HALL,THOMPSON,STONEHOUSE, SAUNDERS REACTION
Dean Saunders told BBC Radio Wales: "Mansfield were a good team, I thought they were probably one of the best teams we've played..."
Deano eyes top-class finish after late winner
Wales On Sunday, Jan 30 2011
Mansfield 2 Wrexham 3
WREXHAM boss Dean Saunders revealed he threw caution to the wind and went all-or-nothing as the Red Dragons came up trumps against Mansfield.
The former striker's attacking mentality shone through as Jay Harris struck a dramatic late winner to complete a spirited comeback after Andy Morrell had grabbed the equaliser.
Wrexham trailed to Tyrone Thompson's strike in first-half stoppage-time after Louis Briscoe had cancelled out Mathias Pogba's opener in a topsy-turvy game.
Saunders rolled the dice and went all guns blazing for the win and, after his players duly delivered, the boss praised his entertainers.
“It was a great game to watch,” said Saunders.
“Although we were a bit open at the back and had a lot of bodies going forward, I said to my assistant Brian Carey, 'Let's just go for it, if it means we lose, we lose'.” I'm pleased because we were 2-1 down and it's a long time since we've been behind.
“We've just been steamrollering teams, but we scored the first goal then got a punch on the chin, and another one right on half-time, which was sloppy. But they responded really well and that's what we need. If you want to get out of this league, you need a bit of character.
“I'm pleased with the way we fought back. We never gave up and we actually got on top of them in the last quarter of an hour. I was thinking about changing it, but we looked like we were going to be the side that scored so I just left it as it was.”
French striker Pogba gave Wrexham an ideal start after only eight minutes.
Looking set to take their lead into half-time, Mansfield delivered a blow when Briscoe scored on 39 minutes.
Shaken by the goal, the visitors were already thinking about the interval when Thompson fired Mansfield ahead two minutes into first-half stoppage-time.
Saunders may not be used to delivering a half-time team talk while behind but he must have had an impact on his revitalised players.
Harris made amends for his earlier error by delivering a fine cross for Morrell to nod home on 72 minutes.
And the 23-year-old midfielder produced a moment of magic to clinch victory in stoppage time by drilling in a powerful effort from outside the penalty box.
Harris' spectacular winner marks the Red Dragons' fifth win on the bounce, equalling Saunders' best run of form since becoming manager.
But Saunders was quick to play down the importance of the winning streak as all of his attentions are focused on securing a Conference Premier play-off place, acknowledging top spot is still in his sights.
“Five wins in a row doesn't mean anything,” said Saunders,
“I'm not counting how many wins we are getting, I'm just counting the points and we are going in the right direction.
“It was just important we didn't lose. Two-all wouldn't have been a disaster, because we would have been stopping Mansfield getting points and they were only five behind us and they will be there or thereabouts.
“We are doing really well and I've told that to the boys.
“What we've got to do first of all is try to cement ourselves in the play-off spots and once we get in there, then start looking at Crawley and Wimbledon because they'll be coming up in a few games' time.”
video interview with Hall, Thompson, Stonehouse --->
We won't give up on play-offs - Stags goalscorer Thompson
MANSFIELD Town midfielder Tyrone Thompson said the club are not giving up on the play-offs, despite Saturday's unlucky late 3-2 home defeat by Wrexham, leaving them seven points adrift in ninth place, reports John Lomas.
Stags came from behind to lead 2-1 before two second half strikes, the second a deflected effort in stoppage time, turned the game on its head.
But Thompson, who bagged his first goal for the club, said: “No way are we giving up on the play-offs.
“This league is so up and down with bottom teams beating top teams and shock results every week.
“We have got to keep the pressure on and hope the teams above us slip up. We have lost today after getting a bit of consistency in recent games so now we have to pick ourselves up and go again.
“I felt we deserved more today, but that's football for you.
“The crowd were brilliant and you could feel them behind you which really helped.”
Leading 2-1, Stags defended very deeply under the Welsh onslaught after the break and Thompson said: “I think in the second half we needed to get out quicker and get up the pitch. But, to be fair to Wrexham, they put us under a lot of pressure.
“Their winner took a deflection. I think Muzza (Adam Murray) had to get his head on it to be fair to him so whether or not that would have made any difference to where the ball ended up I don't know.
“I was happy with getting my goal. I don't usually get in the box so it was pleasing it fell for me.
“We have a lot of attacking midfield players at the club so I try to make sure everything is shored up at the back and let others go forward.”
Assistant manager Paul Hall said: “The lads were brilliant today and had a brilliant attitude towards the game.
“I don't know how we've lost it. But Wrexham are up there for a reason and they know how to go away from home and, having sniffed they could get a victory near the end, they got it and fair play to them.
“It was a nightmare for us. We need to learn how to see games out and we need to learn quickly if we are going to do anything this season.
“We played so well, but the goals we conceded were just unacceptable. You can't have balls bouncing around your box and allow their players to get to them first. First and foremost you must protect your goal.
“Wrexham will leave here today with respect for us and know they've been in a game. And any of the sides above us watching this will know that we are a very, very good team.
“If we keep putting in performances like that we will win games against sides above us. The fans were great today and went home knowing the lads had given their all.”
Wrexham boss Dean Saunders said; “I thought we responded really well from being 2-1 down and that's what we need to get out of this division.
“We showed a lot of character. I thought we had Mansfield on the rack from the kick-off and we could have been 2-0 up when Mathias (Pogba) headed straight at the keeper.
“But Mansfield stuck at it and came back well.
“We are going in the right direction and we now need to get ourselves bedded into the play-off places before we start looking at catching Crawley.”
Hall delighted with Stags backing despite defeat to Wrexham
PAUL Hall was delighted with the backing of Mansfield Town's fans during and after their game with Wrexham – despite the 3-2 defeat.
The Stags more than played their part in an entertaining game that flowed from end to end.
And they were helped by the vocal encouragement of much of a healthy, season best crowd of 3,266.
Hall said it was a pleasure to hear such support, which was in stark contrast to what greeted Mansfield's 5-2 thrashing at home to Fleetwood.
"It was huge to have the fans behind us. I have not heard them like that here for a long time," he added.
"When they are behind us like that, then the players react positively. You saw (winger) Adam Smith making tackles in the middle of the park.
"I think the fans know if we keep playing like that then we will win more games than we lose.
"We are not afraid of anyone anymore, whether we go there or they come here. We can go and give anyone in the division a good game.
"And if we keep putting in performances like that, then sooner, rather than later, we are going to start winning games, including those against teams around us."
Hall refuses to criticise beaten Stags
ASSISTANT manager Paul Hall said it was hard to be too critical of Mansfield Town's players after their weekend defeat by Wrexham.
The Stags put in an encouraging performance in front of a season's-best crowd of 3,266, boosted by the club's cut-price ticket offer.
But they ultimately ended up pointless, despite leading 2-1 at the break, when the visitors' fightback was capped by Jay Harris' deflected stoppage time winner.
That denied Mansfield a fourth game unbeaten and while Hall knows there is still plenty of work to do defensively, he is remaining upbeat.
"The lads were brilliant for the majority of the game and had a brilliant attitude, so it was confusing how we lost the game," he said.
"Maybe they just had an edge, which is why they were five or six points in front of us before the game.
"Wrexham know how to pick up wins and see out games and when they get a sniff of victory, they are hard to stop.
"Some of the defending was unacceptable and is something we must continue to work on.
"You can't have balls bouncing around in your box and having their players getting to it first. First and foremost, you have to protect your own box.
"If you allow someone that much space on the edge of the box, as we did for their winner, then deflections can happen.
"But the boys played some really good stuff. It was a heck of a game and Wrexham will be very happy with the three points.
"They all know they have been in a battle against a really good team, who just crumbled right at the end."
As a former Football League winger himself, Hall was delighted with the performance of Ashley Cain, who has blossomed in recent matches.
He said: "Ashley is an ongoing project and it's amazing to see the way he has come on.
"Louis Briscoe got the sponsors' man of the match award and played really well and scored a goal, but Ashley must be wondering what he has to do to win it. He gave his full-back a torrid time.
"He's really taken the bull by the horns, worked hard and deserves his success.
"There are still things we can work on with him. There are going to be times when he comes up against someone who is just as quick and strong as him and has the same desire.
"But Ashley can be as good as he wants to be."
Hall insists Mansfield are keen to recruit before the transfer window closes tonight with Gary Mills, Steve Cook, Rob Duffy and Kevin Pilkington having all left this month.
He said: "We do expect some movement but I don't want to say anything as we don't want to be gazumped.
"But anyone who does come in will improve the squad and make it better."
Thompson insists Mansfield's play-off dream is still alive
TYRONE Thompson insists Mansfield Town's 2010-11 play-off dream is still alive – despite the weekend's defeat.
The Stags are now seven points off the play-offs going into the closing third of the season after the 3-2 home defeat by Wrexham on Saturday.
But Thompson, who scored his first goal for the Stags against the Red Dragons, is adamant he and his team-mates can still clinch a place in the top five.
He believes the Stags should take inspiration from Dean Saunders' men who have rocketed up the Blue Square Bet Premier table on the back of a 12-game unbeaten streak.
"We are most definitely not giving up on the play-offs yet, especially with this league being the way it is," said midfielder Thompson.
"It is so up and down and you see plenty of results where the bottom teams have beaten the top teams. It happens every week.
"We have to keep going and pushing on and hope that the teams above us slip up.
"We just seemed to have found a bit of consistency, so it was so disappointing to lose against Wrexham.
"We know we we need to put a run together, but we believe we can do it."
It was another defeat for the Stags against one of the division's top sides, a record that will have to change if they are to extend their season beyond the end of April by booking a place in the top five.
But Thompson is clear that Mansfield don't have a complex playing against the front runners.
The midfielder said: "That's something that gets thrown at us quite a lot, but we don't look at it like that.
"We take one game at a time and I think it just so happens that when the results have gone against us it has been against the top sides."
Stonehouse cuts a frustrated figure after only one point from two games
PAUL Stonehouse was a frustrated man after defeat to Wrexham meant Mansfield had taken just one point from two encouraging performances.
The Stags could have won at Darlington in midweek but had two goals disallowed and two other efforts cleared off the line.
And another positive display ended in disappointment against the Red Dragons, who clinched a late 3-2 win.
Stonehouse knows Mansfield need to bounce back quickly and not get too despondent after the team impressed for long periods.
"We could have nicked the game up at Darlington and we got ourselves in a great position but haven't managed to make the most of it against Wrexham," said the left-back.
"We can't get too down on ourselves because we have put in two good performances and on other occasions we could have won both matches.
"But it was devastating to lose against Wrexham, especially in the last minute when we had showed character to come back from 2-1 down.
"I felt we were really hard done by and apparently their manager (Dean Saunders) said we didn't deserve to lose.
"In many ways that makes you feel even worse, but it also shows you that we are on the right lines."
Some fans believed Mansfield dropped too deep in the second half, making it easier for Wrexham to pin them in.
That's a view shared by Stonehouse, who wants to see an improvement in that area.
He said: "We spoke at half-time about not sitting back too deep, but we still did it, which is disappointing. We knew we couldn't afford to let them play and apply the pressure and we were punished for it in the end."
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