GANNON AND JEWELL REACTION
Gannon points finger at defence
Assistant manager John Gannon blamed defensive mistakes for Mansfield's 2-1 defeat by Wigan.
Nathan Ellington and Andy Liddell scored the goals which saw Wigan extend their lead at the top of the table to 12 points, with Iyseden Christie pulling one back.
Gannon said: "We were disappointed with the result. In the first half we stood off them too much, especially on the two goals and a couple of occasions before that.
"We tried to step up on people and they punished us. I had a poor view of the first goal so I can't say if it was offside, but I thought we were taking chances as a back four, and we were punished."
He added: "Wigan looked very bright and have some very clever players. But I was delighted with our response after half-time.
"Trailing 2-1 with five minutes to go you just need a bit of luck in front of goal, and we could have taken something out of the game, which didn't look possible at half-time."
STAGS RUE 'OFFSIDE' DECISION
BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 29 January 2003
Mansfield defender Rhys Day was today adamant that Nathan Ellington was offside when he put league leaders Wigan on their way to a 2-1 victory at Field Mill last night.
But the Welsh centre-back admitted assistant referee Craig Barker's decision not to raise his flag was just one of those things and he believes Stags still have an excellent chance of getting a good result at Plymouth on Saturday.
Ellington appeared to be in an offside position when Lee McCulloch sent him through on goal in the 39th minute.
Andy Liddell put the visitors two ahead three minutes later and, despite a reply from Iyseden Christie, his 16th of the season, five minutes into the second half, the Stags were unable to force an equaliser against Paul Jewell's side, who increased their lead at the top of the table to 12 points.
The Stags also had a penalty appeal turned down after Liam Lawrence fell under a challenge from former Notts defender Peter Kennedy.
Day said: "I will have to have a look at it on the video but myself, Bobby Hassell and Matt Gadsby were in a line and I was convinced Ben Doane was in front of us so I am sure it was offside.
"But that is just the way football is sometimes. The same linesman could have made it up to us by giving us a penalty when Liam went down late on but it wasn't to be."
Assistant manager John Gannon said he did not get a clear view of the build-up to the goal.
He said: "I didn't have the best of views, to be honest.
"Their centre forwards are good players and made some good runs but Ellington got through a couple of times before that so I couldn't tell you whether it was bad play on our part or that the linesman made a mistake.
"We were punished but we tried to do something about it and I think that was a big positive."
Day thought that the Stags may have given Paul Jewell's side too much respect in the early stages.
He said: "I don't think we feared them but we sat back to have a good look at them in the first half to see what they had to offer."
Stags made it difficult for us - Jewell
Wigan Athletic boss Paul Jewell was pleased to see his side hit back from Saturday's shock defeat at Swindon by winning at Mansfield on Tuesday.
The victory tightened the Latics' grip on the top of the table and pushed Keith Curle's side into more relegation trouble.
"Obviously I'm delighted with the win as it was a very difficult game," Jewell admitted after the game.
"The conditions were awful and I think it tells you something when both teams played better when they were against the wind.
"I was pleased for The Duke as he took his goal very calmly having had a long time to think about it and he looked a bit more like his old self tonight.
"To be honest we should have won more comfortably but at the end of the day we've won and that's all that matters."