RUSSELL, ADAM SMITH, MARCUS LAW REACTION
audio interview with Duncan Russell --->
Slice of good fortune was well overdue for Mansfield, says Russell
DUNCAN Russell feels the slice of good fortune that helped Mansfield Town turn around their dismal run of form with victory at Kettering Town last night was long overdue.
The Stags triumphed 2-0 at Rockingham Road to record their first Blue Square Premier success in seven attempts.
Louis Briscoe sealed the points with an injury time strike, but it was an own goal from Kettering keeper Kelvin Jack – punching an Adam Smith centre into his own net – which set the visitors on their way.
"I'm absolutely delighted with the players' response. We had a pre-match meal and talked about how important it would be to roll our sleeves up," said assistant manager Russell.
"I feel sorry for the Kettering manager and their keeper but we had a report about him that he didn't like to come and catch crosses and unfortunately he has punched it in his own net.
"You need those things to go for you sometimes and we haven't always had the breaks our play has deserved in the last few weeks.
"It was a boost and a catalyst and we played some good football after that.
"We were the best team in the second half and deserved the win in the end."
Russell also praised the defence, saying: "We knew we would have to battle and we did just that.
"I thought we defended very well and that was the first thing the manager said when he came back in.
"We knew they would have some sort of good spell in the match and we stood up to it well.
"It is not just about going up the other end and scoring goals."
Injury-hit Stags back to winning ways
MANSFIELD Town will be hoping they have turned the corner after last night's much-needed 2-0 win at in-form Kettering Town.
It was just the tonic the injury-hit Stags needed after six league games without a win and an FA Cup exit but assistant boss Duncan Russell said: “We knew we would turn the corner in a game like this.
“A faction of the fans have not been behind us. But we asked them to be patient. Sometimes players play with fear but once we had scored the confidence came flooding back and we started playing some little triangles and better football.
“You do need confidence to do that. We asked the players to roll up their sleeves tonight and we were delighted with their response. They stood up to their test.
“We actually thought the conditions here would be worse than they were. Kettering had been on a very good run and we knew we'd have to battle.
“But we knew after half-time we would be playing down the slope and thought we could open them up with Adam Smith and Louis Briscoe and we did that.
“We were the bets team in the second half and deserved the result.”
Kelvin Jack helped Stags on their way on 59 minutes when he punched Adam Smith's long cross from the left touchline into his net, although Smith is trying to claim the goal for himself.
Then Louis Briscoe added a deflected second in stoppage time.
“Yes we had the bit of luck we wanted at last,” added Russell. “I feel sorry for the Kettering manager and keeper. But we had a report back that their keeper doesn't like to come and catch and he punches instead, and this time he unfortunately punched it back into his own net!
“We have had a lot of injury problems this week. But now we've won watch how quickly they all get back fit now!
“I would like to say a big thank you to our fans – the very faithful who came to watch us tonight and were behind us all night.”
Adam Smith added: “I have asked the referee if I can be awarded the goal as it was on target.
“I didn't mean to shoot but I wanted to put as much pace on it as I could and get it under the bar to make it awkward for the keeper.
“I am sure Ryan gigs has claimed a few of those down the years that have sneaked it like mine. The referee has said he will see what he can do.”
Winger Smith confident in ability of Mansfield Town squad
Evening Post, 15 Nov 2010
THE first person Adam Smith wanted to find after Mansfield Town's relief-inducing 2-0 victory at Kettering on Tuesday night was referee Rob Merchant.
Just about everyone inside Rockingham Road saw the Stags' 58th minute breakthrough as an own goal by Poppies keeper Kelvin Jack as he punched a left-wing centre from the winger into his own goal.
But footballers being footballers, left-winger Smith was determined to push his claims with the official for his third goal of the season.
Although he admitted his 'strike' was intended as a cross, he felt that, being on target, he should get the credit.
It remains to be seen whether that happens or if Jack has to carry the can.
Whatever the outcome, Smith knows the most important thing was that Mansfield got back to winning ways after a run of six without victory.
"I've been very disappointed with the results of late, but we are doing all the right things behind the scenes and we have stuck together," said Smith.
"We have played some good football but we have been a bit unlucky. I always thought things would be all right.
"We have had the chances to win games and it's just been a case of taking them.
"Doing that changes games. If you score at the right times it makes such a difference.
"Look at the Torquay game last weekend. If we had scored in the first half then it could have been a completely different game.
"But we were not worried because we all knew each other well and that we have quality players throughout the squad.
"We have got quite a few players on the sidelines, but if one player goes out then they are replaced by another of equal quality."
Smith feels his point is proved in the right-back slot where Steve Cook slotted in confidently and helped the Stags keep a clean sheet in Northants.
It follows the news that Gary Silk could be sidelined for several weeks – a couple at the very least – with a hamstring tear.
Smith said: "Gary Silk has been at the club for a long time and he has done a great job for the team.
"He's been very good but now we know we have to manage without him for a while.
"But there are other hard-working lads who want their own chance to impress.
"Steve Cook has been fantastic and it's nice to have the option of the long throw that he brings.
"I played against him when he was at Eastbourne and I thought he did very well, so I knew he would be a great addition to our squad.
"It's comforting to know you have someone as good as him to step in."
Mansfield boss David Holdsworth has come under fire from a section of the club's support in recent weeks.
But the fans were all smiles on Tuesday night come full-time, as their journey through the M1 rain was made worthwhile.
"I think it's ludicrous the stick the gaffer has got because he does everything he can for us. He does a fantastic job," said Smith.
"He works all hours to get things right. He does his homework on the teams we are going to be playing and gets the lads going.
"This is a time when we all need to stay together at the club because it will get better.
"I think now we have got that one win under our belts, we will get back on track.
"We are still in a decent position, despite the disappointing run we have had and I think all the lads recognise that."
Smith has been a regular this season with his only serious blemish being his straight red card in the 1-1 draw at Gateshead in early October, which resulted in a three-match ban.
He said: "I was going for the ball, but he just got there quicker than me. I got the man instead of the ball.
"I did think it was a little bit harsh at the time and it was frustrating to be out suspended, but I have put that behind me now."
Tomorrow, Mansfield will be out to post another victory away from Field Mill when they travel to Gloucestershire to take on Forest Green Rovers.
One-time Stags players Craig Armstrong is now on the coaching staff at the New Lawn while former central defender Luke Jones is in their playing ranks.
"We know Forest Green will not be an easy game, even though they are struggling in the league, " said Smith.
"We were focusing in the early part of the week on trying to get a result at Kettering and now we are giving 100 per cent concentration in trying to win this one."
Kettering boss disappointed as Stags find it all too easy
KETTERING boss Marcus Law was disappointed his side could not hit back from conceding the opening goal as Mansfield wrapped up a 2-0 victory.
The game was evenly poised when goalkeeper Kelvin Jack put through his own goal from an Adam Smith cross to hand the Stags the initiative.
And the visitors capitalised with a second from Louis Briscoe in stoppage time to condemn the Poppies to their first defeat under Law.
They have also only won once in the league at Rockingham Road all season.
"You have to be disappointed to lose the points at home, especially as I felt we were in control of the game before an unusual mistake," he said.
"I was disappointed that we didn't have the character to roll up our sleeves a bit more to try to get something out of the game.
"We plodded through the second half and we are only turning up for 45 minutes in our home matches where we are playing for 90 away from home. It is obviously something psychological that we need to address.
"We have reacted to the opening goal like the world is against us when we should have realised the goal was the only serious threat.
"We need to stand up in adversity, but in the end we took the easy option, which was disappointing.
"Kelvin (Jack) has been a great goalkeeper for us and he will be beating himself up about it – I have been there myself.
"It is unfortunate as a keeper that when you make a mistake there is usually only one outcome. When it is an outfield player, there is often someone there to cover."
There are no easy options to be taken
Marcus Law accused his Kettering Town players of "taking the easy option" as they slipped to a disappointing home defeat to Mansfield Town.
There was little to choose between two poor sides until the 57th minute when Poppies goalkeeper Kelvin Jack could only punch a cross into his own net.
Kettering failed to put the Stags under any sort of pressure after that and Louis Briscoe roundeADVERTISEMENTd it off in stoppage-time.
And Law, whose 65-match unbeaten league run was ended, was unhappy with the way his team reacted to the opening goal.
"We felt we were in control of the game but then an unusual mistake has given them the lead," he said.
"I am just disappointed that we didn't have the character to roll our sleeves up and get something out of the game.
"We ended up plodding through the second half and it's becoming a common trait that we turn up for 45 minutes at home.
"We seem to be able to play for 90 minutes in away matches so it's something psychological that we need to address – again.
"The mistake has affected us. We have reacted in a manner that would suggest the world is against us.
"We should have addressed the issue but instead we backed off. You need characters to stand up to adversity but on this occasion we have taken the easy option and it's very disappointing."
Law gave his full backing to Jack after a rare error from the loan stopper and added: "Kelvin is a tremendous goalkeeper and he will be beating himself up about it.
"But that's where I am saying to our lads 'he has saved us a few times, how about digging him out?' Unfortunately, that didn't happen and I am very disappointed with it."
Latest | November 2010