RUSSELL, MITCHLEY, MURRAY, BLAKEMORE REACTION
video interviews with Duncan Russell, Danny Mitchley and Adam Murray
Stags plotting path to Wembley
STAGS boss Duncan Russell was a relieved man after his Stags side finally saw off plucky Chasetown 3-1 in Tuesday night's FA Trophy quarter-final replay at Field Mill.
And he is already plotting how the Stags might shock Luton Town in the semi-finals and achieve their Wembley dream.
Said Russell: “We did it the difficult way tonight. We didn't really start in the first half.
“I can't put my finger on it but a few words were said at half-time and they came out and responded. But I want them to be doing it themselves from the off and not need that.
“We looked tentative and after a couple of boos from the crowd I saw a couple of heads go down a bit.
“I thought Chasetown played really well in the first half though we still had our chances against the run of play.
“I told them to keep a higher line in the second half and it all went to plan. I always thought we would score goals.
“Danny Mitchley and Paul Connor could have had six goals between them if not more on the night. I was pleased to see Danny score a great goal and his run into the six yard box was fantastic. He has great movement and I want to convert that into goals.
“But, fair play to Chasetown, they never gave up and came back at us, scored a goal and kept going.
“At 2-1 I knew we needed a third. We had so many chances on the night and, against better opposition, we must make sure we take them as you will be punished at the other end.”
Now Stags prepare for the semi-final first leg visit of promotion-chasing Luton Town on Sunday (noon) and Russell added: “Luton are a good outfit. But, until we had a man sent off in the controversial game down there, I don't think there was much in it.
“I am certainly not fearful of Luton and my players won't be fearful of them either. We are the underdogs which is a nice position to be in sometimes. We are relishing the challenge on Sunday.”
Stags fans will hope keeper Alan Marriott and on-loan striker Louis Moult can return from injury for the big game
Russell said: “We are taking it day to day with Alan. Everyone will be off tomorrow and we will speak with him after training on Thursday and see how he feels.
“Louis hurt his back against Tamworth after it had been playing him up the last few weeks and Stoke advised us not to play him tonight. I expect to see him on Thursday and hopefully he will be fine for Sunday.”
Skipper Adam Murray, who bagged the first goal, said: “We knew what they were about and we expected Chasetown to come at us like that for the first half-hour. We knew we had to weather the storm and impose our game on them which is how it worked out.
“Our fans have high expectations of us and soon let you know if it's not going our way which you can't blame them for as this is a big club and they expect a winning team.
“But it was never going to be a pretty game of football tonight. Chasetown were in our faces, making it horrible, and credit to them for that.”
On the semi-final against his former club, he added: “Luton are a very, very good side – one of the strongest in this league. But it is a cup game and anything can happen. We will be giving it our all and seeing what happens at the end of it.
“Luton have some top quality players, both ability-wise and football knowledge-wise. They are a passing team who know when to mix it up and are strong in all areas.
“But if we are on our game we are a match for anyone. We are not going to worry about them, it's all about how we impose ourselves on them.
“Everyone here will be putting their bodies on the line.”
Stags boss Russell: We made life difficult for ourselves
Evening Post, 9 Mar 2011
DUNCAN Russell admitted Mansfield Town made life difficult for themselves in beating minnows Chasetown 3-1 to set up an FA Trophy semi-final meeting with Luton Town.
The Stags were second best for the first half hour, during which the Evo-Stik Premier side domianted.
But goals from Adam Murray, Louis Briscoe and Danny Mitchley eventually eased Mansfield through as Ben Jevons replied for the visitors.
Russell knows his side cannot afford to start so lethargically against the Hatters in Sunday's first leg at Field Mill.
"We did it the difficult way. We didn't start the first half at all and I couldn't put my finger on it," he said.
"I had a few words at half-time and they responded – but I wanted the players to respond before that out on the pitch.
"We looked tentative early on and I saw a few heads drop when there were a few negative shouts from the crowd. I didn't want it to put them off.
"They played really well, especially in the first 25 minutes, but we still had chances against the run of play and I did think 'here we go again'.
"But we had a chat at half-time and I wanted us to play in their third and keep a higher line, rather than dropping off, and it went to plan."
Russell is also keen to see Mansfield be more clinical when they take on Richard Money's men.
He said: "Danny Mitchley and Paul Connor could have had six goals between them.
"We have to make sure we take our chances because against better opposition they will punish you."
Stags goal hero Mitchley only finds out he's playing late on
Evening Post, 9 Mar 2011
DANNY Mitchley was delighted to score a crucial third goal to assist Mansfield Town's progress to the FA Trophy semi-finals – after discovering he was playing little over an hour before kick-off.
The Stags were hoping to be able to call on loanee Louis Moult, even though he had been receiving treatment for a back injury at parent club Stoke City.
However, news came through late on that teenager would not be available – leaving the way clear for Mitchley to take his place.
And the Liverpudlian responded with a second half strike from Paul Connor's cross to finally kill off Chasetown.
"It was a late shout as it was touch and go with Louis Moult if he was going to make it," said Mitchley.
"I only found out at 6.30pm when the gaffer was reading the team out and I was just delighted.
"I had a few chances and I would love to say their keeper had a great night but it was just as much me shooting wide and over as him making saves.
"But I managed to get a goal in the end, which I was really pleased about. I knew Conns would play me in from there because he is very unselfish.
"We'd had a few words with each other after a couple of misunderstandings in the first half, but thankfully we got that one right."
Despite their early problems, Mitchley felt Mansfield were deserved winners.
He said: "Chasetown had a game-plan to chase us down and harry. They didn't give us much time on the ball in the first half hour.
"But once we got our foot on the ball and started to play, we began to open them up and had numerous chances in the end.
"We could have won by more but we're through and that's the most important thing."
Blakemore: 'There is still plenty left for us to play for'
thisislichfield.co.uk, 10 Mar 2011
By michael beardmore sports editor
SCHOLARS boss Charlie Blakemore has urged his Chasetown heroes to use their glorious FA Trophy run as a platform and gatecrash the Evo-Stik Premier play-offs.
The Scholars finally saw their marathon Trophy ended on Tuesday night, losing 3-1 at Conference side Mansfield in their quarter-final replay.
But Blakemore insists this is not the end of their season – and is targeting an assault on a top five spot to make the campaign even more memorable.
The Scholars won 4-2 at Ossett in the league last Saturday and lie 11th, 10 points off a play-off place but with up to five games in hand on some of the sides above them.
And their busy run-in begins tonight (Thursday) at home to Mickleover, before travelling to Burscough on Saturday and hosting Northwich Victoria next Tuesday.
Blakemore said: "The play-offs are very much on my agenda, we want to keep the season bubbling over.
"We want to push on and get as far up that table as we can – the season won't be dead for me until May.
"We want to gatecrash the play-offs and if we fall short it won't be for the lack of trying.
"The spirit we have got in the changing room is the best we have ever had – they respond every time they are in adversity.
"Spirit has always been the biggest ingredient and I insist on togetherness – we've always had that but this changing room has that extra bit of quality.
"We have beaten Conference Premier, Conference North and Conference South teams – and taken Mansfield to a replay. It's been a fantastic run, a fairytale journey.
"And I must admit that our supporters brought a tear to my eye on Tuesday – to play in front of support like that was awesome.
"And it was nice that some of the lads who played – Chris Slater, Lee Parsons, Danny Smith – were all in my squad when I first started as Chasetown manager. That made it special."
Blakemore has a number of injury worries ahead of the league triple header with Dean Perrow (hamstring), Jimmy Turner (ankle) and Gary Hay (groin) all unavailable
Skipper: 'I thought we were fated to win'
thisislichfield.co.uk, 10 Mar 2011
SCHOLARS skipper Richard Teesdale admitted he thought Chasetown were fated to reach the FA Trophy semi-finals after his equaliser at Field Mill.
The central defender struck early in the second half to bring the Scholars level at 1-1 – only for the Conference side to net twice more and break Chasetown hearts.
And Teesdale revealed that he thought the Scholars were destined to keep their unbelievable Trophy run going after his leveller.
He said: "I was joking on the bus on the way to Mansfield that I was going to score because I'd had a little baby girl (Grace), plus it was my birthday the day after the game (Wednesday).
"So when I actually scored, I was really thinking that we were going to win it, that it was fate.
"Especially as I scored right in front of our own fans, who were absolutely fantastic and have done some right travelling on this Trophy run.
"When we got the equaliser, we were really on the front foot but then they got their second.
"When the ball went into the box, the linesman had flagged but the referee decided to give the goal. It put us off our game a little bit and gave them the momentum.
"Everybody was gutted at the end of the game but it's been a fantastic run – I don't think anybody could have dreamed we would get this far.
"But having beaten Conference Premier, North and South clubs, I definitely think we can compete at the level above.
"Now we have to get there.
"There are 15 games to go in the season and we have a chance to get in the play-offs – if we make it, I would fancy us against anyone."
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