COX, SUTTON, GARY BRABIN REACTION
post match interview with Gary Brabin --->
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Luton Town boss Gary Brabin told BBC Three Counties Radio:
"Frustrating is the word we've used in the changing room.
"We started with our three leading goal scorers in attack and we felt really confident we were going to score goals.
"But on the night our quality and inventiveness in the last third wasn't good enough."
post match interviews with Paul Cox and Richie Sutton --->
Delighted Stags boss salutes players after goalless TV draw at Luton
POST-match talk at Kenilworth Road tonight was whether Matt Green's late effort had crossed the line in Stags' excellent 0-0 draw with Luton Town.
Green was convinced the ball was over before George Pilkington hooked clear and manager paul Cox said afterwards: “We heard behind the dug-outs that the live TV showed it had gone over the line.
“Sometimes they go for you, sometimes they don't.
“But I have to be delighted with a point as they are the in-form team and this is a tough place to come with a partisan crowd. Not many teams come away from here with a point.
“It was a game of two halves. Luton were the better side in the first half but I thought we bossed it second half and got stronger as the game went on.
“I think we showed more ambition to win it at the end. The lads have put a real shift in tonight.
“If we can now go away to Ebbsfleet on Saturday and win it will have been a very good week for us.”
Boss Cox hails Stags' work ethic
PAUL Cox hailed the work ethic of his Mansfield Town players as they claimed a point at high-flying Luton last night in a 0-0 draw.
Television replays of the live game suggested Stags striker Matt Green's late header, which was not given, was over the line, meaning the Stags could have claimed victory.
But manager Cox was phlegmatic about that moment and preferred to concentrate on the efforts of his players.
"The lads worked extremely hard. In the second half we tried to play a little bit more in their half and had chances that we could have stuck in," he said.
"What we heard from behind the dug-out was that the ball was over the line (from Green). Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't.
"But we have come away from a tough place with a point and we have to be pleased because not many teams do that.
"I felt we got what we deserved in the end, even if I am disappointed we didn't get a victory.
"We have worked a lot on team ethic and when Luton had plenty of possession in the first half, when they were the better side, we worked well as a unit to keep them out.
"We got more on the ball in the second half but when you have those good periods you have to make the most of them. That is what we are missing at the moment."
Brabin left dissatisfied by impotent Hatters
BY JAMES CUNLIFFE, http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk
Frustration was the keyword for Luton boss Gary Brabin who admitted that his side weren't good enough in front of goal to beat Mansfield.
The two sides played out a televised bore draw where the Hatters huffed and puffed and hit the woodwork but failed to score.
At the other end, two goal line clearances from captain George Pilkington ensured the Stags did likewise but that was no consolation for the man in charge at Kenilworth Road.
“Our quality and inventiveness in the final third let us down,” Brabin said.
“We've scored a lot of goals of late and Mansfield are a tough side to break down but we've got to better than that if we want to be challenging for promotion.
“I've been saying all season that we need to be ruthless in the box but I today I don't think it was even a case of that. I just don't' think we created enough.”
He added: “The word we've used in the changing room is frustrating.”
The emotion was also felt in the stands after the final whistle blew, and the manager said: “I can understand that. It has been here for a few years now and they want to be back where they feel they belong. There's no disputing it's a big club but there's no divine right to get back there.
“We will have to work hard behind the scenes – coaches, managers, staff and supporters. Those people I've mentioned, it's none of their faults that Luton are where they are. We are trying our hardest to get them back where we feel we belong.”
He added: “I don't want to be one of those managers who hides behind a low budget and no expectancy. I'm privileged to be the manager of a club that has a fantastic history and there is a massive expectancy to get them back in the Football League.
“That's something I enjoy working under and I believe 100 per cent that I'm good enough to achieve that at this football club.”
As so often this season, irritating decisions by the referee added to the dissatisfaction felt afterwards, none more so than when the man in the middle waved away first half penalty claims when Adam Watkins appeared to be tripped.
Brabin said: “From where we were it looked a stonewall penalty but we haven't seen the replays yet. In games like that it's probably easy to nit-pick at the referee but we felt like every half decision went against us.”
He added: “When you hear other clubs moaning about it you think they're bad losers or bad sportsmen, but since I've been at Luton I have noticed that you don't seem to get anything.
“Outside the Luton supporters I don't think there are too many people who seem to like us.
“I felt frustrated in the game and whether I'm using that as an excuse, I don't know, but little 50/50 decisions weren't going our way.
“That was disappointing but I'm not going to hide behind that. The main thing was that we weren't creative enough.”
However, in Brabin's opinion, the officials did get one call right, not to award Mansfield's Matthew Green a goal in the second half when skipper Pilkington cleared off the line - the second last ditch intervention the defender was forced into after keeper Kevin Pilkington got caught out.
“From where we were, it didn't look like it had gone in,” explained the boss. “They were two good clearances off the line from Pilks.”
The Hatters chief wouldn't be drawn on who would feature between the posts in Saturday's home match against strugglers Alfreton, despite a man-of-the-match performance from Mark Tyler in Monday's FA Trophy replay win over Hinckley and some dubious decision making by first choice Pilkington against Mansfield, .
“He's [Pilkington] made his first mistake and it has been well highlighted," said Brabin, adding: "It is unfortunate but I'm sure he'll be delighted that he's kept another clean sheet.
“We can't pinpoint our lack of creativity in the final third on Pilks. He's been a really solid performer of late and he'll be disappointed with one or two decisions he's made.
“One of the things we keep speaking about is competition throughout the side.
“Mark Tyler has been excellent and has responded the way I've wanted. At the same time, he made a mistake at Ebbsfleet away and it wasn't highlighted so we made the decision to freshen things up which has got us back on the front foot.
“I'm certainly not dismissing Mark Tyler but at the same time Kevin Pilkington will feel it's job done because he's kept a clean sheet."
Brabin admits Hatters lacked a cutting edge
FRUSTRATED Hatters boss Gary Brabin was left to lament a lack of creativity and inventiveness in the final third as his side were held to a bore draw by Mansfield Town in front of the Premier Sports cameras at Kenilworth Road last night, writes Mark Wood.
A number of refereeing decisions seemed to go against Luton as midfielder Adam Watkins was denied a 'stonewall' penalty, but they were also indebted to captain George Pilkington who twice cleared efforts off the line.
There was also a further worry for the Hatters as recovering striker Amari Morgan-Smith hobbled off in the second half after feeling the hamstring injury that had sidelined him for over two months.
On the game itself, Brabin said: “I think that's the word we've used in the changing room, frustrating.
“We started the game with our three leading goalscorers in attack and one thing I felt really confident coming into this game was that we were going to score goals. On the night the thing that's let us down was that our quality or inventiveness in the final third wasn't good enough. We've scored a lot of goals of late and have been creating chances. Mansfield are a tough side to break down. We've got to be better than that, certainly if we are wanting to get promotion.
“I've been saying it all season, we need to be ruthless in the box and I don't even think it's a case of that. I just don't think we created enough in the final third.
“I thought the lads worked hard and I thought certainly in the middle of the pitch we played some nice football. It was good, but I felt we lacked that little something special which you need in the final third when you play a team that are tough to break down.”
Twice keeper Kevin Pilkington was rescued by his namesake on the line, but Brabin backed his under-fire keeper who was also unlucky with two of the goals in the 3-3 draw at Southport on Saturday.
Brabin added: “He's made his first mistake. I think it's been well highlighted. It's unfortunate, but he's kept another clean sheet so I'm sure from his point of view he will be delighted he has kept another clean sheet.
“We can't pinpoint our lack of creativity in the final third on Pilks.”
Time is now for Stags to make play-off push – Sutton
Nottingham Post, Friday, January 27, 2012
ONE look around Kenilworth road on Wednesday night told the story.
The happy fans clapped and chanted; the delighted players high-fived. All connected with Mansfield Town clearly felt it was a job well done.
But while a 0-0 draw at high-flyers Luton – still regarded as the biggest club in the Blue Square Bet Premier – was regarded as cause to be encouraged, the same will not be the case if they are held at Ebbsfleet tomorrow.
Liam Daish's side cannot boast the players, stadium or league position of Gary Brabin's Hatters, meaning expectations among the Mansfield fraternity will inevitably rise.
But the pressure to secure a victory at Stonebridge Road will not just come from the supporters; the players and management are putting pressure on themselves.
The importance of the game has certainly not been lost on defender Ritchie Sutton, who switched from the middle to play at right-back in Bedfordshire.
The former Port Vale player knows it is vital that Mansfield start converting at least some of their draws into three points – starting in Kent.
"It was definitely a point gained at Luton who are a good team, even if we were disappointed not to win it in the end," said Sutton.
"We have got ourselves together over the last five games and stayed unbeaten, which has given us the confidence to make a move.
"But we have to make it now because time is running out.
"It has been the story of our season that we have been hard to beat but had too many draws.
"If we want to be in the play-offs we have to finish strongly. "We know we are capable of doing it, now we just have to go out and do it.
"These are the games where we have to convert the draws into wins."
Sutton admits it is hard not to lament the amount of points lost from winning positions that has cost Stags so dearly.
Of their 13 league draws, Mansfield have been at least a goal up in eight of them.
Sutton said: "It's hard not to look back and think what might have been had we won most of the games we were winning.
"We were are disappointed we didn't win either of the two York games, especially the second one when we were 2-0 up and there were a lot of matches that went the same way earlier in the season.
"We could have been up there challenging Wrexham and Fleewood had we held on, as we should in at least some cases.
"But hopefully we have learned and can use it to our advantage during the rest of the season."
Boss Paul Cox is in agreement that Mansfield's second away trip inside four days could be a key game in their season.
The Stags will be aided in their preparations by an overnight stay, rather than travelling down south tomorrow morning.
"There is a danger of it being 'after the Lord Mayor's show' for us, having played at Luton in front of the TV cameras and then going to a much smaller club," said Cox.
"People have said to me how well we did against Luton, but it means nothing if we don't follow it up.
"We will try to do things professionally and it will be interesting to see how the players react. I'm looking for the same kind of desire and commitment.
"But if we show them any disrespect, then we are going to get our backsides kicked. I have watched them recently and Ebbsfleet are a good side."
Cox is considering changes, despite what he saw at Luton, in a bid to prevent burn-out.
He said: "We have to look at it in terms of freshening things up. Do we thrown Hutcho (Ben Hutchinson) in again as we try to build his fitness, or do we bring him off the bench?
"Do we start with Greeny (Matt Green), who carried a bit of a knock into the Luton game and do we bring back Lindon (Meikle)?
"I usually like to take a squad of 17, but I'm likely to take 20 this time. I want to keep our options open."
Latest | January 2012