EVANS, POTTER AND NATHAN JONES REACTION
Stags still in the hunt following Luton point
mansfieldtown.net, 17th April 2017
After this afternoon’s 1-1 draw at home to Luton Town, Stags’ boss Steve Evans says his side are still very much ‘in the mix’ for the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.
Midfielder Alfie Potter scored his first goal in Stags’ colours to give the hosts the lead against the Hatters, but Luton striker Danny Hylton rescued a point for his side with a second half penalty following George Taft’s handball.
Today’s draw means Stags have secured four points from a possible six over the Easter weekend, closing the gap on the play-offs to two points.
And the manager says Stags are still ‘alive and kicking’ as the race for the top seven gathers momentum.
“With three games to go, we’re very much in the mix along with four or five other clubs and no one expected that of us," the Stags' chief said.
Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/stags-still-in-the-hunt-following-luton-point-3679617.aspx#cdMBmW8YFHMGDpdR.99
"We’re probably the one anomaly in there that people didn’t think we could get there, but we have to believe and we do believe.
“We were left with the hardest run-in of anyone in the top group, but we knew that. We knew that when we walked in the door but I always thought it would be an exciting way if we were involved in the shake-up.
“We have to get four out of the next six and if we get another four out of the next six, I think we’ll take it to the last day.”
After watching the penalty incident back, the gaffer has no complaints with the decision to award the Hatters a spot kick, but does believe Stags should have had one of their own in the first half.
“We score a goal and how we’ve not got a penalty for holding our defenders from set plays is beyond me.
“In fairness, I didn’t think it was a penalty at the time but having looked back at it, the referee’s been given the opportunity to make a decision and he gives them it. The disappointment is that he gives it in one box and not the other.
“Both teams had good spells in the game, both teams dominated at certain times in the game. I think the pivotal moment, for me, was when we’re one up and we should have a clear penalty [which isn’t] given.
“It was two good teams out there - three good teams - I think the officials did well today.”
With the end of the season just around the corner, the boss says the only thing of interest is how the league table is shaping up, hence why the final 10 minutes of today’s game saw Stags push for a winner, instead of playing to preserve a point.
“I hear managers around the country talking and I shake my head because they’re talking nonsense when they’re talking about runs of games and stuff like that.
“When you play games at this stage of the season, the only thing that’s of interest is the league table. We knew that a point today would have left us a couple of points off it (the top seven).
“I knew what was happening around the country and that’s why I said I’d rather try and win than not lose. I was prepared to lose but [while] trying to win the game and that’s why we laid siege to their box in the last five or six minutes because we tried to go and affect and win the game.
“It’s served us, as a management team, it’s served us well in the past and we have to hope that bravery is rewarded in the next three [games].”
Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager’s post-match interview.
Evans proud as point keeps Stags in the play-off hunt
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 17 April 2017
Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans was proud to see his side stay in the play-off hunt, despite a 1-1 home draw with rivals Luton Town this afternoon.
Stags were in the driving seat through an Alfie Potter striker until Danny Hylton levelled from the penalty spot to leave Mansfield still two points adrift of the top seven.
But Evans said: “I was proud of our effort - in the last 10 minutes to go toe to toe with Luton and actually take the game to them with waves of attack and them hanging on, it does show you how far we’ve come.
“I was prepared to lose today in trying to win which is why we laid siege to their box.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/evans-proud-as-point-keeps-stags-in-the-play-off-hunt-1-8497043
“We know what we have to do now. If we can get another four out the next six points I think we’ll take it to the last day.
“The two point deficit is still there and a lot of good teams are still fighting for those places.
“We were left with the hardest run-in of anyone in the top group - we knew that when we walked in the door.
“But I always thought it would be an exciting way if we were involved in the shake-up.
“We have to go to Stevenage now and that’s going to be tough. They are on a wonderful run of form.”
On the Luton game, he added: “It was ferocious. Both teams had good spells in the game and both teams dominated at certain times of the game.
“I think we’ve seen a good Luton team today and I’d like to be building a team from fresh to compete against the likes of them and the three sides that have gone up today - congratulations to Doncaster, Plymouth and Portsmouth.
“They are three wonderful football clubs with good managers and, from a neutral point of view, I think the three best teams in the division have gone up today.”
Evans was again left frustrated by penalty decisions. Although after looking back at the incident he agreed Luton’s was the correct decision, he said the issue was Stags didn’t get one when Scott Cuthbert wrestled George Taft to the ground from a corner.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “ We put in a good first half performance when I thought we were exceptional.
“We scored a goal and how we’ve not got a penalty for holding against our central defender from a set play is beyond me.
“In fairness, I didn’t think Luton’s was a penalty at the time. I watched it back and I can understand why he gave it as the arm was up as George was turning. But the disappointment is he gives it in one box and not the other
“It’s been a tale of penalties for us in recent times.
“Luton then had a little period in the second half where for 20 minutes they were better than us. Then for the last 10 minutes and in added time they were holding on.
“We go away disappointed but we’re still alive and kicking with three games to go and still in the mix with four or five other clubs.
“No one expected that really. We had to believe and we do believe.”
Potter pleased to be off the mark
mansfieldtown.net, 17th April 2017
Midfielder Alfie Potter expressed his delight at opening his account for the club after he scored the first goal in today’s 1-1 draw at home to Luton Town.
The former Northampton Town man was a constant threat for the Stags - especially in the first half - and he executed a wonderful left-footed volley to open the scoring against the Hatters. However, Luton striker
Danny Hylton made sure the Hatters left with a share of the spoils when he converted a second half penalty.
After seeing a good chance go begging away to Wycombe Wanderers on Friday, the 28-year-old was delighted to see today’s effort hit the back of the net.
“It’s been a while since I’ve scored, over a year in fact. I had a chance against Wycombe on Friday that I should have put away so I was delighted to get this one today,” Potter said.
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“There was a lot of bodies to get through and I’m just glad that I managed to concentrate on putting my foot through it and luckily it went in.”
The tricky midfielder believes Stags should have gone on to win the game, but admits a point against a strong Luton side is not a bad result.
“I thought we were really good in the first half, I think [in the] second half we came out a bit too slow and we let them back into the game.
“We went again in the second half and maybe could have got the win in the end but in the grand scheme of things Luton aren’t a bad side and a point isn’t the end of the world.
“It keeps us alive and we’ll look to get the three points on Saturday now.”
With away trips to Stevenage and Crawley either side of our final home game of the season against Portsmouth, Potter says the Stags will approach the games with a positive mindset.
“We’ve got to go into these last three games with the mindset of winning all three, they are huge but they are the kind of games that you want to be involved in.
“We would have liked to get wins in both games, especially after the performance on Friday, but playing teams in and around the play-offs, if you look at it like that, then it’s not a bad four points.”
To view Alfie Potter’s post-match interview in full, login to Stags PlayerHD.
Potter off the mark for Stags with first goal in over a year
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Monday 17 April 2017
Alfie Potter was tonight celebrating his first goal in over a year and his first for Mansfield Town which earned the Stags another crucial point in a 1-1 draw with play-off rivals Luton Town.
Starting for the Stags for only the fourth time, he put them ahead in the first half before a Danny Hylton penalty pegged them back to leave Mansfield two points adrift of the play-offs with three games to go.
“I’ve waited a while. It’s been a while since I scored - over a year,” he smiled.
“I had a good chance at Wycombe on Friday that I should have scored so I was delighted to put that one away today.
Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/potter-off-the-mark-for-stags-with-first-goal-in-over-a-year-1-8497066
“Exactly the same happened at Wycombe on Friday and I had the shot cleared off the line and followed it up, but couldn’t get it out my feet.
“Today was the same and there was a lot of bodies to get through so I am just glad I concentrated on putting my foot through it and luckily it went in.
“I thought we were really good first half. Second half maybe we came out a bit too slow and let them get back into the game. “But we went again and could have got a win in the end.
“On the grand scheme of things, Luton are not a bad side and a point isn’t the end of the world. We’re still in with a shout and while we’ve got that chance we’re going to give it 100 per cent.”
Potter was part of the side that won at Wycombe on Friday and said a four-point Easter haul was a decent return.
“We’d like to have won both games, especially after getting that win away from home on Friday. You want win all your home games,” he said.
“But playing two sides in and around the play-offs it’s not a bad four points and keeps us alive.
“We keep saying we can’t keep dropping points but for one reason or another we’re still in with a shout. Everyone is dropping points.
“They are three huge games left now and we have to go into them with the mindset of winning all three. These are the kind of games you want to be involved in.
“Three points on Saturday and we’re right back in it. Stevenage have been on an unbelievable run but they are all tough games in this league.”
He concluded: “My main aim now is to stay in the team. I’ve had to be patient and not played as many games as I’d have liked.”
Jones left content as Town pick up a point at Stags
lutontoday.co.uk, by MIKE SIMMONDS, Monday 17 April 2017
Hatters boss Nathan Jones declared himself 'content' by his side’s 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town this afternoon. Luton had fallen behind in the first half to Alfie Potter’s volley, before levelling five minutes in the second period through Danny Hylton’s 26th goal of the season from the penalty spot.
Although the result meant Town could no longer achieve automatic promotion this season, with Plymouth and Portsmouth joining Doncaster in going up, when asked for his thoughts on the outcome, Jones said: “I think content is the word. I’m not really happy as we came, we wanted three points, but in terms of the scale of the game and what it means, I think a point is pretty much a fair result and it’s not a bad point.”
Although Hatters barely threatened home keeper Jake Kean in a low key first half, Jones refuted the suggestion that his side had been below bar.
He continued: “I think that would be a bit harsh. We negated them to literally set-plays, that was it.
Read more at: http://www.lutontoday.co.uk/sport/football/luton-town/jones-left-content-as-town-pick-up-a-point-at-stags-1-7919346
“They had no other threat apart from set plays and we negated that as we controlled the ball, we didn’t go back to front and allow them to get any head of steam up.
“The frustrating thing was we conceded from being sloppy from a set play again. Second ball, ball comes out, no-one’s marking on the edge of the box, people let a runner go and that’s frustrating. “As it doesn’t matter how much work you do, that’s just a discipline. But apart from that, I didn’t feel we were under any real, real pressure. “We know they’re going to knock balls long, so it seems like you’re under a bit of pressure, but all they do is knock balls long, try and fight, try and get on second balls. “We negated that and I can’t remember them creating much apart from late on where they just put it in the box. “So it was quite a controlled performance. I thought second half we were the better ones, but first half, just never really had a killer instinct about us really.” The closest Town came in the opening period was a back header from home defender Rhys Bennett which required a sprawling stop from his own keeper, as Jones was disappointed by their lack of a goal threat.
He said: "We got in real good areas and that’s what we said at half time, we need a bit more of a ruthless streak.
"As we counter attacked really well, Danny (Hylton) had one, but he wanted to take an extra touch. They want to score perfect goals, instead of sometimes just pulling the trigger.
"Apart from Cameron McGeehan, we don’t score from outside the box, because they don't want to pull the trigger and sometimes it looks wonderful, but we just want to win football matches. "That's probably the only thing. We looked solid, we competed, these are a very physical front foot, energetic side, but we’re a good side. We don’t get beaten much, we just probably needed to have a bit more killer instinct first half, but I was pleased with the second half." The result kept Hatters in fourth place, as although their gap to eighth was cut to four points, Jones still felt they were in a strong position with three games to go. He added: “It was important not to lose the game today, in terms of not to be three points off (eighth). “So it’s a decent point. These are flying in terms of how they are and their energy.
“They have a manager who drives them on, so we knew it was a dangerous game to come in today, but I thought we acquitted ourselves fantastically well apart from one lapse in concentration, thought we deserved what we got.”
Jones has no problems with Stags boss Evans
lutontoday.co.uk, by MIKE SIMMONDS
Hatters chief Nathan Jones brushed off his war of words with Mansfield Town chief Steve Evans during Monday’s 1-1 draw at the One Call Stadium. The pair had an angry touchline exchange during the second half, but Jones said: “I get on with Steve, off the pitch he’s a little bit different to what he is there. He’s very entertaining on the side if you’re not actually the opposing manager. Nathan Jones “He’s an interesting character, he said something to me I took offence to, so we sorted it out, it’s not a problem. “Steve’s a real big character, football needs those characters. “He’s very entertaining on the side if you’re not actually the opposing manager. “He’s got his side here, transformed them a bit, they are on the front foot and want to do something. “It’s a difficult game as whenever you play against a Steve Evans side, you know you’re going to be in for a battle and a fight. “You’ve got to be right at it and to be fair, our players did it well.”
Read more at: http://www.dunstabletoday.co.uk/sport/football/hatters/jones-has-no-problems-with-stags-boss-evans-1-7923613