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EVANS, POTTER AND GARETH AINSWORTH REACTION
4th January 2018 0:02


Gaffer lauds Stags’ 'heart and desire' in Wycombe comeback
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 30 December 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans dubbed his side's excellent 2-1 win against Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon as 'heroic' after they came back from 1-0 down to finish 2017 in style.

Wanderers, who hadn't lost in 10 matches at Adams Park, started brightly and took the lead after seven minutes when striker Adebayo Akinfenwa headed home Dominic Gape's cross.

Stags then grew into the game before displaying a superb second half display in which they completely dominated the match, and goals from winger Alfie Potter and striker Lee Angol ensured they moved level on points with the final play-off place.

And the gaffer, who was forced into making changes to his side due to an illness in the camp, highlighted the heart and desire of his players during the second half.

"Some of them heroically went out there today and performed like that so we'll have a rallying call tomorrow," the Stags' chief said.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2017/december/evans-post-wycombe/

"I probably 'lost it' a little bit at half-time and this group of players have not seen that very often, and they don't deserve to see it because they work incredibly hard.

"I think we were hiding a little bit behind maybe not feeling so good, maybe because they were on top of us, and we were feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit.

"I probably demonstrated quite loudly and quite passionately what you have to do to win football matches, so I would like to think that contributed.

"You know what sparks it [the turnaround]? The heart of the players, the desire of the players.

"We've got some good players; we've got leaders, we've got men, we've got some good technical players, we've got a real mix but the players sparked it because they showed a desire to win in the second half and that was always tough because they're playing against good players."

Chairboys' frontman Bayo Akinfenwa opened the scoring early on but was marshalled superbly in the second half by centre-half pairing Krystian Pearce and Rhys Bennett, who the gaffer says showed real bravery against a physical frontman.

"Bayo didn't have a good game in the second half because he got competed against. He's a wonderful player, every manager would love to have him and he was still the spark at the end as to whether they could get an equaliser or not, but I think my centre-backs were big and strong and were brave [in the] second half.

"You going to have to be brave; Bayo's size and his sheer power and his strength [causes problems]. I've got four or five lads in there in with cut noses, cut lips, cut eyes, cuts round the neck, all because Bayo's so strong. Not because he's dirty, he's just so strong and that's how he plays."

Skipper Zander Diamond and frontman Danny Rose were forced off in the first half but the gaffer revealed that their injuries aren't expected to be serious.

"Zander got the smash in the face from the free-kick, it's right in his 'coupon' and if it's broke his nose it'll make him better looking! The big fella was just not feeling right afterwards, as you wouldn't be after a free-kick that was struck with some real venom.

"Danny Rose got a knee right in the side of his pelvis, so it's nothing major for him either. We'll see how they are tomorrow."

Supporters will be able to view the gaffer's post-match interview on iFollow Stags later this evening.

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‘They couldn’t cope with us’ - Evans
chad.co.uk, Saturday 30 December 2017

Steve Evans believes his Mansfield Town side were too much for Wycombe Wanderers in the second half which prompted a 2-1 win. Second half goals from Alfie Potter and Lee Angol turned the game on its head and gave Stags all three points at Adams Park.

Some choice words from the Mansfield Town manager at the break sparked a response from his play-off chasing players.

“Second half was very strong,” said Evans. “I wasn’t so happy at half time. I think we started as a couple of the players were feeling.

“They were all feeling sorry for each other and I had to be quite vocal at half time with them and ask them ‘do they want to stand up and fight?’

“Because at the end of the day in May someone will get a fantastic prize - and that’s League One football. So I had to be really strong with them, none more so than my centre-backs.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/they-couldn-t-cope-with-us-evans-1-8933528

“I get into the hearts and minds of the players and we had some big performances in the second half. We could have scored two or three more, our attacking play was scintillating. “They couldn’t cope with us. “There’s not many teams that come to Adams Park and does that to Gareth’s (Ainsworth, Wycombe boss) side because they’re full of strength and full of quality. “It’s only three points for us at the end of the day, it’s three bags of coal, we’ll get back to training on Monday and see where it takes us.” Akinfenwa put the hosts ahead on seven minutes and troubled the Stags defence, which lined up with Zander Diamond, Krystian Pearce and Rhys Bennett in a 3-5-2 formation. “Bayo Akinfenwa is difficult to play against. He’s top class for our level and possibly the level above. They play a certain way and he’s so strong. “I’ve never said to them that they’ve been bullied before and I really questioned them. I said to them ‘just go out in the second half and have a fight’. “A fair fight. Stand up like men. They’re both men. Whether they’re feeling down, or got a bit of the flu, if that’s the case I said to them to come off. “But they were smashing the door down to get out there in the second half,” said Evans, who saw Diamond and Danny Rose injured and replaced by Mal Benning and Angol on 18 minutes. “Whatever we get out there on Monday, if they show the same amount of fight, spirit, desire and endeavour that we had in the second half to win a match then I’ll always stand in front of them. “I’ll always stand in front of them as a group. They’re a terrific group. Every day I walk in and every one of them has got a part to play.” When asked what the key factor behind the second half turnaround was for his team, Evans replied: “bravery in challenges, being brave on the ball”. And added: “We said to them pass it, pass the ball out wide, get Porter in the game, Mellis on the ball - if you’re the best passer in the league, show it - and he’s shown it in spells second half. “I don’t like singling out one player but I thought Lee Angol, from the minute he got on the pitch, was top, top class and demonstrated how good this boy can be. “He can be anything he wants to be and his finish, wow, let supporters watch it on television tonight. If it’s at the highest level, if it’s Ronaldo, then we’re watching it forever.” Stags return to action on New Year’s Day at home to Carlisle United (kick off 3pm).

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Goalscorer eyes fruitful 2018 after ending year on high
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 30 December 2017

Stags' midfielder Alfie Potter believes this afternoon’s tremendous 2-1 victory away at Wycombe Wanderers is 'a good starting point' for a successful promotion bid in 2018 as the Stags kept up the pressure at the top of the Sky Bet League Two.

Mansfield fell behind to Adebayo Akinfenwa’s seventh minute goal and they were second best for much of the opening period.

Their task was made more difficult when striker Danny Rose and captain Zander Diamond were forced off with injury but they put in a brilliant second half display to secure the win.

Potter himself drew Mansfield level with a cool finish shortly after the restart and he was involved in the winner, slipping Mal Benning clear before the left back found Lee Angol seven yards out waiting to convert.

The win saw Mansfield end 2017 on a high and Potter is in no doubt what he wants the New Year to bring: “Promotion. That’s it,” said the former Northampton Town man.

“I just want promotion for the boys and me personally, I want to play as many games as I can.

“[We need] more performances like today [in] the second half and cutting out the performances like we produced in the first half.

https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2017/december/potter-on-wycombe-win/

“We’re right in amongst it and a couple more wins and we’re going to be right up there. I think we need to start believing as a group that we can do it. Today’s a good starting point.”

The match was a proverbial ‘game of two halves’ with Mansfield completely penning their hosts back in the second half and speaking post-match Potter believes that 45 minutes is the standard required now for future Stags performances going into 2018.

“Not many teams come here and do that to Wycombe.

“The gaffer and Rayns [Steve Evans and assistant Paul Raynor] have had a few words at half time and us, as a team, we knew the first half wasn’t good enough and we spoke amongst ourselves in there and we knew we had to give it a right go.

“It’s a game that we couldn’t drop points [in] today. Getting three points today was massive for us.

“We’ve shown what we are capable of, we let ourselves down sometimes but it’s time to kick on now and put in more performances like that and start climbing the table.

“Every day in training, some of the quality on show is unbelievable so we knew we had it in us. Once we got on top, I thought we were unbelievable second half. Did I expect to do that for such long periods as a team? I’d probably say ‘Yeah’, I knew we were capable of it.”

On a personal level, Potter was thrilled to be back in the starting eleven and get amongst the goals as he nears his one year anniversary at the One Call Stadium.

“I’m delighted to be playing to start with, I’ve had to be patient.

“I’ve been here coming up to a year now and I’ve not played anywhere near as many games as I’d have liked to.

“I’m working hard, I’ve been waiting for my chance and I’ve taken it today. It’s no good just doing it one week, I’ve got to go and do it more often than not now.

“The win was the main thing but to get on the score sheet - it’s made my Christmas period to be fair.”

To view Alfie Potter's post match interview in full, log in to iFollow Stags later tthis evening.

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twitter
John Radford @JRadfordMTFC
What a brilliant fight back staged by our boys... showing real character amid an early set back.
In adversity, we showed real strength, will and resolve - true qualities of our club as a whole.
That's some way to end 2017.
Now to make 2018 even greater...
Happy New Year!

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Gareth Ainsworth spoke to Phil Catchpole of BBC Three Counties after the game:
https://philcatchpole.com/2017/12/30/wycombe-wanderers-1-2-mansfield-town/

"We've got to take more chances in the first half. They had 3 or 4 chances in the second half and stuck two in. I thought we had 8 or 9. Only to get 1 is disappointing.
Rubbish defending for their second goal.
I don't think the referee has done us many favours today. There's a definite penalty incident at the end of the game there. His arms are raised.
I think the referee may have missed an incident where the winning goalscorer is still on the pitch.
Lee Angol is one of our ex-players who's come back to haunt us and good luck to him.
A game of 2 halves. The wind played a big factor.
To lose to the favourites before the league started is no disgrace.
The way they celebrated at the end of the game is a compliment to Wycombe Wanderers."

Transcribed by Martin

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