HOLDSWORTH, BRISCOE, GRAND, NEIL ASPIN REACTION
Holdsworth praises new-look defence and fans after FA Cup victory
CHAD.co.uk, Oct 23 2010
AFTER five games without a win, Stags boss David Holdsworth made big changes to his defence which paid off with a clean sheet and a 1-0 FA Cup win at FC Halifax Town today.
Loanee pair Steve Cook and Simon Grand made debuts alongside last week's debutant Rhys Day and Holdsworth said: “I knew what quality I was bringing in. We simply have not been keeping enough clean sheets so you have to do something about it.
“I though Steve Cook had a fantastic debut against a tricky winger, Rhys led with the captain's armband and played well and Simon Grand made some fantastic interceptions, got his head on the ball and made clearances.
“It was always going to be a tricky game and we have not been having the rub of the green. So we are pleased to get a clean sheet and be in the next round.
“They are a tough side and we had to work very hard. It was an excellent goal – a tremendous strike from Louis (Briscoe).
“I told the lads before the game to expect a fully committed Halifax side who have not been beaten here for a long, long time and a fine vocal home support.
“My defence was extremely solid and if we'd been a bit keener in front of goal we might have put the game to bed. My forward always ask themselves questions and need to do better.
“I am sure Luke Medley will be cross with himself for that chance at the end which would have finished it. He is a young man and must learn from it.
“There were lots of half-chances, in fact the game was all half-chances after the goal.”
As important as Briscoe's ninth minute thunderbolt winner was a late save from Mihkel Aksalu to deny James Dean.
“The keeper has only had one save to make. He's not really had anything else to do, but it was an important moment and a fantastic reaction save,” said Holdsworth.
“Our fans, who came up the motorway for the game, were fantastic throughout today and I want to thank them.”
Briscoe added: “That was what we came here for – a good professional performance.
“It was hard work and we have grafted away and got the result.”
On his goal he said: “Duffers (Rob Duffy) did well closing down and the ball fell to me and I took it round their defender and hit it home.
“I thought we looked strong at the back and we kept a clean sheet. We have been saying if we can keep a clean sheet we will win games.
“The early goal certainly settled our nerves. We have had a bad run recently so hopefully we can take this result forward into next week.”
Holdsworth hopes his strikers can become more ruthless in front of goal
MANSFIELD Town boss David Holdsworth is hoping his strikers can become more ruthless after a period of relative struggle.
The Stags scored plenty of goals early in the season, but they have dried up somewhat since.
Mansfield eked out their first win in six as they beat FC Halifax Town 1-0 in a FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie at the Shay yesterday.
But Holdsworth felt Mansfield could have won more comfortably had his team worn their shooting boots.
"If we had been sharper in front of goal then we could have put the game to bed," he said. "The game should have been over, but we made it juicy
"We had an opportunity just before half-time (for Paul Connor) that if we had scored may have helped kill it off.
And Luke (Medley) was cross with himself that he didn't score at the end, but he will learn from it.
"The thing is the strikers have been working extremely hard on their offensive play and finishing and had looked good going into the Halifax game.
"We were hoping they would take it into the game, which didn't happen but hopefully it will come in the matches to follow."
Stags boss Holdsworth admits to a pleasant defensive dilemma
DAVID Holdsworth admits he has a pleasant defensive selection dilemma to solve ahead of Mansfield's next game against Crawley this coming Saturday.
The Stags boss shook things up at the back for the FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash against FC Halifax Town at the Shay.
And he was delighted to see debutants Steve Cook – in at right-back – and Simon Grand, who played in the middle, pivotal in a 1-0 success to set up a first round home clash with League Two Torquay United.
Now he has to decide whether to stick with those same players against the Red Devils or bring back the more established Gary Silk and Steve Foster, who were left out.
"Steve Cook had a fantastic debut and Simon made some excellent interceptions and clearances alongside Rhys Day, who took on the captain's armband," said Holdsworth.
"We did well with the little things that make a difference, especially the second phase.
"I knew what quality those lads would bring to the club and the fact is we have not had enough clean sheets and when that's the case you have to do something about it.
"It's all about keeping the other team out, and those lads worked very hard for that.
"My defence was extremely solid and my goalkeeper (Mihkel Aksalu) performed one very good save, which you need away from home."
Mansfield were pushed all the way by their Evo-Stik Premier opponents and Holdsworth paid tribute to their efforts, as well as the support from the visiting Stags fans.
"I'm very pleased to have got through and I was pleased with a lot of aspects, although there are things we can improve on," he said.
"Halifax are a tough side who work very hard and they deserve credit."
Briscoe believes 'unspectacular' win was just what Mansfield needed
LOUIS Briscoe felt Mansfield Town's solid if unspectacular performance in beating FC Halifax at the Shay was just what the doctor ordered.
Playing in a more accustomed role on the right flank following the return of Adam Smith on the left, the former Port Vale man netted the only goal of the game.
It was his second goal of the season, having scored in the 5-2 home defeat to AFC Wimbledon.
"We went to Halifax and put in a professional performance. It was hard work, but we grafted away and got the result we wanted," said Briscoe.
"For the goal, Duffers (Rob Duffy) closed their lad down and I took it around the defender and just hit it in.
"We looked strong at the back and we have always said that if we keep clean sheets then we are going to win games.
"We just tried to concentrate on ourselves rather than looking at what kind of run they were on, even if we were told about different players.
"Going forward we could have created more, but we got the goal and that helped to settle our nerves.
"They had an appeal for a penalty, but I didn't think it was one.
"We have had a bit of a bad run and hopefully we can now take that result into next week (against Crawley). We have to make the play-offs – that is our big target."
Briscoe was impressed by what we saw from Mansfield's debutants Simon Grand and Steve Cook, who came in for Steve Foster and Gary Silk.
He said: "Simon has done well and Steve has come in and done nicely as well. I have played with Silky for two seasons now and we have got an understanding.
"The important thing was that those who were picked got the job done."
Grand: We must cash in on FA Cup victory against FC Halifax
SIMON Grand has urged Mansfield to cash in on their FA Cup victory at FC Halifax in the Blue Square Premier League.
The Stags got back to winning ways after a run of five matches without a triumph by edging out the Shaymen 1-0.
Grand made his Mansfield debut in the match, playing alongside Rhys Day in the heart of the Stags defence.
He wants the narrow success to be just the start as the Stags go in search of a play-off place.
"It was 1-0, but all that matters is that we got the job done and got into the next round," said Grand, on loan from Fleetwood. "It wasn't always comfortable, but we knew it would be that way; we knew it would be a tough game.
"They are far too good for the division they are in and have a fantastic stadium and pitch, so it was never going to be a walkover.
"I felt the back four played well and to start with a clean sheet from a personal point of view was good.
"Whether I stay in is not my decision to make but the gaffer's, but I have been brought in to defend – and that's what I did.
"If I am picked for a game then that is what I will do every time. I will do my best to stay in the side. I think I got on well with Rhys, but then he is a very good player, which makes it a lot easier.
"I just hope we can put together a bit of a run now in terms of winning games and keeping clean sheets."
Grand said he enjoyed his tussle with Halifax front two James Dean and Danny Holland, who had helped score 30 goals in their previous ten games, all of which had been won.
He added: "Both the lads they had up front were a handful because they were big and strong – meaning it's always going to be a battle."
Pleased With The Players
FC Halifax Town manager Neil Aspin told Shaymen Player he was more than satisfied with his players' attitude in their 1-0 defeat to Mansfield Town in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.
"I'm pleased with the players, I've always said that if they give 100% and show effort and commitment then I can't ask for anymore.We conceded an early goal, but we didn't let our heads drop and we've kept going all the way to the death and I thought in the second-half that we were the better team and we just needed a break in front of goal, but we didn't get it so we're unfortunate to lose 1-0."
Town conceded the decisive goal after just seven minutes, but Aspin reiterated how pleased he was that his players picked themselves up and fought back into the game.
"If you're the underdogs, you're playing at home in front of a big crowd, you need to try and get the first goal or try and keep it 0-0 for as long as possible which puts the opposition under pressure. To give them a goal like that, letting them settle into the game, it's taken us a while before we've been able to apply any pressure, but the big thing for me is that they've kept going. It would have been easy to let our heads drop and they would have knocked the ball around and it would've been a difficult afternoon for us, but we've kept going until the end and I'm pleased with the players. They've just got to make sure that when we're playing in our league, we show the same levels of commitment and effort, and then we'll be fine."
The second-half saw some eyebrow-raising decisions by the referee, and Aspin said his side had been hard done by from the referee's performance.
"Well I've very rarely had two players, one with stud marks down his thigh and the other one with a bandage and an ice pack over his thigh, which both injuries resulted in them both getting booked, so I can't understand what they got booked for, I don't think anybody could. Very strange refereeing decisions; I felt he didn't keep the game flowing, he let them waste a lot of time, but I don't want to take away from the players, they've worked really hard, they've had a great go at it and you just need a bit of luck on days like this and we didn't get much today."
Interview by Adam Cheshire, Words by Tom Scargill
Halifax Town 0 Mansfield Town 1: Vardy yellow could be overturned
halifaxcourier.co.uk, By Dave Fletcher
STRIKER Jamie Vardy could have the yellow card he was shown for diving during Saturday's FA Cup defeat to Mansfield chalked off after the match referee watched the incident again following the final whistle.
Vardy was cautioned for simulation after going down under a 55th-minute challenge which eventually led to him limping from the field.
Referee Dean Mohareb, who inexplicably booked Danny Holland for the same offence in the game, asked to see the matcADVERTISEMENTh video in the tunnel and appeared to admit Vardy had been fouled.
Now Town will have to wait for the referee's official report to see whether Vardy's card is overturned.
"Danny Holland had stud marks down his thigh from the challenge he got booked for and it should have been a free kick to us," said boss Neil Aspin.
"The blow Jamie Vardy took when he got booked has resulted in me having to take him off.
"They were the two most ridiculous bookings we have had in the same game and we cannot appeal against them."
For the second season in a row, Town went down 1-0 at the fourth qualifying round stage of the competition.
Twelve months ago it was a last gasp effort from Wrexham, on Saturday it was a sixth minute strike from Louis Briscoe that gave the Stags a place in round one and a home game with Torquay United.
But while disappointed to have been beaten, Aspin said he was proud of his players who pushed Conference opposition all the way.
"I am disappointed because I wanted to get through and I don't like losing any game," he said.
"Obviously we are going to lose in the FA Cup because we are not going to win it.
"The main thing for me was that when we went 1-0 down against a team knocking the ball about we stayed in the game.
"If it goes to 2-0 it can become a game that saps your confidence.
"I knew we would have a go in the second half and we kept going, putting them under pressure.
"If we can do that in our own league we are not going to go far wrong.
"We can play better than we did on Saturday. I don't think we flowed in the first half.
"We were a lot better in the second half and I would have liked us to have carved out better chances.
"But you have to say that their defenders are better than those we play against every week and we were not going to carve out chances at will My players kept going right to the end and can be proud of their efforts."
Town were the dominant force in the second half but not until the 87th minute did they force Mansfield keeper Mihkel Aksalu into a meaningful save.
Scott Metcalfe sent the ball into the Stags' box and James Dean dived to head goalwards only for the Estonian international to get his fingertips to it and put it behind off a post.
"Once he connected I thought it was going in, and Deano thought it was going in," said Aspin. "But the keeper's made a great save to keep it out.
"On another day it goes in, we get a draw and another chance."
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