HOLDSWORTH, CONNOR, THOMPSON, HOCKADAY REACTION
Holdsworth video interview --->
Thompson and Connor video interview --->
Thompson delighted to be handed a Stags start
TYRONE Thompson was thrilled to fight off competition for a midfield spot to play his part in Mansfield Town's win over Forest Green yesterday.
The summer signing was one of five players fighting for two places in the middle of the park.
He and Gary Mills were given the nod ahead of Matt Somner, Kyle Nix and Steven Istead – and both played their part in a 3-1 success.
"Once you have got all the pre-season games out the way, you want to get off to a winning start," said Thompson.
"I enjoyed the game and being out there was a big plus after joining for this season.
"There are some fantastic players here who also want to play, so it was great to get a shirt.
"But Millsy and I are well aware that we are going to have to play well if we want to keep them."
Mansfield looked vulnerable at times from set pieces and conceded from one of them – Gavin Caines netting for Rovers.
But Thompson felt the positives outweighed the negatives.
He said: "It was disappointing to let a goal in like that from a free-kick and I was having a go at the ref because they moved the ball from where it was supposed to be when he turned his back.
"But we were still disappointed with the way we dealt with it when the ball came in. We have to defend better.
"The good thing is we have created a lot of chances and scored three goals. I would be more worried if we were not creating chances.
"We also have people in the side who can convert them and up front we were very bright."
Connor an instant hit with Stags fans
PAUL Connor believes his career in a Mansfield Town shirt could not have started any better – well almost!
The striker bagged two goals on his Blue Square Bet Premier debut as he finished on the winning side against Forest Green Rovers.
It won him the man-of-the-match award from the sponsors and made him an instant hit with the home fans.
But he also wanted to get his hands on the match ball – and felt he had the opportunity to do so.
"You could say it was the perfect start because as a forward you always want to get a goal in your first game – and I got two," said Connor.
"Scoring goals in pre-season is one thing, but it means a little bit more getting goals when the season gets underway for real.
"But I could have had a hat-trick. The chance in the first half came at me a bit quickly and I glanced it too much.
I had been scoring those in pre-season and should have taken it.
"To come away with the three points is the main thing and to have personal success is a bonus."
Connor reckons the Stags have every reason to be optimistic about the months to come after making 11 summer acquisitions.
He said: "We have blended together pretty well.
"You can't read too much into pre-season, but we seemed to have got to know each other's game pretty quickly.
"We can still gel even better I think but we have some very good players here and I have been impressed so far.
"It's early days and we won't get carried away by this opening result. We have to work hard if we are going to make sure we stay up there for the rest of the season."
Stags boss Holdsworth determined to prove the doubters wrong
MANSFIELD Town boss David Holdsworth says he and his Mansfield Town side are determined to prove the doubters wrong after their opening-day 3-1 victory over Forest Green Rovers.
Holdsworth has been irked the club are no longer considered as one of the sides who could be challenging for promotion.
But he insists that will not faze him or his players as they travel to newly-promoted Fleetwood tonight.
"We know what we have got in the dressing room. People can keep writing us off and don't have us down as contenders anymore," said Holdsworth.
"But that's down to circumstances off the pitch and we as players and management are working our socks off.
"If people want to keep knocking us down, I have no problem but we have a good team spirit.
"There is a lot more to come because some of the players have only been here a few weeks, but I'm very pleased with this start.
"We have worked hard in pre-season but it's different when you get to the opening day. There is always a tinge of nerves and apprehension, but we coped well."
While Paul Connor hit the ground running with two goals, fellow striker Keigan Parker failed to make the most of his chances.
But Holdsworth said: "He puts a huge amount of expectation on himself and was disappointed not to score. But with the movement he has, the goals will come."
Forest Green boss: We deserved to lose to Stags
DAVID Hockaday could not hide his disappointment after watching his Forest Green Rovers team slide to a 3-1 defeat at Mansfield.
The visitors did get back in the game at 1-1 through a Gavin Caines header after Paul Connor had put the Stags in front.
But strikes from Gary Mills and another for Connor took the game away from his new-look side.
"We were not good enough – they deserved to beat us," said Hockaday.
"We didn't turn up in the first 20 minutes, but we came back into it in the second half of the first half.
"They caught us cold with the first goal after we had talked about starting quickly in the second half in the dressing room at half-time.
"We did manage to get ourselves back into it, but for their second goal we made a mistake and after that, the game got stretched, during which they got a third.
"They had chances and we had them as well, but they took them and we didn't."
After investment from businessman Dale Vince on the eve of the new season, Hockaday signed six new players on Friday.
But he refused to use the fact they have still to get to know each other as a reason for defeat.
"When you cross the line, you can't use those excuses. We weren't brave enough on the ball," he said.
"It is going to take time for us to gel, but having said that I'm still disappointed with our performance."
Rovers urged to show courage
DAVE Hockaday has demanded more bravery from his Forest Green players after their opening-day defeat at Mansfield Town.
Among the favourites for promotion from the Blue Square Bet Premier, Mansfield ran out 3-1 winners on Saturday thanks to Paul Connor's brace and a Gary Mills strike.
Connor's first goal came two minutes after half-time, quickly cancelled out by former Cheltenham Town team-mate Gavin Caines on his Rovers debut, and Hockaday was disappointed by his side's apparent mental frailties.
He said: "The first two goals we conceded were poor, but I was more unhappy with the overall performance.
"We tried and ran but there was no cohesion, and nobody had any bravery on the ball until the final few minutes when Mike Fowler came on.
"It looked like a hot potato and that disappointed me because it was down to bravery from the midfield players.
"James Bittner wasn't happy with the second goal, thinking he might have been fouled, and you could argue about the third one as well with a possible offside.
"But we had no excuses. Once we stepped over the line we weren't good enough."
Caines only arrived from Kidderminster Harriers on Friday along with 19-year-old Jamie Grimes, who will spend a month on loan at the New Lawn from Swansea City.
Both were thrown into the starting XI at Field Mill along with six other debutants, a scenario forced on Hockaday by injuries to Jared Hodgkiss, Scott Bartlett, Ian Herring, Steve Davies and Ross Dyer.
Hockaday refused to blame the disruption for what he felt was a below-par showing.
"Yes, it is going to take time for new people to bed in, and we've got to make sure it's as short a time as possible," said Hockaday.
"But they didn't play like a team of mine does, with nobody prepared to pass the ball and not enough second balls won."
Hockaday's men are back in league action tomorrow night at home to Wrexham, another of the division's giants, and the chances of any of the injured players returning look slim.
But Hockaday stands by his decision not to re-sign defender Lee Ayres, who shone during pre-season but missed most of 2009/10 with a groin problem.
"I suppose it's sod's law that we sailed though pre-season and in the last week picked up these injuries," he said.
"We had a right good look at Lee but it wasn't to be. I had to tough decision to make and it just didn't feel right."
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