RUSSELL, CONNOR, PARKER, NICKY LAW REACTION
audio interviews with Duncan Russell and Nicky Law --->
POST MATCH INTERVIEWS AND REACTION FROM BBC RADIO NOTTINGHAM, INCLUDING INTERVIEWS WITH CONNOR AND PARKER here
Goal hero Parker dreaming of a Wembley return
KEIGAN Parker, who once scored a stunning goal for Blackpool in a Wembley play-off final, kept Stags on course for a trip to English football's spiritual home with the winner in last night's 2-1 FA Trophy replay at Alfreton Town.
That booked a quarter-final at Evo-Stick Premier club Chasetown and Parker said: “We have an opportunity to get to Wembley and this is as good a chance some of the boys are going to get.
“The manager said he has been before and I have been there with Blackpool and know what a special day out it is.
“We let ourselves down in the first half. You have to give Alfreton respect but we were giving them too much time on the ball.
“In the second half we started to concentrate on our own game and got the rewards.
“Hopefully we won't meet Luton until the final then we will take our chances.
“You never know what is going to happen in your career and if we can get through the next few games it could be a very good end to the season for us.
“I know my goal took a deflection, but I don't care if they go in off your backside – I'd take 20 of them a season.”
Stags' other goalscorer was Paul Connor who said: “We knew it was going to be a tough game tonight and we never really got going in the first half.
“We got a rollicking at half-time but then came out and showed them what we can do. That's how we should have started.
“The formation they played first half made it difficult for us as they were stopping the ball getting to the strikers' feet and Darren Stride did well for them.
“I was pleased to score an important goal, but I should have had a couple more and it will probably be left footed finishing practice for me on Thursday!
“I don't know much about Chasetown but they beat Grimsby down there in an earlier round. But if we play like we did in the second half tonight we can get something down there.
“I went to Wembley with Stoke but only sat on the bench and then went up for my medal at the end. I didn't get on the pitch.”
Stags manager Duncan Russell said: “There was a lot said at half-time. We were not right in the first half and that wasn't us at all. Before the game I said the only hurdle was Alfreton. By half-time I told them the only hurdle was us.
“I told them a few home truths and ended up almost losing my voice. I told them we were not going out of this competition without a fight and I wanted a response which I got.”
Tongue-in-cheek, Russell added: “Obviously it was a master stroke bringing on Keigan Parker who scored the winning goal!
“I thought we were the better side in the second half without a doubt.
“Now we can think about Chasetown, but it is still on a backburner as we need to prepare properly for Saturday's game with Newport.”
Stags boss Russell turns the air blue to see off Alfreton Town in the FA Trophy
DUNCAN Russell admitted he lost his voice dishing out the half-time rollicking that saw Mansfield Town turn around their match at derby rivals Alfreton and earn a place in the FA Trophy quarter-finals.
The Stags were in danger of going out to the Blue Square Bet North side when they trailed 1-0 at half-time in their third round replay at the Impact Arena.
But it was a different Mansfield side which emerged after a roasting to win the tie 2-1 with Paul Connor and Keigan Parker strikes.
It means the Stags have now won through to the last eight of the competition – within two rounds of a Wembley appearance – where they will meet another lower ranked team in Evo-Stik Premier side Chasetown.
"There was a lot said at half-time and I wouldn't have wanted the cameras to have been in there. There were a few expletives, I can tell you," said Russell.
"We were not right at all in the first half, it wasn't us. There was no urgency from us and I wasn't going to accept it.
"We were not going to go out of the FA Trophy without a fight. I told the lads that the only thing stopping us going through to the next round was us.
"There were a few home truths and that's why my voice has gone. I wanted a response and that's what I got.
"Then it was only a matter of time we would score. Yes, we had a stroke of luck with the winner but the good thing was Keigan was in that position."
Keigan Parker scores to see Stags through against Alfreton Town
KEIGAN Parker could not hide his delight after coming off the bench to earn Mansfield Town a place in the last eight of the FA Trophy.
The Stags were locked at 1-1 against Alfreton in the third round replay after Paul Connor had equalised following Matt Wilson's opener for the Reds.
But with 13 minutes to go, Parker stole the headlines with a deflected strike for his most important goal of a stop-start season.
"It's a good feeling to get a winner in a tough game like that. That's why I came here – to score goals in the big games," said Parker.
"It was important to get the win because now we know we have every chance of doing well in this competition.
"Conns (Paul Connor) went through on his own even though I was in a good position, which he had every right to do.
"The ball broke for Louis Briscoe and he slipped me in. It deflected up off a defender's knee but I would take 20 goals like that a season. You aren't bothered how they go in."
Mansfield handed a debut to Dan Spence at left-back and he was pleased with his first game in the amber and blue.
He said: "I was playing away from my favourite position at right-back but I enjoyed it and I was just happy to get my chance.
"We were poor in the first half. We know we are a lot better than that.
"We didn't underestimate them and it was a matter of improving our concentration.
"We came out after the half-time team-talk and tried to pass it. I think that's where our goals came from because the long ball was not working. We defended well for most of the game. The goal aside, they didn't threaten too much."
Stags must continue to pursue play-off dream, says striker Parker
KEIGAN Parker today insisted Mansfield Town should still be pushing for glory on two fronts.
The Stags have successfully made it through to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy after Tuesday's 2-1 replay victory over Alfreton and will now visit Chasetown.
With victory in only two more rounds needed to secure a visit to Wembley and Mansfield seven points behind the bottom Blue Square Premier Bet play-off place, some believe the FA Trophy must now take priority.
But striker Parker – who scored the second-half winner as a substitute at the Impact Arena, says the club's promotion chances should not be written off yet.
He is keen to see the two competitions treated with equal importance.
"I know from getting there with Blackpool just how special it is to go to Wembley and a lot of players never get that feeling," said Parker.
"We may never get a better chance to get there than in the FA Trophy this season – and that's what the manager (Duncan Russell) reminded us at half-time at Alfreton (when they were 1-0 down).
"It is going to be a tough game at Chasetown, but if we can go there and get a win, then we are into the semis where it is two legs and anything can happen.
"It is going to be difficult to get into the play-offs, but I still think for a club the size of Mansfield that still has to be the priority.
"We have a big enough squad to cope to go for it in two competitions and you never know if we have a good run.
"Even if we can't make the play-offs this year, it can only help to keep pushing on and getting some good results to build confidence for our FA Trophy games."
Parker has scored eight goals so far this season, three of them coming in Mansfield's FA Trophy run, but has encountered fresh opposition for a first team spot in loan front man Louis Moult.
He said: "I have to be determined to fight for my place because my contract is up at the end of the season.
"Whether my future is here or somewhere else I want to get my goal ratio up and prove that I'm a player worth having.
"I have scored more goals this season than in recent other seasons, which you would expect having dropped out of the Football League, but if I get a run of games, I believe I can score more."
LAW CHALLENGES HIS PLAYERS TO BOUNCE BACK AND WIN LEAGUE TITLE
MANAGER Nicky Law has challenged his Alfreton Town team to go and win the league after their FA Trophy exit to Mansfield Town.
The Reds, who are well-placed in the Blue Square Bet North title race, led at half-time but eventually lost 2-1 in last night's third round replay.
"We were by far the better team in the first half," said Law. "We went in front and were comfortable at half-time.
"We knew we needed to go out in the second half, maintain that and keep the game quiet for 15 or 20 minutes.
"But Mansfield stepped it up and the disappointing thing for me is that we didn't match it.
"We didn't get on the front foot and step up with them. We didn't sustain our momentum.
"The higher up you go, you have to be a bit more ruthless and, unfortunately, we didn't do that.
"But I'm not going to condemn my lads – they've been great. We'll get our head round it, get over this and try to win the league."
Nicky Law: “I am looking to do [bring in] a goalkeeper this week if I can but it is proving difficult. I am looking in other areas if I am honest. Maybe I am looking for something a little bit different up front. I have got a lot of effort and pace and desire but I might just need someone who can get hold of the ball like Connor did for them [Mansfield]. He is quality and the difference.
Latest | February 2011