RUSSELL, MURRAY AND HAYLOCK REACTION
I'll make changes, vows angry Russell after Stags' four-goal defeat
FURIOUS Stags boss Duncan Russell is demanding his players improve dramatically after watching his side crumble to a humiliating 4-0 defeat against lowly Hayes and Yeading on Saturday, reports Stephen Thirkill.
A shambolic first half defensive display, particularly down the right flank, saw Stags fall 3-0 behind after just 25 minutes as rampant Hayes ripped through the fragile Mansfield rearguard.
Shell-shocked Stags, who were reduced to 10 men after Connor was dismissed for elbowing Adam Bygrave on the half hour mark, simply had no answer to the pace and power of the Hayes onslaught.
The embarrassing farce was then wrapped up in rather fitting fashion with eight minutes to go when Tyrone Thompson, who had all the time and space in the world, sliced his attempted clearance past Grof to the disbelief of everyone in the ground.
Speaking the game an angry Duncan Russell said he would not be afraid to ring the changes.
“I told the players I am not going to accept that type of performance ever again,” he said.
“Our defending was shocking, they had far too much time and space on their first three goals and I am not going to accept that.
“I told the players at half-time that they needed to go out there and win some pride and respect back from the fans.
“We played better in the second half and did better with 10 men than we would have done earlier in the season, when we would have gone down by five or six.”
And with the games coming thick and fast as Stags catch up on their backlog of fixtures, boss Duncan Russell says he will not be afraid to ring the changes.
“I am very annoyed with that first half performance,” he said. “I will not accept that level of performance at all.
“I thought there were some tired legs out there today. I will ring the changes if necessary.”
Stags boss slams Hayes 'cheat' over red card
BOSS Duncan Russell is backing striker Paul Connor following his straight red card in the 4-0 hammering against Hayes and Yeading, reports Stephen Thirkill.
Connor, the Field Mill side's joint top scorer with Louis Briscoe on 16 goals, was dismissed after just 30 minutes when he was adjudged to have elbowed Adam Bygrave as the duo rose for a header.
But Russell said his player was innocent of any wrongdoing and accused Bygrave of making the most of the incident.
“From the bench it did not look like an elbow,”he said. “I asked Connor if he used his elbow and he said he didn't.
“I will watch the match DVD, but he is an honest player and I believe what he told me.
“He said there was contact, but it was Bygrave who made the contact with him and not the other way around.
“Bygrave went down not long before the incident and when he got up he looked at the bench and smiled, which I did not like.
“He was a bit of a cheat, I would not expect or accept that from my players and I did not like what I saw.”
The red card capped another bad day on the pitch for Connor, who has now failed to find the back of the net in his last 10 outings
Stags boss felt Connor's red card was harsh
PAUL Connor's sending of in Mansfield Town's 4-0 defeat at Hayes and Yeading yesterday was harsh, believes boss Duncan Russell.
The incident that saw the striker shown a red card on the half hour mark for apparently leading with his elbow and catching Adam Bygrave in the face happened right in front of the dug-outs.
Russell had a clear view and felt Connor's punishment was harsh.
Mansfield were already trailing 3-0 by that stage after goals from Elliott Buchanan (2) and Bradley Pritchard.
An own goal by Tyrone Thompson completed the scoring in the second half.
"From my point of view it didn't look like an elbow," said Russell.
"I've asked him (Connor) and he said he didn't elbow him and he's an honest boy, so I believe him.
"I wasn't happy with their player rolling about and screaming. I wouldn't want one of my players to behave like that.
"It was a big loss losing Paul Connor when you are already 3-0 down and a couple of months ago it could have been five or six.
"After that it was a damage limitation job and it was better to lose 4-0 than 7-0 because there is the morale factor to consider."
Stags boss laments defensive frailties after embarrassing defeat
DUNCAN Russell lamented faltering Mansfield Town's defensive frailties as they were thrashed 4-0 at lowly Hayes and Yeading but admitted: "I have to take the blame."
Strikes from Elliott Buchanan (two) and Bradley Pritchard, together with an own goal from Tyrone Thompson, left the woeful Stags well beaten.
The visitors' misery was completed by the sending off of Paul Connor for leading with the elbow, which is likely to land him a three-game ban.
It was a sobering experience for Mansfield ahead of their FA Trophy final appearance at Wembley on May 7 – one that manager Russell does not want repeated.
"I can only apologise to the supporters for the lack of commitment they saw in the first half – and it was a lack of commitment," he said.
"They (the supporters) had to get on the coach and wonder how it went so badly wrong, just as I did.
"I watched the DVD on the way home but I already knew before I saw it that the defending for the first three goals was unacceptable.
"I told them at half-time they were not only playing for their Wembley shirts, but also for their contracts.
"We had to prove we were not mice but men and at least we did that a bit in the second half, even with ten men. But that first half can't happen again, ever.
"It's my fault. As the manager I have to accept responsibility for the performance and I will.
"But it's annoying when we all know we are a far better team than that and with the experience we have at the back, we can defend a lot better."
Captain hints that change in personnel is what Stags need
ADAM Murray hinted in the aftermath of Mansfield Town's 4-0 mauling at Hayes and Yeading that changes in personnel are needed for the club to be serious play-off contenders.
The skipper is one of a handful of players who are under contract for next season, along with the likes of Alan Marriott, Tom Naylor, Paul Connor, Louis Briscoe and Rhys Day.
But there are a raft of players who did their bid to secure a new deal at Field Mill no favours at all with a collectively poor showing in West London.
"The bottom line is maybe we are not good enough to be where we want to be," said Murray. "Something has got to change, but that's not up to me.
"Players are not performing – I don't know whether they have got other things on their mind, but we are not up to standard.
"If we are going to get results then we have shown that we all have to perform to 99 per cent of our abilities. We are not a good enough team for only four or five of us to turn up.
"We definitely let ourselves down and I feel sorry for the fans because they have seen us when we play well and they know what kind of performances we can put in. I can understand why the fans get angry because we can be unrecognisable from one game to the next."
Murray again backed manager Duncan Russell and believes the defeat at Church Road had little to do with him.
He said: "I think we all definitely want to play for the gaffer, that is not in doubt, because he has brought the dressing room together.
"I have not been at a club where there has been a better team spirit, but that does not get you results on the pitch, performances do.
"It's alright everyone blaming the manager, but the lads have to take some responsibility and if they aren't doing their jobs, there's not much you can do from the sidelines."
Haylock salutes striker after he shoots down Mansfield
GARRY Haylock saluted the performance of rapidly-improving striker Elliott Buchanan, whose two goals paved the way for Hayes and Yeading's thrashing of Mansfield Town.
After Bradley Pritchard had opened the scoring for the West Londoners, the fleet-footed striker continued his excellent recent form with a well-taken brace of goals inside six minutes.
It left his manager Haylock admiring the way he has flourished after initially struggling to make the step up from part-time football.
"I think that is something like 14 or 15 goals he is up to now, which is a decent tally for any centre forward," he said.
"You have to remember he was playing for Slough Town last year, three leagues below.
"We had to throw him in earlier than we thought when we lost Ben (Wright) and it wasn't easy for him.
"But I always felt he would come good after Christmas once he had got used to the pace of things and that is what's happened. He's on fire now."
Despite netting four times, it was the performance of his defence that pleased the Hayes and Yeading boss most.
Haylock said: "It was important for us to defend right and keep a clean sheet and I thought we defended very well.
"We always know we are going to create chances with the attacking players we have but we haven't always been able to keep it tight.
"I don't think it was our best performance of the season, but it was certainly a pleasing one."
Haylock said he urged caution to his players at half-time, even though they were already three goals to the good.
"We have given away leads too many times and I didn't want it to happen again," he said. "We were 3-0 up against Rushden and ended up drawing 3-3, so I wanted us to stay solid."
Stags midfielder apologises to fans after four-goal hammering
MIDFIELDER Adam Murray has apologised to the small band of loyal Stags fans who witnessed their side's worrying collapse at Hayes and Yeading on Saturday, reports Stephen Thirkill.
Around 120 fans made the 294-mile round trip to Church Road to see their team humiliatingly crushed 4-0 by the relegation-threatened London side.
Passionless Mansfield were outclassed throughout and had lost the game after just 25 minutes as Hayes' creativity and fluid passing game proved far too hot to handle
Gutted Murray said: “I cannot put this defeat into words. I'm really disappointed with what happened today.
“That performance just isn't good enough and we do not know what happened today. Something has got to change. That is for the manager to decide and not me, but we have not performed
“It is clear that we are not good enough and I'd like to apologise to the fans who came here today.
“They work hard during the week, and if I had spent my hard-earned money watching that today, I would not be very happy at all.”
Murray has also called for a renewed focus around Field Mill away from the distractions of Wembley and the FA Trophy final against Darlington on 7th May.
“I am not sure what went wrong today, but when the FA Trophy is being talked about each and every day it can be distracting,” he said.
“We have got to be professional and focus on the job ahead and the league games coming up.”
Stags return to league action at home to Barrow on Tuesday night, before Bath visit Field Mill two days later
Latest | April 2011