HOLDSWORTH, DAY, THOMPSON REACTION
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Holdsworth 'sickened' as Stags concede equaliser deep into injury time
STAGS boss David Holdsworth was left feeling “sickened” after watching his side throw away victory in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
Mansfield had looked like ending their four game win-less streak after Paul Connor's eighth goal of the season saw Stags leading 1-0 deep into injury time.
But the Mansfield rearguard switched off in the 97th minute to leave an unmarked Tommy Wright to fire home and rob Holdsworth men of two points.
Speaking after the game a disappointed Holdsworth said his side's failure to take their chance had been costly.
“It is sickening to come away with just a point having dominated the game,” the boss said. “We had enough chances to win the game in the first half. We failed to get the second goal and that is the telling factor.
“We came out with a good tempo in the first half and passed the ball about. Our goal was a well worked goal and we deserved three points. We had four players who should have stopped the cross coming in for the equaliser and we should not be leaving a player unmarked in the box.
“If Connor had scored just before the break things would have been different, but we had enough chances throughout the game to win. We worked very hard throughout the match and it is very disappointing to have been pegged back.”
Holdsworth added his side, who are next in action against FC Halifax Town in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round, now needs to learn from the blow and kill games off in the future.
“If we had got the second the match would have been over with. We will now dust ourselves down and move on from this,” he said. “It is important that we learn from this experience. To get success you first need to overcome the setbacks and that is what we must do.”
Great to be back at Mill, says Day
STAGS defender Rhys Day has spoken of his disappointment after his return to Field Mill was wrecked at the death by Darlington's last gasp injury-time strike, reports Stephen Thirkill.
Day, who was signed on loan from Conference rivals Oxford United on Friday, enjoyed a commanding match at the heart of the Stags rearguard and nearly found himself on the scoresheet after his 75th minute header was cleared off the line by Aaron Brown.
But Day, who made 95 starts for Stags between November 2002 and July 2006, was denied a winning return after experience striker Tommy Wright blasted home in the 97th minute.
After the match Day said: “It is great to be back at Field Mill but it is devastating to have been pegged back like that. We played some excellent football in the first half and gave a good account of ourselves.
“Conceding a goal like that is a bitter blow for us but we will just push on. If we keep playing like we did in the first half then we will keep getting the results.”
And following a positive return to the Stags side, Day added: “It felt good to be playing back at Field Mill and I felt solid in the defence. I felt fit and gave it my all today, I'm looking forward to playing more games in the future. I am not thinking past January just yet, I just want to play games for Mansfield Town and work towards getting us back in the Football League.”
Mansfield boss is convinced confidence will not be jolted by winless run
MANSFIELD Town boss David Holdsworth is convinced his players' confidence will not be jolted by a run of five games without victory.
The Stags looked to have secured a welcome success as they led Darlington deep into stoppage time on Saturday through Paul Connor's first half strike.
But they were pegged back with almost the last kick of the match as Tommy Wright grabbed a late equaliser.
Holdsworth, though, believes there are enough positives for his charges to remain upbeat going into this weekend's FA Cup forth qualifying round tie at FC Halifax Town.
"There is no confidence problem at our place," he said. "The boys work very hard and are still focused but if you are going to have success, you will have setbacks.
"The setbacks we encounter are ones we have to learn from – and we will learn.
"To dominate the game and only come away with a point is hard to take.
"The make up of the game was very good but the end product wasn't what we wanted.
"It was a sickener to come away with only a point. In the first half we played some of our best football of the season and we created a number of chances.
"But I felt we needed to get a second goal and we never did and disappointingly that was a decisive factor in the end.
"I think we deserved to take the three points and speaking to their staff and they are gracious enough to be pleased with their point but know perhaps that we should have taken all three.
"It is frustrating for me and the players, but we have to make sure we stay focused and keep preparing in a professional manner.
"If teams were coming here and opening us up then it would be a worry, but no-one other than Wimbledon has done that, which was from our own mistakes."
Holdsworth confirmed Gary Mills is set to depart Field Mill on loan and will choose between two clubs who have shown an interest in his services.
Stags boss Holdsworth delighted at old boy's contribution
DAVID Holdsworth declared himself satisfied with Rhys Day's return to Mansfield Town's colours.
The central defender was signed on loan from Oxford United at the end of last week having last played for the Stags in 2006.
And his new boss was impressed by what the Welshman produced in yesterday's 1-1 draw with Darlington.
"I don't think anyone can take away from him that it was a good start. He won the first ball, which is what I wanted from him," said Holdsworth.
"It was a telling contribution and his leadership qualities were outstanding. He is only going to be better for that."
Holdsworth was happy with the way Mansfield passed the ball against the Quakers.
But there were parts of the team's play that he knows can get better.
He said: "We set out at the right tempo and we felt the right thing to do was to pass the ball and keep it on the ground.
"It was a well-worked goal for us (scored by Paul Connor), the type of thing we work hard on in training and it paid off.
"If we had gone and scored a second goal then it would have been over and done with but we didn't and that proved to be telling.
"I can't criticise the way we played, but the small mistakes you make can cost you.
"I was disappointed we gave away cheap free-kicks at the start of the second half.
"The players at the back have to look at that, especially with the experience they have got.
"That was part of the reason that allowed Darlington to have a spell for 10 minutes where they looked more likely."
Holdsworth was disappointed with the way Mansfield defended in conceding Tommy Wright's stoppage time equaliser.
"Four players should have stopped the cross coming in and we shouldn't have allowed a man to have that much room in the box at that stage in the game," he said.
"There were seven minutes of stoppage time because our goalkeeper (Mihkel Aksalu) had an injury, but we still had chances to finish it off before then."
Day disappointed not to mark his return with a Stags win
RHYS Day was left disappointed he could not mark his return to Mansfield Town with a victory over Darlington.
The Stags were held to a 1-1 draw at Field Mill as the central defender made his first start since signing on loan from Oxford United.
Day made 121 appearances for the club between 2003 and 2006 and will remain with the club until January at least.
He believes Mansfield will pick up plenty of victories if they can keep producing a similar level of performance.
"I'm devastated we didn't win. It's brilliant to be back and the fans were excellent, but it was gutting for everyone that we couldn't hold on for the win," said Day.
"Some of the stuff we played in the first half was outstanding and I know with the boys we have in the squad we are capable of that. We felt we gave a good account of ourselves.
"But clearly you are not going to be happy conceding in the 97th minute and it is a bit naïve of us to concede at that point.
"It is a learning curve for us and we have to push on now from that.
"But there were a lot of positives and if we play like that all the time I don't think there will be too many teams who can live with us.
"They are always going to throw the kitchen sink but we defended well when they had a 15-minute period after half-time and we passed it well."
Day enjoyed playing alongside Mansfield captain Steve Foster, who he knew prior to rejoining the Stags.
He said: "It felt like a good start. Fozzie is an experienced head. I've played against him quite a few times before and we've been out for beers when I played here before.
"Up front they had Jefferson Louis who is quite a handful but I thought we did ok and I'm looking forward to the future."
Thompson delighted to end a frustrating spell on sidelines with Mansfield Town
TYRONE Thompson was delighted to end a frustrating spell on the sidelines against Darlington – even if Mansfield did not secure the desired result.
The midfielder had last played in the 1-0 home defeat by Tamworth at the start of September.
But he was recalled for his first involvement in nine games to play alongside Adam Murray and Kyle Nix.
It looked to be a winning return for Thompson until a late leveller from the Quakers.
"It is great to be back in the side but it was really disappointing to let the late goal in," said Thompson.
"We will look back at the DVD and analyse as a team what we could have done better to prevent it.
"I have been on the sidelines for a while and I'm probably the worst watcher of games in the world – I hate not being involved.
"But we have got some fantastic players in the team and I know you have to perform well to earn a shirt and to keep it.
"I'm a professional and I have still supported the boys who have been in the team, just as they support me.
"Every footballer wants to play, so hopefully I can stay in the team now."
Thompson felt Mansfield paid the price for not punishing Darlington while they were on top.
He said: "When we have teams under pressure, as we did with them in the first half, we have to make sure we take advantage and put the game to bed. Football is a cruel game and things can come back to haunt you if you don't put your chances away, which is what happened.
"It could have been different if we had gone 2-0 up before half-time.
"The good thing is the lads have created chances all season and we know that we can score the goals we need."
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