HOLDSWORTH, PILKINGTON, HOCKADAY REACTION
audio interview with David Holdsworth --->
Furious Stags boss lashes out after defeat
SKIPPER STEVE Foster received the brunt of Stags boss David Holdsworth's fury as he lashed his side for their poor showing in a 2-1 defeat at struggling Forest Green Rovers.
Foster was shown a straight red for violent conduct after a clash with Reece Styche, his second of the season and the club's fifth, at a time when Stags needed him on the field.
But Holdsworth, who took his side down overnight to prepare them properly for the game, was bitterly disappointed with the overall showing.
He said: “It was a disappointing first half, extremely disappointing. We weren't at the races in the first half to be honest.
“And going down to 10 men again, it certainly makes my blood boil when the captain has allegedly made a poor decision.
“Obviously the referee and the assistant have decided to send the captain off.
“Going down to 10 men again is not acceptable. We have spoken and spoken about it and for your captain to get sent off for ill-discipline is disappointing.
“With Rhys Day back from suspension next week that's made my job easier. But Fozzie should know better.
“If he has reacted then he has let everyone down and we will see. I need to see the video of that and a few other things. Fozzie said he hadn't touched him.”
He added: “Right now, straight after the game until I've seen some of the match again, you wait and reserve your judgements on some things.
“But there have been a few home truths told and certainly a few of the players have to look at themselves in the mirror over the weekend.
“They have to ask themselves why they didn't start very well.
“We have prepared right and done everything right and they have to look at themselves, the players. Ultimately from my point of view when they cross that line there is nothing more we can do.
“There are some very talented players at this football club but you have to have that experience and mechanism to go out and perform.
“The game is played by physical people but some with weak minds – that's all over England and the world I would imagine.
“We wanted to be positive and we came here expecting to do a lot better than we did in the first half.
“I can't grumble about the endeavour at the end because we were certainly looking like we might get a point. After the first half we wanted to see improvement but we didn't see it until Fozzie went off.”
Holdsworth decided not to risk starting with top scorer Paul Connor, on his way back from injury, but it was his introduction alongside new signing Danny Mitchley who really sparked a fightback when they came on as substitutes.
“Paul has not been fit and I have had to manage that situation. In the last four or five weeks I have had one fit striker,” he said.
“The last thing you are going to do is throw someone in at the weekend. Danny Mitchley is a young boy and we haven't got the experience up top to manage that.
“Paul was the one that we were looking at for the change.
“After that I felt we created two or three very good chances. I was delighted with the goal and delighted with Danny.
“We could have been 3-0 down at half-time and it wasn't good enough first half. Ultimately it's a mistake that cost us the first goal.
“We addressed a few things at half-time, I wanted a response. But the response of someone showing ill-discipline is not what you need.
“I was really pleased with the two boys who went on.
“But I felt our two wingers didn't get the ball down and play.
“We worked hard yesterday on shape and getting the ball down, but I don't think we did get the ball down and I thought the front two boys were not good enough today in the first half with the ball coming back far too quickly.
“Some of our play was not good enough and we could have shown more fight.
“It has undone a lot of the good work we did on Tuesday. We felt we could come here and be positive and that's why we played with wingers.”
Keeper Kevin Pilkington conceded an early penalty to gift Rovers their opener but thought the referee got it wrong.
“I am experienced enough to know I should have just cleared the ball,” he said.
“But I was waiting for it to bounce back into the box so I could keep the ball it in play. It just seemed to hold up and their lad has just nicked it away from me and then ran straight into me. I didn't try to bring him down
Holdsworth defends decision not to start with Connor as Stags crash to defeat
MANSFIELD Town boss David Holdsworth today defended his decision not to start with Paul Connor in the 2-1 defeat at Forest Green Rovers.
The Stags struggled for much of the game and trailed 2-0 early in the second half when the striker was introduced.
He helped inspire a fightback from the Stags, despite them being reduced to ten men following the dismissal of captain Steve Foster.
Many fans felt Connor's contribution proved he should have been given the nod to be in the starting line-up.
But Holdsworth insists the striker was not fit enough for that as he continues his comeback from a hamstring problem.
"Paul has not been fit and I have had to manage that situation. In the last four or five weeks I have had one fit striker," he said.
"The last thing you are going to do is throw someone in at the weekend. Danny Mitchley is a young boy and we haven't got the experience up top to manage that.
"Paul was the one that we were looking at for the change.
"But I was really pleased with the two boys who went on.
"But I felt our two wingers didn't get the ball down and play. We didn't get enough out of Keigan Parker, nor Adam Smith and Louis Briscoe,
"We had to take Adam off because of the sending off and we got a bit more out of Louis at the end.
"Why we didn't really get enough out of them only the players can tell you because everything was done correctly for them."
Holdsworth admitted Mansfield's improved performance late on was too little too late.
He said: "We wanted to be positive and we came here expecting to do a lot better than we did in the first half.
"I can't grumble about the endeavour at the end because we were certainly looking like we might get a point.
"After the first half we wanted to see improvement but we didn't see it until Fozzie went off."
The Stags boss was frustrated by the way his sided concede the opening goal in the eighth minute, a penalty converted by Yan Klukowski.
"When you got Steve Foster and Kevin Pilkington who have played a number of games between them then one straight ball from the back should see them deal with that," said Holdsworth.
"Just doing the honest thing and putting your foot through it would have been the safest thing to do. Your captain should know that and the goalkeeper is an experienced man.
"Kevin has put his hands up to it which is typical of him.
"Now we are back at home and we want to get a result (against Hayes and Yeading).
"We will work extremely hard again and see what type of reaction we get."
Opposite number David Hockaday was thrilled with what he saw from Forest Green, aside from their late wobble.
He said: "We were strong and restricted them to very little and then nearly found a way not to win the game again.
"As happy as I am with the overall performance, we can't make silly mistakes like that (from keeper James Bittner).
"At 2-0 they were dead and buried, they had nothing, but that ruffled us and gave them something to go at.
"It's a massive three points for us because they are a good team, one of the top teams. They have got a big squad and they have got big players.
"We thoroughly deserved that and at 2-0 we were streets ahead of them.
"The fella (Foster) deserved to get sent off, so well done to the linesman for spotting what he was doing to Reece.
"To be fair to them, with ten men, they responded and caused us problems and we hung on a bit at the end.
"But we looked strong, powerful, fit and together."
Goalkeeper takes responsibility for opening goal as Stags lose at Forest Green
KEVIN Pilkington took responsibility for the opening goal that put Mansfield on the road to a 2-1 defeat against Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn.
The experienced goalkeeper failed to collect a long ball forward when he was clear favourite and consequently brought Reece Styche down in the box, allowing Yan Klukowski to score from the resulting penalty.
It was a blow from which Mansfield never recovered as Styche went on to score a second.
Danny Mitchley pulled a goal back with his first goal for the Stags as time ran out, but that strike was all in vain.
"We didn't come out of the traps, the tempo wasn't there and it was a silly early goal to give away, which was my fault," said Pilkington.
"I think I should have stuck it in the stand. I thought the ball was going to come back into the area but it's just held up.
"He has got a foot on it and ran into me and the referee has given a penalty which is one of those things.
"We didn't start well and that had a knock-on effect for the rest of the game. If you don't start well then you don't get a foothold in the match.
"We were not getting to the second balls, the clearances were not good enough and the attacking play was not good enough. But we will learn from it and we will kick on."
Pilkington still felt Mansfield could have snatched a point with Louis Briscoe and Simon Grand going close after Mitchley's strike.
He said: "We came out in the second half with all good intentions, but the second goal has just killed us straight away.
"It put us right on the back foot and then it's taken us to go down to ten men before we started playing some decent stuff.
"I think their lad has made an absolute meal of it for the sending off and he has conned the referee."
It's relief for Armstrong as he puts one over former club
CRAIG Armstrong felt more relief than delight at helping current club Forest Green beat former employers Mansfield Town.
The 2-1 victory enabled the left-back to gain a degree of revenge for the 3-1 defeat suffered at Field Mill on the opening day of the season.
But he was more thankful that his team got back on the winning trail and hopes they will now turn the corner.
"It's a big win for us. It's been quite difficult for us since August when we picked up something like nine points," said Armstrong.
"We went on a really terrible run after that. But we started off in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round against Maidenhead, I think, by grinding out a result and it has started from there, apart from last weekend against Northampton in the cup.
"Of course it was one I wanted to win being against Mansfield but, to be honest, and I'm not being disrespectful, I actually fancied our chances.
"They have had a lot of changes in their side since the start of the season and we have been working very hard on the training ground, at our fitness as well.
"It's great for us but it's a long way to go for us and at the moment we are still in a relegation battle.
"I don't think they would have offered anything at all in the whole 95 minutes had we not gifted them a goal back.
"That goal put us on the back foot any maybe we started to think, 'Crikey, here we go again'.
"James Bittner pulled off a save from Louis (Briscoe), which I should have dealt with a bit better, but apart from that they haven't really been in the game at all.
"Kevin Pilkington has pulled off one or two good saves in the first and second halves and the game should have been dead and buried."
Mitchley wants to be part of Stags' long-term plans
DANNY Mitchley today outlined his determination to win a permanent contract at Mansfield Town.
The former Blackpool and Wrexham striker signed a week-to-week deal at Field Mill last week.
The 21-year-old celebrated by coming off the bench to score in the Stags' 2-1 defeat at Forest Green at the weekend.
But Liverpool-born Mitchley is hoping that is just the start for him under the managership of David Holdsworth.
"It's always pleasing when you get a goal for a new club. But I'm still disappointed by how the game (at Forest Green) went," said Mitchley.
"Paul Connor gets hold of the ball really, really well and anyone who plays up front with him, as I did when I came on, likes to work off him.
"That's what I tried to do and he set me up for the goal, which was a good pass. Hopefully I can build on it.
"I want to stay as long as I can and I know that's all down to how I do when I come on or if I'm picked.
"If I can score some more goals, then hopefully that can lead to a longer contract.
"All the lads are great and I enjoyed my time when I was on trial here in the summer. I was keen to come back when things didn't work out for me at a higher level."
Mitchley is hoping to get the chance to impress from kick-off in this weekend's home clash with Hayes and Yeading.
He said: "I would love to start but it's all down to the manager,
"He makes the decisions and no one questions his judgment because he knows what he's doing."
Holdsworth has been impressed with Mitchley's contribution so far, saying: "I have watched Danny for 18 months at Blackpool so I know what he's capable of.
"He wants to earn something and there is a hunger there and Danny has put himself in the frame for the weekend."
Kevin Pilkington demands response from Mansfield Town
Mansfield Town goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington admits last week's display in the 2-1 defeat away against lowly Forest Green Rovers was unacceptable.
But Pilkington said the Stags are eager to make amends when they face struggling Hayes & Yeading on Saturday.
"We weren't good enough against Forest Green until about 75 minutes and then we started having a go," he said.
"It's a must-win on Saturday. We need to regroup, dust ourselves down, go again and get a run of wins together."
But the former Manchester United youth team product, who re-joined the Stags from Luton last month, defended his new side's commitment.
"I think people think we go out to lose on purpose," Pilkington added.
"I've been in the game for nearly 20 years now and not once have I thought 'I can't be bothered today'.
"I go out, and we go out, to give it our best shot - sometimes it's not good enough but the lads have to bounce back on Saturday."
Latest | November 2010