COX, GREEN, FUTCHER, MARK COOPER REACTION
Post-match reaction from Futcher, Cox and Green here:
Cox will ensure Stags players do not get carried away by the hype
PAUL Cox insists he will not let Mansfield Town's players get caught up in the hype after his side recorded a third successive victory at Darlington.
The Stags followed 3-0 and 1-0 successes over Kettering and Stockport respectively with a 2-0 triumph at the high-flying Quakers over the weekend, with Matt Green scoring both goals
It was a result that took them up to fourth in the Blue Square Bet Premier table after losing just one of their opening seven matches.
But with people now taking notice of Stags' climb, manager Cox is warning against complacency in this Saturday's late kick-off (5.15pm) at home to Newport County.
"Football management can be the loneliest of places and you can't afford to get too carried away when things are going well because you're only a couple of games away from a bad run," said Cox.
"People can start talking about the possibilities of promotion this season but I will only get excited if we are in a similar position going into the last few games of the season.
"There is a real danger of the Newport game being an 'after the Lord Mayor's show' occasion, so we will be working hard trying to avoid that.
"I don't want to pour cold water on what was a terrific win at Darlington where the lads were superb and which the fans rightly enjoyed.
"But there are still things I look at and see where we need improving– and the lads can't afford to think they have made it either.
"The consistency is coming, even though it's still the early stages, but I just want the work ethic to continue."
Futcher is keen to extend his stay at Field Mill
BEN Futcher is keen to extend his stay at in-form Mansfield Town after playing a key part in their revival.
The central defender arrived on a month's loan from Bury in the wake of a 3-0 defeat at Gateshead in the Stags's second game of the season.
Since then, with Futcher's help, they have gone five games unbeaten, conceding just two goals during that time and winning their last three against Kettering, Stockport and now Darlington without conceding a goal.
He is delighted with the way his stay has gone so far and has already been in talks with manager Paul Cox about staying at Field Mill for longer.
"I have spoken to the gaffer and I would love to stay," said Futcher. "I am playing games, which I wasn't before and I like the lads – I know some of them from before.
"The gaffer said he is keen to do something and hopefully we can get something sorted, but I don't know. I'm still a Bury player at the moment."
Futcher heaped praise on the defensive effort of the Mansfield team at Darlington.
He said: "If you keep clean sheets then you are going to consistently pick up points."
Stags' goal hero Green praises fellow strikers
MANSFIELD Town striker Matt Green took his Stags tally to four goals in six games in the 2-0 win at Darlington on Saturday.
Green, who struck twice in the opening minutes to set up a third consecutive victory, said: “That was a great result for us and I was more than happy to get on the scoresheet twice, though getting three points was the most important thing.
“For the first goal they just stood off me and so I thought I would get a yard and shoot and it went into the bottom corner.
“The second was more instinct than anything as I managed to turn on it and got a good strike on goal.
“Ross Dyer did a tremendous amount of work for me and he has been brilliant for us as has Paul Connor when he's come on.
“The boys are really coming together and if we continue to apply ourselves like today there is no reason we can't have a successful season.”
I'd like to stay at Stags, says on loan defender Futcher
Giant on-loan central defender Ben Futcher again starred at the back in Mansfield's Town 2-0 away win at Darlington on Saturday and hinted he would love to stay at Field Mill when his spell ends on a fortnight.
“I am still a Bury player now but I would like to get something sorted,” he said after helping the Stags to a third consecutive victory and their first run of three straight clean sheets since the first three matches of the David Holdsworth era.
“I have had a word with the gaffer and would love to stay. I like being here and playing games and I am getting fitter. I still have a couple of weeks here and hope to sort it by then.”
He added: “Any away win is a great win and Darlington are a really tough side to beat.
“We got a two goal lead early on but didn't expect an easy ride. They had nothing to lose so we knew they would come at us.
“But we defended well right from the front two back to Mazza (keeper Alan Marriott). Everyone put a right shift in again and we are starting to see the results.
“Success breeds confidence and we have a very strong quad and everyone fighting for a shirt.”
Positive thinking by Lee
darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk, By Craig Stoddart, Deputy Sports Editor
Darlington can take heart from the character they showed in attempting to overhaul a two-goal deficit to Mansfield Town on Saturday, believes centre-back Graeme Lee.
Quakers paid the price for a sloppy start, losing 2-0, with both goals coming in the opening quarter of an hour.
They improved as the game went on at The Northern Echo Arena, but were unable to get a goal despite the pressure they put on the Stags.
"We were slow out of the traps at the start of the game, we weren't with it," admitted Lee.
"They got two goals that we shouldn't be conceding and we were disappointed with that, but after that we got back into the game strongly.
"We could have dropped our heads but we kept going and kept trying. We dug in until the last minute to try to get something out of the game but, unfortunately, it didn't happen.
"It showed good character that we came back into the game and we could have got something with the chances that we had, but you can't start like that otherwise you'll get punished every game.
"Mansfield dug in, they'd given themselves a platform to do that by being 2-0 up away from home, so they're going to do whatever it takes to win the game and unfortunately we had given them that start."
The game could have been right-back Ben Purkiss' last outing for the club.
He joined from Oxford United a week prior to the season, when Paul Arnison was not fit, but his one-month loan expired after Saturday's defeat.
Arnison is now available, and manager Mark Cooper said: "I've got to speak to the chairman first, but I thought Ben did really well today. We've got to look at our options, we've got Arnison and Greg Taylor, and make sure we're not hoarding players."
Meanwhile, Darlington chairman Raj Singh has revealed the transfer fee which took Michael Smith to Charlton Athletic last week.
The striker moved to The Valley on transfer deadline day, when both Quakers and the Valiants announced the fee was undisclosed.
But Singh revealed that the fee was £75,000, while there will also be appearance-related add-ons, as well as a sell-on percentage. Notts County and Watford both offered £50,000 for the 19-year-old, added Singh, speaking in the programme for Saturday's home game with Mansfield, while Bristol City made an £80,000 bid, which was not good enough as it included staged payments.
*Michael Brough was unable to play for Whitby Town at the weekend due to a knee problem.
The former Darlington midfield player has been playing for Whitby of late in a bid to regain fitness, but has continued to train with Quakers.
Last season was injury-ravaged for Brough who played his last game for Darlington in January, but Cooper has allowed the 30-year-old to continue his rehabilitation with Quakers.
The manager would like to offer a contract should the player prove he is over the knee problems that restricted his league appearances last season to five
Wembley taunts backfire on Quakers
darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk, By Craig Stoddart, Deputy Sports Editor
If Mansfield needed any further motivation for defeating Darlington on Saturday, they were handed it as they arrived at The Northern Echo Arena.
Emblazoned across the outside of the Arena is a huge poster of Wembley hero Chris Senior holding aloft the FA Trophy, won when defeating Mansfield at Wembley in May, and the Stags can't have failed to notice the silverware on display in reception.
They will also have glanced at framed photographs from May 7 that were hung in the corridor, prior to the season, that leads to the changing rooms.
Though only three of the Stags' starting XI on Saturday also played at Wembley, and they've since had a change of manager, it would have been natural to use such factors in ensuring they were at their best against their FA Trophy foes.
Mark Cooper, however, believed his team's 2-0 defeat was nothing to do with the Stags being keyed up and instead everything to do with his side's lacklustre midfield.
So ineffective was it during a costly first 20 minutes, Cooper reckoned he could have played himself.
That was his observation, made only partly in jest, after seeing his team swept aside during 14 first-half minutes, when Mansfield scored twice.
The visiting supporters were chanting about how easy it was and a disappointed Cooper fumed: "We let the Mansfield midfield have too much time, I think I could've played if that's how the modern-day midfielder wants to play.
"We didn't turn up for the first 20 minutes and gave Mansfield too much respect. We'd spoken about the game not being as easy as Lincoln. The message had been to get tight and let Mansfield know that they were in a game. But we didn't do it."
On the back of last Monday's impressive 3-1 win against Lincoln, which came two days after beating Grimsby, Cooper, understandably, named an unchanged side.
In hindsight, Jamie Chandler was needed in midfield to limit the time on the ball the opposition enjoyed.
Adam Murray and Lindon Meikle dictated play from the off. After only five minutes, right-midfielder Meikle played the ball up the line for striker Matt Green, who cut inside Graeme Lee before unleashing a low shot past Sam Russell for 1-0.
Green, on loan at Darlington for a short spell in 2007, added his second when Louis Briscoe's free-kick was not dealt with and that allowed the unmarked striker to lash home from 12 yards.
"You watch any level of football, even in the Premier League or international football, you've got to compete," added Cooper.
"You can play your pretty football like we do, but you also have to win the battle, which is something we didn't do for 20 minutes. We let Adam Murray get on the ball and play.
"Once we got that sorted out we looked a totally different team and had we scored in that spell just before half-time I believe we'd have had a totally different result.
"We had them camped in their half and they were relying on Green's pace to try to get breaks."
Darlington improved as the game went on, though they received no assistance from referee Karl Evans.
He mistakenly failed to award a penalty when Briscoe barged over Paul Arnison, then infuriated Quakers by booking Arnison, who had handled the ball in the belief that he had just won his side a penalty.
"I don't really want to talk about referees because that seems to be all we're doing at the moment," said Cooper.
"Paul Arnison's was a blatant penalty, and then there were three handballs in their penalty area in the second half, ridiculous.
"But I'm not going to use that as an excuse because had we started the game properly we would have won, I'm convinced of that."
Kris Taylor suffered the ignominy of being substituted before half-time. He was replaced by Chris Atkinson, but the on-loan midfielder was responsible for missing an open goal from close range after keeper Andy Marriott had parried a shot from substitute James Walshaw.
Quakers put the Stags under severe pressure after the break, as Mansfield were content to sit back on their lead.
Liam Hatch was sent on as Darlington kept the visitors hemmed into their own half, winning 15 corners, but Marriott was rarely tested.
In fact, closest to goal in the second half was Green, whose shot beat Russell but rebounded off the inside of the post.
After being held at home by Alfreton a fortnight ago, four players were axed. Now all eyes are on which players Cooper drops this time as he is sure to make changes for Saturday's trip to Luton.
The manager added: "For the last hour we were the better team, but that doesn't win you a game.
"I have to now make sure that the personnel I think are responsible don't play, or I make sure that they know if they do play again the same thing doesn't happen. It's going to be a massively tough week in training.
"At this level you have to constantly keep training players because they win two games and all of a sudden think they're Real Madrid."
Goals: 0-1: Green (5, cut inside from the right past Lee and shot across goal inside the far post), 0-2: Green (14, collected Briscoe's free-kick around 12 yards from goal and fired in off the upright)
Bookings: Arnison (33, handball); Kendrick (45, foul), Futcher (75, foul)
Referee: Karl Evans (Manchester) – upset Darlington with his refusal to award a penalty, despite some clear infringements by Mansfield 6
7 Russell: Made several saves and not at fault for either of Mansfield's goals;
6 Purkiss: Another steady display from the right-back who may have been playing his final game
6 Miller: A typically defiant last-ditch block late on prevented Paul Connor from scoring
5 Lee: Sidestepped by Green which allowed the Mansfield striker to open the scoring
5 G Taylor: Cheaply lost the ball on the touchline late on which almost led to a goal;
6 Arnison: A handful of passes went astray, though he should have been awarded a firsthalf penalty
4 K Taylor: Hauled off before the break in a like-for-like swap following an impactfree run-out
7 McREADY: Offered Darlington something going forward with his willingness to attack, surprisingly subbed;
7 Rundle: Didn't see as much of the ball as in Monday's win over Lincoln, but a threat when he was in possession;
6 Bowman: Lost the ball occasionally when played as a striker before being switched to right-wing
5 Campbell: Subdued performance from the striker, though he did come close with a long-range effort at goal
Atkinson (for K Taylor 40): Missed a chance to drag Darlington back into the contest when he shot wide of an empty net from six yards 5
Hatch (for McReady 59): Showed plenty of determination in closing down defenders, but had little impact in terms of providing a goal 6
Walshaw (for Campbell 63): Denied from inside the six-yard box by the Mansfield keeper 6 (not used):
Not used: Chandler, Bridge- Wilkinson
MANSFIELD TOWN (4-4-2): Marriott 7; O'Neill 6, Sutton 6, Futcher 7, Kendrick 6; Meikle 7 (Connor 68), Murray 7, Howell 6, Briscoe 6 (Worthington 88); Dyer 6, GREEN 8. Subs (not used): Redmond (gk), Naylor, Stevenson
MAN OF THE MATCH
MATT Green – two goals for the pacey striker who had a short loan spell with Darlington in 2007
It's back to square one for Quakers
Mansfield Town 2
IT'S back to the drawing board for Darlington manager Mark Cooper after Quakers lost for the first time at home this season to a nippy Mansfield side.
Read More http://www.journallive.co.uk/newcastle-sports/football-news/2011/09/05/it-s-back-to-square-one-for-quakers-61634-29362364/#ixzz1X4D5WIdT
Cooper was furious with his team's lethargic start to the game, which Mansfield capitalised upon by scoring twice in the first 14 minutes.
“That has completely ruined my weekend,” he said. “We'd worked hard all week in training, and then it was completely wasted.
“We didn't turn up for 20 minutes, and by then Mansfield were two goals in the lead. Some players thought that just because we'd won two games, we were Real Madrid. We didn't close them down, and players didn't get a foot in.
“I know where the problems are, and I'll be making changes ahead of our next game.”
Cooper also wasn't happy with three penalty decisions by referee Karl Evans that went against Quakers – one in particular looked a push on Paul Arnison – and he said: “I'm not going to say too much about the referee, but it was ridiculous the foul on Arnison wasn't given, and then he was booked for handling the ball.”
Not many Quakers fans remembered Matt Green from a loan spell he had at the club in October 2007, but they knew who he was after he scored twice in the first 14 minutes.
In the fifth minute, a Darlington attack was broken up by Lindon Meikle, who released Green, who cut in from the right and placed a left foot shot into the net.
Green was slightly fortuitous with his second. Louis Briscoe was clearly trying to score direct from a 30 yard free kick, but he mishit the ball into the box where Green turned to fire into the top corner.
After Arnison's penalty claim was denied, Cooper hauled off Kris Taylor and replaced him with Chris Atkinson, but it wasn't until the last half hour when Liam Hatch came on that Quakers really got going.
John Campbell went close following a Hatch lay off, then Atkinson bundled the ball wide after Gregg Taylor's shot was fumbled by Mansfield keeper Andy Marriott.
DARLINGTON: Russell; Purkiss, Miller, Lee, Greg Taylor, Arnison, McReady (Hatch 59), Kris Taylor (Atkinson 40), Rundle, Bowman, Campbell (Walshaw 63). Subs (not used): Chandler, Bridge-Wilkinson.
Booked: Bowman, Arnison.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott; O'Neill, Futcher, Sutton, Kendrick, Briscoe (Worthington 87), Murray, Howell, Meikle (Connor 68), Green, Dyer. Subs (not used): Redmond, Naylor, Stevenson.
Booked: Kendrick, Futcher.
Goals: Green 5, 15.
Attendance: 2, 647.
Referee: Karl Evans (Lancashire).
Latest | September 2011