I can understand fans' frustrations, says Holdsworth
MANSFIELD Town's away fans turned on the team and manager at Rushden and Diamonds on Saturday evening as a 1-0 defeat in front of the live TV cameras left the stuttering Stags without a win in four games.
Manager David Holdsworth and central midfielder Gary Mills took the brunt of the venom as the mood in the stand grew ugly in the final quarter of the game.
Said Holdsworth: “I can understand their frustration. I am just as frustrated as they are. We are going away empty-handed but I couldn't ask for more commitment or willingness from my players today – just a bit more quality.
“What happened today from the fans will affect the players rather than encouraging them.
“If we had scored we could maybe have gone on to win and that would have changed the mentality of the fans at the end.
“Instead they vented their frustration on a player and the manager. But that's fine, it goes with the territory we work in.
“We were missing two quality players in vital areas in Adam Smith and Kyle Nix.
“We have worked extremely hard to get into this position. But there is no magic wand. I am working with the same squad we put together in the summer and, if things need changing, there may be the opportunity to do so in January.”
Stags conceded a ninth minute goal but created some good chances and twice struck the woodwork.
He added: “We came here to win the game. I am disappointed as we had enough chances to at least get a point or even secure a victory, but it wasn't to be.
“It (Rushden's goal) was a counter-attack. We were advanced up the pitch and gave the ball away. We got caught out on that one, but there was still enough time at that stage to create opportunities to get back level.
“The character of the players was right. The boys rolled their sleeves up and I don't think Rushden had too many opportunities after that.
“Luke Medley had the clearest cut chance of the game but hit the post and Rob Duffy also hit the crossbar.
“We needed a bit more quality at times. We created opportunities. We know we can do better from dead ball situations. But we had the lion's share of possession in the second half yet came away without a goal.”
Central defender Chris Smith said: “I thought we deserved at least a point. But you don't always get what you deserve.
“After going behind I thought we got hold of the game and created chances. But we have to defend from the first whistle.
“They broke quickly and did us with an early diagonal ball. Kevin Sandwith has had to come across for a midfield runner and the winger has picked out a good ball. It was a counter attack but we must deal with it.
On the fans' furious chants near the end, he said: “I thought the fans were brilliant before that, you could hear them right through the game. In fact they have been brilliant away from home all season.
“They have a right to express their feelings. That's what they have paid their money for. Not all of them may be right sometimes. But when you are losing you can't really argue with them.
“We have to continue doing what got us into the top six. We must get back to basics, work hard, get our heads down and it will come.”
Debutant goalkeeper Mihkel Aksalu was a forlorn figure at the end and said: “It was not the best start for me or result for the team. We were a bit unlucky. The passion was there. Everyone wanted to win it after what happened in midweek but it didn't happen.
“It was one of those unlucky goals. But we had three really good chances to score.”
Stags midfielder Kyle Nix was sent home with a virus in midweek and it is now touch and go if he will be well enough to turn out for the England C team on Tuesday.
“It will be their decision,” said Holddsworth. “Kyle has been ill but will join up with England, I wouldn't begrudge him the opportunity, and, with not having played for us today, the England doctor will have a look at him and decide if he is fit enough.”
Holdsworth plea to Stags fans: Back us, don't boos us
DAVID Holdsworth today urged Mansfield Town fans to back him rather than boo him and his team.
John Radford's takeover at Field Mill has seen expectations rocket on the back of Mansfield's bright early-season form and the promise of their new millionaire backer to invest heavily.
It means supporters have been less than impressed with three defeats in four games.
Saturday's 1-0 defeat in the televised game with Rushden brought calls of 'Holdsworth out' from sections of the visiting crowd, while midfielder Gary Mills was also singled out
But Holdsworth said: "A few people are feeling frustrated and I understand because I am too.
"The fans obviously vented their frustrations at me and some of the players – it's the territory we work in.
"But people have to understand where we have come from and take that into account. We have worked extremely hard to get in a good position.
"There is no magic wand. Fans must get behind the players and the club.
"The players need the correct type of support."
"When money is made available, then you can look again at the expectancy levels."
Paul Driver: A ground-out result
We spoke to Paul Driver following the Mansfield game.
Paul, three points from a very tough game?
Yes, what we've said to them at the end is that's what we want to get from them. If we're not playing as well as we can - and we didn't play as well with the ball as we have in the last 3 or 4 games - then we want people to work hard and track back, win tackles, and every player who started or came on at the end has done what we needed. It's a ground-out result isn't it?
You started like a train, and got that all important goal - a first for Tim Sills?
Yes, it's good for him. He's done well, having taken a while to get up to match fitness. He was very unlucky not to score in the Darlington game, where the goalkeeper made a really good save. Rene did well out wide, getting the ball across, and he's finished it.
We started well for the first 10 or 15 minutes, but after that we didn't really get to grips with their formation, or how they are playing, so that's why we changed it at half-time to try to nullify the threat of Louis Briscoe down their left.
In the first half Joe Day made a fantastic save to deny Gary Mills which kept you in it?
Yes, he's done well. We did an interview earlier in the week when I discussed how well he's been doing. He put his hands up to the mistake at Altrincham, but today you can't knock him - it's another clean sheet, and he's got man-of-the-match. He's still only 20, and he's had 18 months without any first-team football. He was making good decisions about whether to catch or punch, and he's only going to get better, so Dale's got a bit of competition when he returns.
It was quite a rearguard action in the second half?
Possession-wise they've probably done better than us, but it just makes a change for us to be a goal up and having to survive, rather that trying to get back from a goal down, as we were against Newport and Crawley.
There was a lot of good second phase play?
It's a team thing. When we watched the video of the Darlington game, everyone has worked their socks off in the last quarter of the game. We think we've got them to the fitness levels where they can do that, and the changes today were to do with the formation rather than anyone running out of legs, so yes, it's good if you've got everyone shutting down from the front then you're a solid unit aren't you ?
Sixth place in the league, and some would say you haven't got into top gear yet?
No I don't think we have - we've been playing reasonably well - at Eastbourne away or Darlington at home, but I think there's more to come from us. We've just got to keep working away to grind out results when we aren't playing well, and kill teams off when we are playing well.
Steve Hymas, on the Stagsnet messageboard, 10 Oct 2010
"Just to set the record straight.I have listened to an interview with Dh in which David Holdsworth states we were not expected to be top 10.
Well that is a suprise to us as we kept a budget in place to compete in the top 5.Exceptions being Crawley,Luton and Fleetwood who have gone silly.Rushden and Tamworth for example will have smaller budgets.
We also allowed him to strengthen in key areas with Foster,c Smith,Sandwith and Stonehouse to bolster the defence.A smith,Thomson in midfield. Connor and Parker up front.This was to give us a squad capable of competing top 5.He now states he could not sign players of the required standard to compete.Utter rubbish.They are as good as any in this league apart from the elite few players.
As i have said we all need to pull together and support the team and manager but excuses are not the order of the day.We do have a team capable of top 5 and we all know it.Its all now down to hard work and a little lady luck at times.There is new money in the club but no-one wants to see it squandered as it will be required in future times.
We all now need to look forward to the game on saturday against Darlington and come 5 oclock it may well be a new day and a new dawn. Up The Stags !"
Wednesday 13th October, 2010
Holdsworth Budget Claim Rubbished By Former Director
A former director at Mansfield Town has dismissed claims by manager David Holdsworth that the current squad will struggle to compete at the top of the Blue Square Bet Prem.
Steve Hymas told an internet forum that Holdsworth's view that he was not given a budget to chase for promotion was "utter rubbish".
Holdsworth has recently suggested he was unable in the summer to bring in the quality of players he would have liked to.
But, Hymas said that the former owners of the club felt they gave him the money needed to clinch a play-off spot.
His comments come in the light of intense criticism from certain sections of the fans towards the manager after a run of four games without a win.
Latest | October 2010