix is an honest lad and wouldn't go down as wants to score," said Holdsworth.
"I thought Rushden might have had a penalty tonight but not a lot has gone for us this season so I am happy that one did.
"We have worked hard on penalties and we had a bit of a shoot-out in training. But I was pleased Rob was available tonight after we had missed four on the trot.
"It's all about the angles and the eyes of the keeper and the coolness of Rob. He knows what he is doing with it.
"You couldn't write this week as a book with the way things have panned out."
Full back Gary Silk was withdrawn with a tight hamstring and could be a doubt for Saturday's trip to Oxford United.
Stags in penalty delight
DAVID Holdsworth saluted the tenacity of his Mansfield Town players after they twice came from behind to secure a 3-2 victory over high-flyers Rushden and Diamonds at Field Mill last night.
The Stags notched their first victory in six and first home triumph in six thanks to a last-gasp penalty from ex-Diamond Rob Duffy.
That followed a Jake Speight double and visiting goals by Aaron O'Connor and Sam Smith.
Diamonds – previously unbeaten in 11 games - were reduced to ten men in the closing stages following the sending off of ex-Stags striker Jefferson Louis.
"The players have been vulnerable of late, we haven't had it all our own way, but we have stuck together," said Holdsworth.
"I hold my hands up and admit there have been errors and they are things we will look to rectify in the summer.
"We haven't achieved what we wanted to do this season but we have stuck with our beliefs and the lads have always given 100 per cent.
"This is a victory the players deserve for their hard work and I'm delighted for the fans and directors too.
"I can't tell you what I was thinking when we got a last-minute penalty for a third game running after missing in the other two – it's unprintable.
"But Rob is very capable in that situation and he put it away very well."
Mansfield trailed 1-0 at half-time for the third home match running, but vastly improved in the second period.
"We showed tremendous spirit in the second half and showed a real willingness to secure a victory.
"I said at half-time if we kept going in the second half we would score and we did."
Speight delighted to lead Stags fightback
JAKE Speight was thrilled to help Mansfield claim their first win in six matches – but also gutted to miss out on the chance of his first senior hat-trick.
The striker scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season to twice equalise against Justin Edinburgh's Rushden and Diamonds.
After former Stag Jefferson Louis had been shown a red card for two cautions, Speight then spurned the opportunity of claiming the matchball late on when he missed his kick from close range.
In the end, he was relieved when Mansfield won a late penalty and substitute Rob Duffy made no mistake to seal a 3-2 win. "I'm really pleased for the team to get the three points but I'm disappointed not to get the hat-trick, I've never had one before," said Speight.
"I think the chance for the third just bobbled up as I was about to put it in and it came across very quickly as well.
"I probably won't get a better chance than that and I know I probably could have had four goals with the chances I had throughout the game.
"But it was just nice to get back to winning ways and pay back those fans who have stuck behind us through thick and thin."
The livewire felt it was no more than the Stags deserved for their efforts.
"We worked hard in the second half, stuck to our guns and managed to come out on top," he said.
"We played Oxford off the park when they came here, so we have no worries about going there next and hopefully we can round the season off here with a win."
Justin Edinburgh: Hopefully it'll galvanise us
Well what can one say after that, I've never seen you so aggravated after a game and I think we all understand why.
Yeah, it's not easy to be an official and you can accept one bad decision but this one has made countless errors and many calls that have gone against us, we haven't lost the game, we've been beaten by the man in the middle simple as that. I'd accept defeat if it was a poor performance or they've taken chances, but I've just looked at our two penalty shouts and they're blatant penalties and unfortunately he's missed them.
He's sent one of our players off and I've seen a two footed challenge in the middle of the park by one of their players which could have broken someone's leg. So what he's done, is he's spoilt a big occasion for us, we've lost our unbeaten run, we've lost a player, so I'm very disappointed tonight.
It all started so well, Aaron O'Connor got two goals on Saturday and got another one today, it looked like you were playing some sublime football at times.
It was an outstanding first half, very good play, we worked hard, created chances and moved the ball around very well and we were comfortable for our 1-0 lead. We didn't start particularly well in the second half and they got an opportunity to get back into the game, but we showed a good response as normal and had a couple of decisions that didn't go for us. Sam Smith came off the bench, took his goal superbly but in the end decisions didn't go our way and we've lost the game.
What do you think to the penalty decision in the last minute?
It never was - he's out there to make decisions but tonight he's made some crucial errors and we're disappointed.
It's something that could galvanise you for the next couple of games because the team did nothing wrong out there tonight.
I thought coming into the game that we might have taken our foot off the gas but in front of another fantastic travelling support again, we've been cheated out of the game.
I would have been disappointed if we had come here and not produced, I made one or two changes who I thought had done well, Patto came in and did very well, Jeff's come back in after being left out on Saturday and did well, so I thought it was a good performance and worthy of something out of the game - but like you say, hopefully it'll galvanise us and we'll get a response, because the players are wounded in there, not because they've been outplayed or beaten but that its been taken away from them and that's disappointing.
Latest | April 2010