COX, MARRIOTT, NEAL ARDLEY REACTION
Cox: We deserved to win
Manager Paul Cox believes we were very unfortunate not to take all three points from our Sky Bet League Two clash with AFC Wimbledon this afternoon.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/cox-we-deserved-to-win-1235426.aspx?#HRDl3uuLlL2JGZTJ.99
Our side brought an end to their six-match losing streak with a much-deserved point, but could have taken all three had they not been denied by the brilliance of Dons shot-stopper Ross Worner.
Worner made a string of incredible saves as we pressed forward in the closing stages and had twice kept out Matt Rhead headers, before he did likewise from a Ross Dyer effort.
Reflecting on the match, and Worner's heroics, our boss said: "It's incredible and I don't know how they've not hit the target.
"Three of them were world-class saves and I feel gutted for the boys, because we weathered the storm in the first half, playing against a strong wind and limited them to one chance.
"Apart from that they only had long-range efforts and in the second half, I thought there was only ever one team that was going to win it [us]."
Cox continued: "I don't think any of our players did anything wrong with their headers, he keeper has just had one of those days.
"I thought all three [were going in] and I don't know how he's kept some of them out - especially the one at the end where Ross Dyer has ghosted in at the far-post, headed it as if it's going to go in the top corner, but somehow [the keeper] has got across and tipped it over the crossbar."
"So credit to the keeper, I thought he was outstanding, but it's frustrating because we've came here and our shape has looked good and we looked organised."
Nevertheless, Cox believes there are many positives that can be carried forward into Tuesday's night's eagerly-anticipated FA Cup with Budweiser Second Round replay with Oldham Athletic at One Call Stadium.
He added: "The boys are working hard and have come away to two tough places [AFC Wimbledon and Oldham Athletic] and have had chances to win both games."
Stags boss Paul Cox hails Dons’ keeper supershow
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox tonight paid tribute to a superb second half showing from AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper Ross Worner in today’s 0-0 draw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Worner pulled out three top drawer saves to thwart Ross Dyer. Sam Clucas and Matt Rhead and Cox said: “In the second half how the keeper kept out three of the four efforts I don’t know. I thought they were absolutely world class saves.
“I don’t think the boys did anything wrong with their headers, but sometimes you have to give credit to the keeper and I thought he was outstanding and had one of those days.
“I thought in the second half there was only one team going to win it.
“I feel gutted for the boys. We defended well in the first half against a strong wind, though we looked like we might have Tuesday’s game with Oldham on our mind at times.
“We only made one mistake when John Dempster slipped, but Alan Marriott made a good save.
“But second half we really went for it and I think we deserved to win it.”
He added: “That’s two games away from home against good sides and we have drawn both and got a clean sheet today. We haven’t turned the corner yet but we are building foundations after a horrible month.
“We have had to knuckle down and get back to basics. This has been a massive learning curve for this club. But I have not been fazed by this little spell we’ve been having.
“Second half today we were excellent and just needed a bit of luck.
“If we can take four out of six points in the League this week and go through to the next round of the cup, I think that will have been quite a successful week.
“Let’s hope we can now win two games in front of our own supporters this week. They are so important to us. I hope they turn out in their droves.”
Marriott reflects on draw at Wimbledon
mansfieldtown.net, by Tom Lawler
Goalkeeper Alan Marriott has praised the performance of his opposite number Ross Worner in our goalless draw with AFC Wimbledon this afternoon.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/marriott-reflects-on-draw-at-wimbledon-1236847.aspx#J425IEDYOhb8uHe0.99
The Dons’ shot-stopper pulled off a string of remarkable saves to keep the Stags out, and almost single-handedly earned his side a 0-0 draw.
Meanwhile, Marriott was pleased with our defensive performance, as we picked up a well-deserved point ending a six-match losing streak.
“It was a tricky game for goalkeepers out there today,” said the 35-year-old. “It was very windy which made it hard to deal with corners.
“In the second half their goalkeeper pulled off three moments of brilliance to keep them in the game which frustrated us, but it is pleasing as a team we are creating these chances.
“Goalkeepers train hard all week, and the sort of saves he made is what you work on during training, so to be fair to him it has worked out really well for him today after making some fantastic stops.”
He added: “It’s just the way it is going for us at the minute, but we can take the positives and say we are creating these chances and getting into the right areas at the right times which will build our confidence up.
“We’ve been working hard and since Micky (Moore) returned, we’ve worked on our shape in trying to become a hard, compact unit. We’ve been working hard for each other and it is starting to pay off.”
The Stags number one goalkeeper is now looking forward to Tuesday’s FA Cup with Budweiser Second Round replay with Oldham Athletic.
With Liverpool awaiting the winners, Marriott is relishing the idea of a potential trip to Anfield, but has urged our players to also keep focused on matters in the league.
Talking about the prospect of playing Liverpool for a second season running, Marriott said: “We will put it to the back of our minds to be honest.
“It’s important to keep up a good league form, because is our ‘bread and butter’. We need to concentrate climbing up that table to where we should be.
“Obviously, we’ve got the incentive of playing Liverpool in the next round, which is fresh in the mind from last year.
“For me, my incentive is to get there and for my little boy to come out with me on the pitch, which will probably bring a tear to my eye.
“But we’ve got the matter of beating Oldham Athletic, so we need to complete a giant-killing first.”
Stags can now look forward to the FA Cup: Marriott
Mansfield Town goalkeeper Alan Marriott said now the tough trip to AFC Wimbledon was out the way, the Stags could start looking forward to Tuesday night’s FA Cup replay with Oldham Athletic.
But he warned against dreaming too hard about the possible third round trip to Liverpool for the winners just yet.
Marriott had a fine game in the 0-0 draw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium yesterday and then said: “We had to put Oldham to the back of our minds today.
“The League is important as it’s our bread and butter and we want to climb up the table.”
On the possible game at Liverpool, he said: “We have players here who didn’t experience it last year who will want it and it means a lot to the fans as well.
“For any footballer, playing at Anfield is the pinnacle of your career and my career is coming to an end. So to get that chance would be fantastic.
“My little boy wants to go there too. That would be something special. To walk out on the pitch at Liverpool with him would bring a tear to my eye.
“But we have the small matter of Oldham first. They are a League One outfit and are a fantastic team. We must do things right and proper on Tuesday.”
Marriott had nothing but praise for his opposite number at AFC Wimbledon, Ross Worner, whose saves denied the Stags all three points.
“It was a tricky game today for goalkeepers with a horrible, swirling wind,” said Marriott.
“He pulled off three bits of brilliance to keep them in the game and frustrate us. But we have to be pleased that we are creating chances and being in the right areas at the right time.
“He made some fantastic saves and that’s how it’s going for us at the minute.
“As a back line it hurts when you keep on letting in goals and sliding down the table. But Micky Moore has worked hard on our shape since he came back and it is starting to pay off.”
Defensive display pleases Riley
mansfieldtown.net, by Tom Lawler
Defender Martin Riley believes our side put in one of their strongest defensive performances of the season in our goalless draw at AFC Wimbledon.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/defensive-display-pleases-riley-1237783.aspx?#3LE82QX9SzDzsOSo.99
The 27-year-old stated that we had gone ‘back to basics’ in order to end a poor run of form, which saw our side lose six straight league games.
Riley has now urged our players to repeat yesterday’s defensive display for the rest of the season, as we target more clean sheets.
“With a clean sheet that was one of our better defensive performances,” said Riley.
“It was a solid display and we’re happy with a clean sheet, so we’ll move on to the next match now.
“I think we’ve been building up to this. We’ve recently gone ‘back to basics’ after the run we’ve had with our losing streak.
“We’ve had to go ‘back to basics’, building from the back, and that clean sheet is hopefully the first of many more.”
He continued: “We’ve got a certain way of playing. Other teams may say we don’t play pretty football at times, but who cares?
“We know what we’re good at and we know how we want to play football, which has been effective over the last few seasons.
“At the moment, with the way things are going, we just need to show a lot more great determination, which I think we did [at Wimbledon].”
Neal's Mansfield verdict
Author: Chris Slavin
We did not play well, but we stayed resilient: Neal Ardley
Dons boss on a battling draw
Read more at http://www.afcwimbledon.co.uk/news/article/neal-on-mansfield-draw-1235814.aspx?#TmShjguB8EdSJp23.99
Neal Ardley praised his side’s resilience after a Wimbledon team weakened by injuries survived a second-half “bombardment” from Mansfield.
With captain Alan Bennett joining Harry Pell on the treatment table after suffering an ankle injury in training on Friday and Sammy Moore suspended, the Dons had less armoury to stand up to a physical Mansfield side.
Speaking to Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “I am not going to dress it up that we played well. It was a horrible, tough game. I thought that first-half when we were brave enough to pass the ball, which we had been working on all week, we created some half chances. But in the second-half they pressed us high and they did not let us play out from the back. It made it difficult because they were bigger than us all over the pitch. Paul Cox thought that he could expose our weaknesses because we were a bit makeshift and they bombarded us with long balls.
“Ross made three great saves though, which was really pleasing, and we did not buckle. We have kept a clean sheet and that was a positive after a difficult second-half. We did not play well, but we stayed resilient. We have a group of boys who will give everything. They need a bit of guidance and at half-time I wanted them to be braver in the way that they passed the ball, but 10 minutes into the second-half I could tell that they were not going to let us do that.”
Neal added that Alan Bennett’s ankle injury will be assessed next week by the medical team.
“Alan rolled his ankle on Thursday when we were working on set-pieces and it swelled up on Friday morning,” he said. “We will assess that next week. I thought that Barry Fuller was excellent alongside Andy Frampton today. We wanted to play better and get three points, but it was a tough second-half and it’s a tough league.”
Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley on our premium site and we will feature the thoughts of and Andy Frampton tomorrow.
AFC Wimbledon’s Worner delights at ‘best saves’ against Mansfield
By Adam Harwood
AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper Ross Worner earned all the plaudits after saving his side from defeat against Mansfield on Saturday - and he was quick to agree that some of his spectacular stops were up there with the best in his career.
A make-shift Dons side, missing six players through injury and suspension, had edged a dull encounter with Mansfield Town going into the final fifteen minutes, but a sustained period of Mansfield pressure led to the Dons keeper producing three outstanding saves to prevent the Stags winning the game at the death.
“My first save (where Mansfield substitute Matt Rhead had a free header at the back post) I parried the ball initially, and got a bit lucky where my armpit stopped the ball ricocheting into the back of the net,” Worner admitted.
“But the other two saves were right up there among the best that I’ve ever made.”
Worner’s latter two stops, to deny Mansfield top scorer Sam Clucas with a one handed stop, and a Ross Dyer header angled for the top corner, were certainly much needed, after the Dons appeared to lose their shape following the introduction of last season’s top scorer Jack Midson and on-loan winger George Porter.
And manager Neal Ardley admitted his squad were threadbare after being able to name just five substitutes, with winger George Francomb having to play the full 90 minutes in an unfamiliar central midfield role after Harry Pell was injured in training and Sammy Moore was suspended.
“We looked at a player pre-season (for central midfield) who we were keen on, but his club weren’t happy to let him go, it didn’t quite suit us so we started the season just with the three recognised central midfielders.
“That’s gone quite well so far as they’ve all been fit, but obviously today we got to the stage where we couldn’t do anything. I asked George to do the ugly stuff so that we didn’t miss the job Sammy Moore does, and he did it really well and gave us a very good performance.
“My bigger worry today was at centre back, we lost Alan (Bennett) on Thursday afternoon, Rhys Weston has a bit of tendonitis in the knee, Will Antwi has only trained for a week so it would have been tough to put him straight back in.
“We had to thank Ross Worner at times, he made some excellent saves. But that’s what he is there for.”
Latest | December 2013