RUSSELL, CAIN, BRISCOE AND DES LYTTLE REACTION
audio interview with Duncan Russell here
audio interview with Ashley Cain and Louis Briscoe here
Des Lyttle called for his players to be mentally stronger after the defeated by 2 goals to nil at home to Mansfield Town on Saturday afternoon. After a goalless first hour when chances were sparse, two goals in five minutes gave The Stags the three points.
"After the high of the win on Wednesday night, today was very disappointing - both the performance and the result were not good enough. The dressing room spirit was great before the game and I thought a 0-0 draw would have been a fair result. But as soon as they scored our heads went down and they broke and scored from our throw in after we made a change to the side to try and get back into the game.
"We have got to learn to do better when one down and realise the game is not lost. I will be looking for a vast improvent on Tuesday night at Luton. There will be 6-7000 fans inside the ground and the good pitch is going to suit us so I want us to play the passing game we know we can and try and cause an upset.
"The players though, have to take responsibility for what happens on the field, everyone is watching them - friends, family, fans - and they deserve to see better. I have asked the lads to search within themselves and understand what it takes to be a footballer. There are eleven games to go this season and they have to do better game to game.
"We don't seem to be able to put back to back performances in and that's the only way we are going to get any sort of consistency and, if necessary, grind out results - even if they are 0-0 draws."
'Outstanding' Stags praised by manager
MANSFIELD Town warmed up for Tuesday's home FA Trophy quarter-final replay with Chasetown with a confidence-boosting 2-0 win at Tamworth on Saturday, reports John Lomas.
Goals from Ashley Cain and Louis Briscoe inside four second half minutes did the trick and boss Duncan Russell said: “I thought we were outstanding today. I told them before the game we needed to go out and start turning some of these draws into wins.
“But I never thought it was going to be a draw today as we always looked by far the better team.
“That's no disrespect to Tamworth but today they caught us on a good day. We didn't give them any time on the ball.
“Danny Spence did a fantastic job for us at left back. There was a lot of quality there. And the two wide boys chipped in with a goal each.”
He added: “Louis Briscoe is a handful for anyone on his day as are Ashley Cain and Adam Smith. We are blessed at this club with three good wingers, hence the competition for places.
“We decided to stick with 4-4-2 rather than change to match up their 4-5-1. I knew if we got going they would have to change to match us which is what happened.
“I thought it was a convincing victory and the lads deserve a lot of praise. Let's hope it's going to be a good week now.
“It is a massive game now on Tuesday but e must go into the game with a lot of belief. If we play anything like we did today I can't see us having any problems.”
Ashley Cain, celebrating his first senior goal, said: “We always looked like we were going to score and we finally did.
“It was a good cross and I managed to get in front of my marker and tap it in for my first career goal so I was pleased with that.
“It was a massive performance today. We really needed this. We have drawn games recently that we could have won. But we have gone away today and got the win and now I hope we can go on a run.”
Louis Briscoe added: “The ball broke to me and I just ran on and stuck it in.
“It wasn't the cleanest of finishes but I wanted to get it across the keeper so if it bounced back it would be a tap-in for one of our strikers.”
Briscoe is now preparing for the FA Trophy game and said: “We showed we had more than Chasetown on Tuesday. Luton will be there watching so we won't want to disappoint them or Chastown.
“But I don't care if it's a scruffy 1-0 win just as long as we get through.”
Performances of wingers vindicate Stags boss
DUNCAN Russell believes the contributions of wingers Louis Briscoe and Ashley Cain in Mansfield Town's 2-0 win at Tamworth on Saturday has vindicated his decision not to recall Adam Smith to the starting line-up.
The former York City man was a regular until a groin injury saw him ruled out of action for six weeks.
Smith staked his claim for a return to the first team when he struck twice after coming on as a substitute to salvage a point for the Stags at Barrow.
But he was subsequently left out of the next game against Chasetown – about which he publicly voiced his displeasure – and again at The Lamb.
Smith watched from the bench as his two rivals struck second half goals to move Mansfield back up to 12th in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
And manager Russell said: "Every one of the players wants to be involved all the time but I have to leave certain players out sometimes.
"It may not be favourable to them and I understand they will be upset but I have to make decisions.
"I said to our wingers on the coach that they have done well in recent weeks, not just going forward, but helping the shape of the team.
"But I told them they have now got Adam Smith breathing down their necks and they had to justify their starting berths.
"They did that – they proved they were worthy of their shirt."
Cain hopes his Mansfield goal will be the first of many
ASHLEY Cain hopes his first goal for Mansfield Town will be the first of many.
The diminutive winger was in the right place to volley home Louis Moult's inviting cross from close range and give the Stags a second half lead against Tamworth.
Mansfield went on to seal all three points with a terrific strike from Louis Briscoe soon after.
"I'm pleased to get that first one because it seems to have been a long time in coming," said Cain (pictured).
"It wasn't the best of goals – it was a tap in really – but it was a great ball in from Louis Moult to set it up.
"There was a ball played in like that soon before but I had not got in front of my marker.
"I had a word with Paul Connor and he said that next time I had to get across my man. I did and got the goal.
"Hopefully now I can get a few more and the next one won't be so long in coming."
Cain felt it was important for the Stags to go into tomorrow's FA Trophy quarter-final replay at home to Chasetown with a win under their belts.
He added: "It should give us confidence and it also shows us that we are capable of keeping it tight and getting a clean sheet. We defended really well.
"Getting clean sheets is massive for us because we know we are always going to cause teams problems when we go forward with the players we have."
Briscoe revels in reaching double figures for Stags
LOUIS Briscoe revealed he has achieved one of his Mansfield Town aims after scoring at Tamworth – netting a double figure goal tally in a single season.
The winger took his tally for 2010-11 to ten with his precision finish against the Lambs.
The former Port Vale man did not find the target until the 5-2 home defeat by AFC Wimbledon in early October.
But he has been increasingly clinical since then, much to his satisfaction.
"It's nice to reach the landmark because I said two-and-a-half years ago when I first came to the club that's what I was aiming to do," said Briscoe. "I've always thought I should be able to score a good amount of goals and hopefully I have proven that this season. I would like to think there are more to come too.
"It has probably helped playing on the left because I can cut in onto my right to shoot, but I showed with this goal I can also take them on my left side."
Few would argue that Briscoe has enjoyed his best season for the club after injury and loss of form have hampered his progress in the past.
He said: "I definitely think I have been more consistent. That was what (former boss) David Holdsworth told me last summer I needed to concentrate on doing and that would make me one of the team's better players.
"I may not have many nine out of ten performances now, but I probably don't have as many sixes either, more sevens and eights.
"It's about trying to do a job for the team attacking and defending and chipping in with a few goals."
Meanwhile, boss Duncan Russell singled out full-backs Gary Silk and Dan Spence for their excellent performances at Tamworth.
And he added: "All the players performed well from back to front. I think Tamworth caught us on a good day
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