COX, McGUIRE AND LEE JOHNSON REACTION
Cox wants improvement in concentration
mansfieldtown.net, 17th December 2013
Manager Paul Cox has called for our side to improve on their concentration levels in the wake of tonight’s 4-1 defeat to Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup with Budweiser.
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Ross Dyer’s early-opener had fans dreaming of a Third Round trip to Liverpool, but four goals in a devastating 24-minute spell in the second half, earned Oldham a second trip to Anfield in three seasons.
It was a thoroughly miserable night for our team as Ben Hutchinson and Sam Clucas were forced off through injury, and skipper John Dempster was also shown a straight red card late on.
“I thought for two-thirds of the game that we were in control,” said Cox.
“We weren’t under any pressure whatsoever and probably should have come in 2-0 up at half-time. (Sam) Clucas had a great effort what hit the post and could have probably done a little bit better.
“In the second half, their keeper made a great save from Lindon Meikle, and around the 60-minute mark, I thought the game was very even.
“But we’ve got to be better. Our organisation and our structure has got us through the last two games, and 60 minutes in this game. At times you couldn’t tell the difference between the two teams.
“Some of the lads said [leading up] to two of their goals, there were fouls, but we’ve got to be stronger and our concentration levels have got to be better.”
Cox added: “I didn’t see the 4-1 result coming, because all we had to do was keep our shape and our organisation and more importantly, our discipline.
“We thought [at half-time] we’d come away with probably nicking another [goal], so it’s disappointing because I thought for 60 minutes, we were decent.”
On the injury to Clucas, who has been taken to hospital as a precautionary measure, our boss added: “I think Sam jumped and came down on the back of his achilles, so I’m hoping he’s alright.”
Roll call for depleted Stags after FA Cup exit
With the Anfield dream over, Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox quickly turned his attentions to a roll call ahead of Saturday’s crucial home League Two clash with Accrington Stanley.
The Stags’ hopes of an FA Cup third round tie at Liverpool were ended tonight when League One Oldham Athletic bagged four second half goals in 24 minutes to win the second round replay 4-1
More worrying for Cox was a straight red card for defender John Dempster and injuries for Ben Hutchinson and Sam Clucas.
“We will just have to see how the lads are for Saturday,” he said.
“We had already lost Ben with his hamstring then Sam got hurt near the end.
“It was an accident. Their lad has just come down on the back of Sam’s Achilles and gone down it.
“Hopefully it’s nothing serious but we have sent him to hospital to have it looked at to make sure.
“I though John Dempster’s sending-off was harsh. I though he was just trying to block the ball. There was a push on Martin Riley just before that too which wasn’t seen.”
Cox added: “I thought for the first 50-60 minutes we were decent tonight. But you have to keep those concentration levels and beliefs going for 90 minutes.
“If you don’t then better sides will pick you off.
“The boys are down. I never thought Oldham were going to hurt us, despite having decent possession.
“If their keeper hadn’t saved Lindon Meikle’s shot it would have been 2-0 and we’d have had something to hang onto.
“We were up against a team from a higher division tonight but for long periods you couldn’t tell which was which so there are some positives for us.
“Don’t get me wrong, we’d have loved a day out at Anfield, but the league is our priority and we need to work on our concentration and not giving away silly free kicks outside out box as good teams will punish you.”
Oldham boss Lee Johnson said: “It’s a super prize to be going to Anfield. It’s for the boys. Not too many of them were here last season when we last played them.
“When you play for a small club you get certain big moments in your career - and this is one of them.
“The first half wasn’t great. We huffed and puffed and didn’t have any quality.
“But that was a monumental performance from the boys in the second half and I am so pleased for them.
“Our keeper made a fantastic save to stop it going to 2-0 and then we went down the other end and Danny (Philliskirk) scored a great free kick. He’s got that in his locker. He is a good player who can produce that bit of individual brilliance.
“That set us off and we looked comfortable after that. The game opened up and we have fit, young, hungry mobile players and we saw it out convincingly and we could have gone on and had five or six goals.”
Mansfield Town v Accrington: Match preview
Nottingham Post by Matt Halfpenny
IN the corridor at the top of the stairs that lead to the One Call Stadium board room is a stirring picture of the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment, depicting them at the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War. It's a scene from which Mansfield manager Paul Cox may wish to take inspiration.
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"Come 95th, show them the way!" was the battle cry sounded as determined troops led a crucial British counter-attack that ensured victory over the Russian enemy.
It's that same kind of fight against adversity - that same siege mentality - that the Stags need to show now.
They go into tomorrow's vital home game against Accrington Stanley (3pm) on a bit of a downer, following Tuesday night's 4-1 FA Cup second round replay to Oldham, just as they seemed to be picking themselves back up.
A 1-1 draw in the first round with the Latics, followed by a 0-0 League Two draw at Wimbledon had laid the foundations for better things, but it was almost back to square one come full time in midweek.
Not only did the scoreline hurt - although, it has to be said, it did not reflect the true course of the game - it was the fact that the chance to play Liverpool at Anfield had passed them by, the fact that Ben Hutchinson and Sam Clucas both left the field with injuries and the fact that John Dempster had been shown a red card that left a bitter taste.
Perhaps even more chastening than that for Cox, though, was the sloppy manner in which Mansfield again conceded the goals they did.
Looking back over the last few weeks, it has become a regular theme - and one he knows he needs to address.
He will have his orders to convey to his team from the sidelines as they take on Stanley. And he will hope to secure a response in the shape of a first, much-needed league victory in 12 matches.
"There are little things that we just need to deal with that we aren't dealing with," said Cox. "Our decision making is costing us dearly.
"Everyone wants to play attractive football, but there are times to play and times not to play. I don't think teams are beating us at the moment, we are beating ourselves. Other teams are not having to work hard to score goals against us.
"We have to be stronger and the concentration levels from us have to be better.
"We have to be more disciplined because good teams, with good players, will punish you.
"The boys were a bit down after the Oldham game, but we have done well for 60 minutes against them and the two games before that.
"Our season is all about the league, so we are trying to pick the boys up to get them to go again. We need to build on our performance and make sure we are consistent for 90 minutes."
It will be interesting to see what team Cox chooses for a match that takes on heightened intensity given there is only two points between Mansfield in 17th place and Accrington in 21st.
Should Hutchinson (hamstring) and Clucas (Achilles) both be out, Chris Clements will be in pole position to return to the midfield, but, with another place possibly still up for grabs, it could prompt a change in formation.
And at the back, Mansfield will be definitely forced into a change after Dempster's dismissal with Ritchie Sutton and Ryan Tafazolli in the frame to replace him.
Cox added: "I've been toying with one or two things in my head, even though we got a good point at Wimbledon in our last league game.
"I want us to get back to being structured for the whole 90 minutes. I don't mean a massive change in personnel but maybe in terms of our shape, particularly because we are not scoring enough goals."
McGuire: It wasn't our night
mansfieldtown.net, 17th December 2013
Midfielder Jamie McGuire believes ‘it wasn’t our night’ following our 4-1 defeat to Oldham Athletic the FA Cup with Budweiser.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/mcguire-it-wasnt-our-night-1242253.aspx?#V1EGQgkcV7vh8Es6.99
We were dreaming of a Third Round tie with Liverpool when Ross Dyer headed home a Lindon Meikle cross, but the Latics battled back to earn a trip to Anfield.
“At half-time we recouped and in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half, we were comfortable, but it was a stupid mistake [for the free-kick that led to Oldham’s equaliser],” said McGuire.
“But to be fair, the lad has put it right in the top corner and there’s nothing you can do about it.
“We ‘huffed and puffed’ after that, but there was nothing we could do about it. They were just sharp in the box and put their chances away.”
He continued: “I think we’ve just got to hold on better as a team. At 1-1, we needed to dig in, but we never did that. They got the goals and now they’ve got the tie of the round in going to Liverpool, so good luck to them.
“We’re honest enough and I think it wasn’t our night tonight, which is football for you. Oldham put their chances away and that’s the way it goes.”
Despite feeling disappointed at our exit from the competition, McGuire is now looking forward to our side switching their focus back to league matters.
We lock horns with Accrington Stanley on Saturday and McGuire is determined for us to pick up all three points, urging our fans to back us once again.
He continued: “We did well away at Oldham and also at Wimbledon. I thought we did well today, we matched them, but now it’s our FA Cup game on Saturday when we play Accrington - we’ve got to win that one and get all three points on the board.
“These upcoming games have got to get us back up the league table. We’ve got to get the points here and there, then push on once again, which I think we will do.
“The fans were brilliant tonight and I want them to get right behind us again on Saturday, because it’s such a big game.”
Bully for you!
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
LEE Johnson was delighted to see his young side overcome the bully-boy tactics of Mansfield and land a date at Anfield in the third round of the FA Cup.
A tactical change brought an amazing second-half turnaround and four goals from Danny Philliskirk, Jonson Clarke-Harris, Matteo Lanzoni and Adam Rooney as Athletic came from a goal behind against rugged opponents.
Prior to those strikes, the visitors were staring down the barrel at a shock exit from the competition.
A goal down after 12 minutes to Ross Dyer’s header, Athletic lost the services of midfield dynamo James Wesolowski to an eye injury midway through the half.
But an altered formation, in which Athletic went to three at the back, aided the recovery which was sparked by top scorer Philliskirk’s brilliant free-kick, his 10th goal of the season.
The comprehensive result means Athletic will face Liverpool for a third successive season on January 5.
“It was a show of massive character from our boys,” said Johnson. “They are growing up all the time.
“We knew they were going to try to bully us. You can’t keep bullying though, because if the passing is there and the workrate is there, eventually you get demoralised by the young whipper-snappers running around.”
The half-time change introduced Lanzoni as part of a three-man back line to turn the tables on the Stags.
“Something needed to happen,” said Johnson. “We needed to create the natural angles and I needed to put three against their three in midfield.
“As soon as we scored I just switched it back, as I knew then the game would open up. I was really pleased with the lads for their second-half display.
Wesolowski was rushed to hospital with a possibly fractured cheek bone
“Touch wood, he will be all right, but it was a bad one.”
Jonson Clarke-Harris picked up his fifth booking of the season last night and will serve a one-match ban when Athletic face Colchester at Boundary Park on Saturday in Sky Bet League One.
Liverpool v Oldham: Lee Johnson hails 'monumental' moment
Oldham manager Lee Johnson hailed a "monumental" moment for the club after his side beat Mansfield to set up an FA Cup third round clash with Liverpool.
The 4-1 victory over the Stags sees the Latics face the Reds in the competition for the third consecutive season.
"I am delighted for the lads and everyone connected with the club," Johnson told BBC Radio Manchester.
"There are certain points in your career, when you play for a small club, that are monumental and this is one."
The Latics went behind in the second round encounter with Mansfield when Ross Dyer headed home after 12 minutes.
Oldham then hit back in the second half with goals from Danny Philliskirk, Jonson Clarke-Harris, Matteo Lanzoni and an Adam Rooney penalty.
When they met Liverpool at the same stage in January 2012, the Reds were comfortable 5-1 winners, but the League One outfit shocked Brendan Rodgers' side 3-2 in the fourth round in January 2013.
At 32, Lee Johnson is the youngest manager in the football league.
His father Gary, 26 years his senior, is the boss of Championship side Yeovil Town.
Johnson, 32, wants his players to enjoy their achievement, with his side currently 16th in the third tier of English football.
"It is fantastic for the lads. Not too many of them were involved the last time around," he said.
"I am delighted for them but we have to focus on the league.
"What a great game to have come January and we will all be looking forward to it thoroughly."
Clarke-Harris, who fired in the second goal against Mansfield, is aiming to test himself against Premier League opposition.
"The lads are all buzzing with a trip to Anfield now," said the 19-year-old striker.
"It is an amazing feeling, a boyhood dream to be going there to play.
"I will get a chance to compare myself to their big players."
Johnson relishing Anfield trip
Oldham manager Lee Johnson is relishing an FA Cup third-round trip to Liverpool after overcoming Mansfield 4-1 in a replay.
Four goals in a 24-minute second-half purple patch saw them avoid an upset at the One Call Stadium and book a visit to Anfield.
Both of these clubs played Liverpool in this competition last year and were desperate for a rematch after a 1-1 draw at Boundary Park set up this second-round replay.
Mansfield even took the lead against their League One visitors through Ross Dyer after 12 minutes.
But the Stags fell apart in the second half and ended the game with nine men after John Dempster was red-carded for an 81st-minute handball in the box and then star winger Sam Clucas was taken to hospital near the end with an ankle injury with all three subs used.
While Mansfield were left to think about what might have been, Oldham were looking forward and Johnson said: "It's a super prize to be going to Anfield. It's for the boys. Not too many of them were here last season when we last played them.
"When you play for a small club you get certain big moments in your career - and this is one of them.
"The first half wasn't great. We huffed and puffed and didn't have any quality.
"But that was a monumental performance from the boys in the second half and I am so pleased for them.
"Our keeper made a fantastic save to stop it going to 2-0 and then we went down the other end and Danny (Philliskirk) scored a great free-kick. He's got that in his locker. He is a good player who can produce that bit of individual brilliance.
"That set us off and we looked comfortable after that. The game opened up and we have fit, young, hungry mobile players and we saw it out convincingly and we could have gone on and had five or six goals."
Latest | December 2013