EVANS, MACDONALD, JACK LESTER REACTION
Stunning first half, poor second - gaffer
mansfieldtown.net, 25 November 2017
Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans dubbed this afternoon's 2-2 draw at home to Chesterfield 'a game of two halves' after skipper Zander Diamond salvaged a point late on in an evenly-balanced local derby at One Call Stadium.
The Spireites went ahead against the run of play in the 14th minute when winger Joe Rowley curled the ball home from inside the box. The scores were level at the break, however, as right-back Hayden White struck his first goal for the club after good link-up play with striker Omari Sterling-James.
Chesterfield midfielder Andy Kellett headed the visitors back into the lead midway through the second half, before skipper Zander Diamond headed home his third goal of the week two minutes from time to extend Stags' unbeaten run to 10 games.
And despite admitting his side's second half performance didn't meet his expectations, the gaffer believes Stags deserved to take something from the game after a 'stunning' first half display.
"I think it was a game of two halves. I don't know how we go behind in the game, because we've had total dominance," the Stags' chief said.
"I think you deserve a point if you take it over 90 minutes, not over the second half performance - I think we're second best in the second half. We were a street ahead in the first half and if we do our job properly in the first half, we probably turn [at half-time] two or three-zero and it's game over.
"I think with that much dominance and that much good play and that many efforts at goal and good build-up play, all you want to see is that level of performance continue. If that continues, we win the game.
"It's not pleasure drawing at home to Chesterfield. Let me say something straight here: we go home down but I'm just pleased for our supporters that we were able to draw the game because I know from being in the town just how much it means to them.
"Apologies that the second half wasn't good, but the first half was stunning."
The gaffer was pleased to see his 'gamble' pay off as he replaced midfielder Joel Byrom with forward Jimmy Spencer in the 72nd minute and the former Leeds United boss believes his side could've gone on to win the game after skipper Diamond grabbed an 88th minute leveller.
"I made the decision to gamble to get back in the match late on, rather than lose. Losing's not what we're used to; it's 10 games now, and when people look at that goal - I know people say different things about different goals - but that is a training ground goal.
"[It was] fantastic play; a great cross from [Alex] MacDonald and a great header with Zander. I thought we were going to get the winner; we were unlucky with Alfie [Potter] on a couple of occasions and Jimmy and we'd have obviously loved to have won for the supporters.
"I'll tell you what we did have, we had character at the end. I think even after we scored, you're suddenly seeing that the bottom of the table side froze and they were trying to bring substitutes on all the way through injury time because they knew then it was whether they could hang on."
Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's post-match interview.
Evans apologises for Stags’ second-half display
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 25 November 2017
Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans apologised to supporters for his team’s poor second half showing in today’s 2-2 home draw with local rivals Chesterfield. The Stags needed an 88th minute goal from skipper Zander Diamond to steal a point at the end of a half in which the bottom placed visitors dominated.
But it was Mansfield who sparkled in a first half in which they had gone behind against the run of play to level. “It’s not a pleasure drawing at home to Chesterfield - we go home down,” said Evans.
Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/evans-apologises-for-stags-second-half-display-1-8877387
“But I am just pleased for our supporters we were able to draw the game as I know from being in the town how much it means to them. “Apologies the second half performance wasn’t good, but the first half was stunning. We need more of that first half. “To be as poor as we were in the second half reminded me of one or early season when you don’t expect it. I am expecting to see more consistency now and not up and down performances from individuals as well as the team. “They let themselves down in the second half. “But we did have character at the end. “It was a game of two halves. I don’t know how we went behind in the game as we’d had total dominance and a clear cut penalty not given. “We got back in the game with a great move and when we came in at half-time we said if just step it up three or four per cent we’ll win the game.” However, the game swung completely the other way and Evans said: “We just didn’t come out second half. The so-called big players weren’t there and we could have taken more of them off. “The substitutions were indicitive that we were a bit out of sorts second half. “In the end we were fortunate to go and get a point but the plusses are we are 10 unbeaten and we didn’t lose. “I think we deserved a point if you take it over the 90 minutes, not over the second half performance. I think we were second best in the second half but a street ahead in the first. “If we do our job properly in the first half we probably turn two or three-nil up and it’s game over. “Chesterfield have got good players and I don’t think they will going down. Second half they must have had a bit of a rocket or came out with a bit of belief.” Centre half Diamond, who scored twice at Port Vale on Tuesday, was pushed up front at the end and it paid off handsomely as Stags’ unbeaten run was extended to 10 games. “I made the decision to gamble in the match late on rather than lose,” said Evans. “It was a training ground goal - a great cross from MacDonald and a great header from Zander - fantastic play. Then I thought we were going to go on and grab a winner. “I thought our supporters were fantastic. The noise when the equaliser went in was simply stunning.” Evans said he had one or two players short of full fitness after the bruiser at Port Vale. “It wasn’t just Kane Hemmings who’d had a knock, two or three were struggling and I think their performances today said they weren’t quite there,” he said.
Steve Evans: Mansfield Town let down by 'so-called big players', says manager
Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans has criticised 'complacent' performances by some of his players following their 2-2 draw with local rivals Chesterfield.
Zander Diamond secured the Stags a draw with an 88th-minute equaliser.
Evans told BBC Radio Nottingham: "We played fantastic football in the first half but someone switches off mentally.
"Second half we were poor and the so-called big players, they are so-called and not big players because in the second half they let the boys down."
Diamond's late goal stretched Mansfield's unbeaten run to 10 matches and they remain seventh in League Two.
But although Evans is happy with the strength of his squad, he is determined not to let a poor mental approach cost them points.
"We are all learning, but credit to the players. We showed initiative for throwing the captain (Zander Diamond) into the box and then there's only one team trying to win it in injury time," he added.
"But we will learn from the game that complacency has once again cost us, just as it cost us in the earlier part of the season."
Immense Stags' fans deserved derby day win - MacDonald
mansfieldtown.net, 25 November 2017
Midfielder Alex MacDonald has admitted his frustration at not rewarding the Mansfield Town fans' 'immense support' with three points in this afternoon's local derby against Chesterfield.
Stags twice came from behind at One Call Stadium in the 2-2 draw; once in the first half when right-back Hayden White cancelled out Joe Rowley's opener, before skipper Zander Diamond headed home a late equaliser after Andy Kellett had restored the Spireites' lead.
And MacDonald, who was awarded the sponsors' Man-of-the-Match for his performance this afternoon, admitted his frustration that Stags couldn't build on an impressive first half display.
"I think [it's frustrating] when you go from the first half, playing nice in spells and really opening them up at times to a second half where you don't really feel that we got going," the industrious midfielder said.
"We gave the ball away very cheaply and it's frustrating but the positive is that we've come away from a local derby not playing great and took a point.
"The first half was good; we were passing it and we really cut them open at times. I sound like a broken record but the fans were magnificent. They were there in their numbers, you could see how full the stadium was.
"It was a great game to play in but it's just bitterly disappointing that we didn't come away with the three points.
"With it being a derby game, you always want to come away with three points, not just for ourselves but for the fans because the support they've showed us since the start of the season has been immense."
Stags dominated the first half at One Call Stadium and, in MacDonald's opinion, should've gone into the interval with a lead.
"I think that's why we're so frustrated because we were good in the first half in large spells. In the second half, it just didn't seem to come off for us.
"I thought that we could've gone in [to half-time] up in the first half. With a lot of good play and a few shots that just went by, on another day we go in ahead at half-time but probably from our dominance in the first half to our lack of dominance in the second half, a point's right."
The hard-working midfielder was denied a sixth-minute penalty when he went down under a challenge from Chesterfield's Robbie Weir, and the former Oxford United winger is in no doubt that Stags should have been awarded a spot kick.
"I've took it with my back foot and the boy Robbie Weir - I've known him for quite some time - he's took my standing leg and then got the ball.
"For me, it was a penalty at a penalty and having watched it back, I don't change my opinion on that."
Supporters will be able to login to iFollow Stags to view Alex MacDonald's full post-match interview later tonight.
MacDonald frustrated by derby day draw
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 25 November 2017
Man of the match Alex MacDonald said it had been frustrating not to be able to give Stags fans a victory in today’s 2-2 home derby draw with arch local rivals Chesterfield. The Stags twice had to come from behind with MacDonald’s inch-perfect cross setting up Zander Diamond with the 88th minute leveller. A game of two halves saw Stags in great form in the first half but fall away to let bottom club Chesterfield dictate after the break and make it seven games without defeat at the One Call Stadium going back to 1994. “We played well in spells in the first half and really opened them up at times. But second half we didn’t really get going and gave the ball away very cheaply,” said MacDonald. “It was frustrating, but the positive is we’ve come away from a local derby and, not playing great, taken a point. “It was a brilliant game to play in and the fans were magnificent. It was just bitterly disappointing not to come away with the three points. “Second half it just didn’t seem to come off for us. “If we knew why or what was going wrong we could have changed it. As players we have to look at ourselves to see why.” On the second equaliser, he said: “I think Omari sent it back to me and I just wanted to put it an area. I knew Zander had gone up the pitch and he can get on the end of some of them. “I put the ball into an area and, lucky for us, big Zander has popped up with a very important goal for us again. “We should have gone in ahead at half-time. But from our dominance in the first half to a lack of dominance second half a point is right.” He added: “With it being a derby game you always want tom come away with three points, not just for the fans but for the supporters. “The support they’ve shown us since the start of the season has been immense and we just wanted to pay them back. Unfortunately today it just wasn’t our day so well take a point and move on.” MacDonald felt he should have had a penalty in the first half. “I took it with my back foot and Robbie Weir, who I’ve know for quite some time, took my standing leg and then got the ball,” he said. “For me it was a penalty at the time and, having watched it back, I’ve not changed my opinion on that. Stags are still 10 games unbeaten while fast-improving Chesterfield are now four games unbeaten.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/macdonald-frustrated-by-derby-day-draw-1-8877450
Lester: "I thought we were completely dominant."
Chesterfield manager Jack Lester refused to get too down hearted after the Spireites’ conceded a late goal at the One Call Stadium to draw 2-2 with local rivals Mansfield Town.
Lester’s side were excellent on the day, in particular in the second half and but for Stags’ captain Zander Diamond’s header in the 88th minute, would have held on to record three consecutive Sky Bet League Two victories.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Lester said: “I’ve got to be pleased with the performance, coming here to your rivals and putting a show on - I thought we were completely dominant.
“We were the only team who could get the ball down and play and I thought they were brilliant. I thought everybody in the stadium could see who they’d rather be watching every week.
“The football was superb, the energy was great and I thought we were ok in the first half and the goal we scored was absolutely marvellous, I thought both were, but for the first the passing and the movement was clever and intricate, they couldn’t live with it and it was great for Joe Rowley to get his goal.
“And for the second half we kept it off them for the majority of the game, they got a little bit of luck with a header at the end and we’re disappointed about that, but in terms of the process and the quality of football it was top drawer.”
If Lester was pleased with Rowley’s opener in the 14th minute then he declared himself just as pleased with Andy Kellett’s 58th minute goal, which capped off a superb counter attack from a Mansfield free-kick and cancelled out Hayden White’s equaliser.
He said: “We kept the ball really well and we moved through the thirds and there was a good understanding and a good exchange because Kells (Kellett) went and made the centre forward position and that was bright and intelligent.
“The cross was brilliant - strikers always seem to put the best crosses in because they know what they want and it was a great header from Kellett, it was a lovely goal.
“After that we controlled the game, but if you’re nit-picking, could we have got a third? We opened them up a few times and didn’t quite pick out the man in the middle, but it was good.”
Lester stuck with the same team that beat Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday, saying that it was an easy decision after they performed so well.
The match in Nottinghamshire marked the end of a busy week, with Town taking seven points from the last nine available and extended their good run to one defeat in their last seven matches. The three-game week has seen some excellent performances and Lester reflected on what he’s learned most during that time.
“I think you’re learning all the time about the squad, but their attitude has pleased me the most,” he said.
“Their willingness to work and the lads who’re not quite in the squad it’s key for them and they know if they give everything in training that they can play on the Saturday.
“There’s no guarantee from week to week but their attitude to want to get better, work and be bright is excellent and they’re a pleasure to work with.”
There were 1,646 Town supporters in attendance at Mansfield and Lester heaped further praise on them for providing the team with fantastic backing throughout the 90 minutes.
“I think we spoke at half time about rising to the occasion, not boiling over but giving the fans something to go home happy about,” he explained.
“They’ll be a little bit hurt from the goal that was scored at the end but in terms of the play and the passing, movement, intelligence and desire to break up bits and I thought they’ll go home happy.
“I think they’ll be pleased with the performance, coming away to this stadium and where they are in the league I think they expected to turn up and win and they got a bit of a lesson.”
The Spireites face a break from league action in their next match, when they take on Manchester City U21s at home in the Checkatrade Trophy on Wednesday night (7pm).
A win for the Spireites either in 90 minutes or via a penalty shoot-out will be enough to secure a place in the second round and Lester emphasised the importance of keeping momentum going.
He added: “There are a lot of players who deserve a chance to play, but we’ll decide after two days training to see who looks the most up for the game.
“We want to keep our run going and I’ve been there as a player and it was an amazing experience and it’s something that when I look back at my career it was one of the highlights.
“So I know how important it is for a nice cup run and we’ll be approaching the game to win it like every game.”
Lester enjoyed touchline quarrel with Evans
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 25 November 2017
Jack Lester enjoyed his heated touchline derby battle with the experienced Steve Evans as Mansfield Town and Chesterfield drew 2-2 in today’s big showdown. Mansfield twice had to fight from behind against the League Two bottom club, snatching the second two minutes from time. Lester and Evans had several clashes during the game and Lester smiled: “I did (enjoy the needle), it’s why you’re in it, for these type of games. “Looking forward we want to be in these types of games which are edgy because you’re pushing for promotion, pushing for titles. “It was great, their fans were as they would be, as our fans will be when they come back to our place, putting a lot of pressure on those in and around the technical areas. “There was a lot of stick flying in, it’s great isn’t it because they’ve got to come to our place.” He added: “We spoke about them diving, they were throwing themselves to the floor and putting pressure on the referee but we had prepared for that. “We watched a few videos and saw how often they throw themselves to the floor so we were ready for it.” On the words exchanged with Evans on the touchline, he smiled: “I just said you’re a nice man and he said ‘you’re great.’” On the game, he added: “Coming here and looking after the badge, it’s a big rivalry, I think we looked after it really well today. “I think we were the better team. “We were just sharper to the seconds and won the first contact a little more. “We knew the style of play, they kick it as high and far as they can and then try and get the seconds. “We didn’t deal with that as well first half, but the second half we were onto the bits and then we played, passed it, we were bright. “I think they expected us to be a little bit of a touch but we’re not. “The fitness levels, the intensity levels and the quality is rising all the time. “I think the performance was excellent, the way we moved the ball in the second half was brilliant and we opened them up time and time again. They couldn’t get near us, could they? “The goal is the disappointing thing but knowing the importance of the game, coming into the lion’s den, away from home, where they are in the league and expecting to turn up and beat us - I think there was maybe a bit of complacency from them, underestimating the talent we’ve got. “In the second half we completely outplayed them. “First half we matched them without being the better team but the goal was scored was right out of the top drawer, there was movement and intricacy, people breaking lines, it was fantastic.”
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/lester-enjoyed-touchline-quarrel-with-evans-1-8877412
Hird: "It has been a fantastic week."
Sam Hird has expressed his delight at the Spireites going unbeaten this week, as he praised the team's performance in their 2-2 draw with local rivals Mansfield Town.
Joe Rowley and Andy Kellett put Chesterfield in front either side of a Hayden White goal, but Stags captain Zander Diamond scored an equaliser with two minutes left at the One Call Stadium on Saturday as the points were shared.
But despite conceding that late goal, Hird insisted it's still been a great seven days for the club. He said: "Obviously we deserved to win this game. We were disappointed coming off the pitch with a draw but I think on reflection it has been a fantastic week and we need to keep our heads held high."
The Spireites dominated second half proceedings but couldn't quite find a third goal which would have wrapped up the game. "I thought second half we played really well - first half I thought it was touch and go.
"Both sides had a go - it was a feisty atmosphere - that's what it's like in the derby. We dealt with everything they've thrown at us, we're just disappointed with that last goal but all in all it's been a good week," Hird reflected.
Manager Jack Lester is no stranger to the rivalry between the two clubs and it was his words at half time that helped Chesterfield get back into things after a nervy end to the first half. Hird stated: "At half time he actually came in and said you know what, we've probably been a bit too calm - raise the tempo, raise the intensity on what we're doing and we'll go on and win the game.
"That's what we did, we thought we'd gone on and won the game and initially it was disappointing to come in with a draw, but on reflection looking at it overall in the bigger picture things are on the up."
The goals the Spireites scored were hugely impressive, with Rowley opening the scoring after nice passing inside the area, and Kellett finding the net following a swift counter attack.
It was Hird who started the break for the second goal, and he commented: "It's funny because in the last game I actually tried to do the same and the lads were all like 'what are you doing, get back' - but I've tried to intercept it and do a bit of link up play down the wing. I've seen Robbie in the middle, I've slid him in and then it's a good goal from there."
Despite conceding two goals in return, Hird was still pleased with the defensive display of the team at Mansfield. "As a team we're defending well. Your back four is helped by those in front of you and since the manager's come in he's raised the intensity in training and on the match pitch.
"Players know what's expected, they know what they can't get away with and when we're pressing like we are doing at the minute and working hard as a front two - a front three and the midfield pushes up behind them it makes our job a lot easier," Hird explained.
The Chesterfield fans were in fine voice on Saturday afternoon, as 1646 supporters made the short journey for the game. Hird was keen to thank them. "They were great today and I think our fans made more noise than theirs did personally - we could hear our fans all the way through. They've been great all season, they've stuck with us and since the new gaffer came in they've got right behind us," he expressed.
The Spireites don't have a game next weekend, but they will be keen to carry on their momentum in the Checkatrade Trophy this Wednesday when they take on Manchester City U21s. "It'll be a chance for the manager to probably give other players a chance but he'll want to win at the same time.
"We want to carry on this mentality of not getting beat - of winning games - and it'll be a bit different playing against a top team like Manchester City," Hird asserted.