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16th March 2018 11:16

Boss seeks final third creativity
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 10 March 2018

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft wants his side to begin creating more goalscoring opportunities after seeing them draw 1-1 at home to Colchester United this afternoon.

An excellent finish from striker Kane Hemmings put Stags into a first half lead, but they were pegged back in the second period when U’s midfielder Brandon Comley dispatched a drilled effort into the bottom corner.

And after overseeing his second 1-1 draw in as many games following the stalemate against Lincoln City in mid-week, manager Flitcroft believes his side need to create more chances in order to ‘put teams to bed’.

“There weren’t many clear-cut chances, we didn’t create many chances. The one at the end, when Mells (Jacob Mellis) has the header, we hit the crossbar and Mells has the header, that’s probably the chance you’re just waiting for,” the Stags’ chief said.

“I felt really comfortable [in the] first half. We never had a problem to deal with. The second half, we didn’t start with the intensity that I wanted to.


“We spoke about it at half-time to really take the game now and get that second goal. That’s what we’ve got to do. Looking over the season so far, that’s what this team’s got to do. Get that second and then you put teams to bed.

“That’s what we’ve got to work really hard to do; be really brave in what we do. Hayden White only really attacked a couple of times [in the] second half and when he does, we look more of a threatening team.

“We’ve got to commit more numbers forward, we’ve got to get CJ [Hamilton] higher up [the pitch] and that’s something that we’re working on. We’ll have a full week at it next week and I guarantee that will be an improved performance, because we’ve got to create more opportunities.”

Just moments before former QPR man Brandon Comley scored the equaliser at One Call Stadium, winger CJ Hamilton was adjudged to have fouled U’s right-back Ryan Jackson when the wideman was through on goal.

The gaffer believes that Hamilton was incorrectly penalised for the offence and was also disappointed with how his side defended for the U’s goal.

“My first thought was that he had handled it. He missed that and then that’s just strength. CJ got his body position in a good position, came across him and he was through.

“It was disappointing because in the first half, that was one of the best refereeing performances I’ve seen.

“I’m disappointed with their goal. We sat in again, we didn’t get out, no pressure on the ball and the kid comes through and puts it in. We’ll just keep working on that training ground to improve what we’re doing.”

The boss believes his side ‘earned’ a point in Tuesday’s fiercely-contested match against Lincoln City, but summarised that Stags should have secured a victory in today’s clash with the U’s.

“It’s another point but it is two points dropped. I did feel [on] Tuesday night that Lincoln were good for that result and we probably earned a point.

“But I do feel today if we’d have stepped it up and applied ourselves better and been braver on the ball and in possession, it should have been three points today.

“That’s something that we’ve got to make sure we express onto this group of players.”

Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager’s full post-match interview.


Flitcroft feels United draw was two points dropped
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 10 March 2018

David Flitcroft was left waiting for his first win as Stags manager after a second successive 1-1 home draw in five days. But, unlike Tuesday, Flitcroft felt today's 1-1 stalemate with Colchester was two points dropped and put it down to a lack of intensity and too few chances being created.

“There weren't many clear cut chances and we didn't create enough chances,” he said. “The one at the end when Mal Benning hit the crossbar, that was probably the one we were just waiting for.

“I felt really comfortable first half. We never had a problem to deal with. But second half we didn't start with the intensity I wanted.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/flitcroft-feels-united-draw-was-two-points-dropped-1-9057315

“We spoke at half time about really taking the game and getting that second goal. That's what we've got to do. “If we get the second we put teams to bed. We have to be more brave in what we do. “We have to commit more numbers forward and get CJ Hamilton high up. “That's something we are working on and we'll have a full week of it next week. I will guarantee that will give us an improved performance. “We've got to create more opportunities.” He added: “It is another point but that was two points dropped today “On Tuesday I did think that Lincoln earned that point. But I think if we had stepped it up today and applied ourselves better as well as being braver, I think it should have been three points.” Stags went ahead through Kane Hemmings in the first half only to see Brandon Comley level after the break. “We were disappointed with their goal and we will just keep working on that training ground to improve what we're doing,” said Flitcroft. “We sat in again. We didn't get out and put pressure on the ball. “For our goal, Kane gambled on it. He anticipated the ball really well and added the technical detail to feel it in. It was a good finish.” Colchester's equaliser came soon after CJ Hamilton looked harshly penalised for a foul by referee Ross Joyce as he broke clear down the middle. Flitcroft said: “I thought there was first a handball and he missed that one. Then CJ showed strength to get his body position across him and he was through. It was disappointing. “First half that was one of the best refereeing performances I've seen. We didn't notice him. Second half it just became a pantomime show. He changed his refereeing style. Every challenge was a free kick or a booking. I think he lost his composure. It's not why we didn't win the game or a turning point, though. It's just an opinion of mine. “We will look at what we can control on Monday and start working on creating more chances. “I want to go and finish teams off. “I want to know why we didn't have that intensity and gave them too much time. “It's no good sitting deep. You have to have pressure on the ball at every opportunity. I am desperate for that first home win.” Stags also lost skipper Zander Diamond with what looked to be a hamstring injury and Flitcroft said: “He overstretched on what was a long tackle. We will see where the damage is at. He's with the medical staff now.”


Goalscorer frustrated with U's draw
mansfieldtown.net, Saturday 10 March 2018

After scoring the opening goal against Colchester United this afternoon, lively frontman Kane Hemmings was disappointed not to secure a victory which would have moved Stags up to fourth in Sky Bet League Two.

The Stags edged the first half and took the lead in the 22nd minute when Hemmings got on the end of a ball by ‘keeper Conrad Logan and looped an effort over Colchester shotstopper Sam Walker.

Colchester’s Brandon Comley then rescued a point for the visitors in the second half when he drilled an effort into the bottom corner.

And speaking post-match, Hemmings reiterated that Stags must convert leads into wins if they are to achieve their aim of automatic promotion out of Sky Bet League Two.

“It’s disappointing, we had a massive opportunity,” said the on-loan Oxford United man.


“We’ve lost ground on people again. We want to get in those automatic spots. You can’t keep drawing games, we need to start winning.

“I think we pressed them well in the first half but we didn’t really create many opportunities then in the second half, they were probably the more dominant team.

“It’s nice to get a goal but it’s irrelevant after the game. We should be winning games like that and putting teams away.

“It’s disappointing again, three out of the last three home games it’s been one each. They’re great opportunities at home, we’ve not been beaten again but we need to start winning.”

Hemmings’ goal takes his tally to ten for the season and the former Rangers forward is in good form of late, scoring two in his last three Stags appearances, a run which he hopes will continue heading into the final 10 games of the campaign.

“I want to score as many goals as possible. Hopefully there’ll be more to come.

“I just gambled. I was thinking Rosey’s (Danny Rose) going to get up there and win the flick on, he’s not but it’s still come through and I don’t think the ‘keeper’s ever really getting there.

“I just got myself in there and got the goal.”

Next up for Mansfield is a crucial local derby away at fellow-promotion chasers Notts County and Hemmings says the size of the game ‘speaks for itself’.

“We’ll go there and do our best and hopefully we get the three points.

“It’s a massive game. It speaks for it self and I’m sure we’ll have a good away following.

“We’ve already beat them once [in the league] this season so we’ll take positives from that.”

Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view Kane Hemmings’ full post-match interview.


Goalscorer Hemmings laments missed opportunity to gain crucial points
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 10 March 2018

Mansfield Town striker Kane Hemmings bagged his 10th goal of the season but described today's 1-1 home draw with Colchester United as a missed opportunity. Stags are three points off the top three with 10 games to go after a third successive 1-1 home draw and Hemmings said: “It was a massive opportunity and we've lost ground on people again.

“We want one of those automatic promotion spots and you can't keep drawing games. We need to start winning. “It's nice to get a goal, but it's irrelevant after the game.

“We should be winning games like that and putting teams away. That's three successive home games that have finished 1-1.

Read more at: https://www.hucknalldispatch.co.uk/sport/football/goalscorer-hemmings-laments-missed-opportunity-to-gain-crucial-points-1-9057356

“We've not been beaten again but we need to be winning and we probably didn't do enough to win today. “I think we pressed them well in the first half but didn't create many opportunities and then second half they were probably the more dominant team.” On his first half goal that put Stags in charge, he said:“I just gambled, thinking Rosey (Danny Rose) is going to win the flick-on. “He didn't but it still came through and I don't the keeper was ever getting there really. “I just got myself in there and got the goal. “I want to score as many as I can. Hopefully there will be more to come.” Stags now prepare to head to promotion rivals and neighbours Notts County on Saturday and Hemmings said: “Saturday is a massive game. It speaks for itself. “I am sure we will have a massive away following and we've already beaten them once this season which will take positives from. “We'll go there and do out best and hopefully get the points.”


Colchester United boss John McGreal feels his side made a statement after Mansfield Town draw
by Jonathan Waldron, gazette-news.co.uk

Colchester United head coach John McGreal felt his side made a positive statement after holding fifth-placed Mansfield Town to a 1-1 draw at Field Mill.

Brandon Comley’s first-ever professional goal early in the second half cancelled out Kane Hemmings’ first-half goal to end a run of two straight defeats and lift the U’s to within six points of the League Two play-off places.

McGreal said: “The boys have shown a bit of confidence after a few doubters questioning whether or not they’re good enough to be in the play-offs.

“I think we made a statement against a top-three team who are going to be there and we’ve come away with a deserved point.

“I thought it was a great game for the neutral and to be involved in and a great spectacle for division two, which was excellent.


“I’m sure they were thinking they were going to get the win but I’m really proud of my boys.

“Some of the football we played was terrific.

“We made our own mistakes in the first half and put ourselves on the backfoot but in the second half, we kept the ball moving in good areas and it was a great goal by (Brandon) Comley.

“Before they scored, we had two glorious opportunities where we’ve missed the target.

“Dicko (Brennan Dickenson) went through and in a way, this time last year that would have gone in the bottom corner and then Drey (Wright) who was clean through but hits a shot five to ten yards past the post.

“Then straight from that moment, we conceded a poor goal.

“But I thought that we were a threat in the first half and we tweaked the system and made the changes to do that.

“We’re not here to beat around the bush - we’re here to make progress.

“I felt it was the right time to make changes and it proved it, as I thought some of the performances were excellent.”


‘I’m really proud of the boys’ - John McGreal after U’s draw at Mansfield
greenun24.co.uk, 10 March 2018, by Carl Marston

Brandon Comley celebrated the first goal of his career to rescue a point for the U’s, at Field Mill.

Kane Hemmings had put the Stags 1-0 up in the 22nd minute, but Comley equalised early in the second period.

Normally, this would be considered a good point on the road, against tough opposition, although the U’s really needed all three points to get their play-off bid back on track.

However, McGreal was in good spirits after the match.

“I’m really proud of our boys,” enthused McGreal.


“Some of our football was terrific, although sometimes we made mistakes, which is to be expected. We are going to make them at times, but you can’t take anything away from the boys.

“It was a good spectacle for League Two, and it was a good game for the neutral.

“Their goal was a soft one to concede, especially as we had two glorious chances before that goal, such as when Drey Wright was through before hacking wide.

“I thought we made a statement today, against a top team, and have come away with a good point.

“We are not here to beat about the bush. We want to win games, and I made several changes for this game, the players coming in doing really well.

“Brandon Comley’s goal was terrific.

“He’s a tidy player, has a lot of quality, and he did well to skip past a player and put it in the far corner,” added McGreal.


U's boss happy with a point at Mansfield
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 10 March 2018

Colchester United boss John McGreal thought his side deserved their point in a 1-1 draw at Mansfield that he felt was a fine advert for League Two. After seeing Brandon Comley's second half goal cancel out Kane Hemmings' first half opener, McGreal said: “I thought that was a great game for the neutral spectator. I am really proud of every one of our boys. “We were making our own mistakes first half. Some of our football was terrific at times and other times wed made mistakes by over-passing and put ourselves on the back foot. “Second half we kept the ball moving in good areas and it was a great goal by 'Coms' - a fantastic goal. “It was a good game to be involved in - a good spectacle for Division Two with both teams wanting to win a game of football, which was excellent. “Before they scored we had two glorious shooting opportunities but missed the target. Then it was a poor goal to concede.” He added: “We'd had a bit of pressure which you will get as Mansfield want to get into the top three. “We were away from home against a good side and we've tried to win - you can't say we didn't. The boys could do no more. “So we should be a bit upbeat as the fans were. They applauded them as they know they put in a shift today.” United stay on the edges of the play-off chasing pack after this first point in three games and McGreal said: “This division is tough. “Mansfield have had two defeats in about 25 games so it's a tough place to come. I thought we were the better team in how we tried to do things and created the better chances. “A few doubters have questioned are we good enough to be in and around the play-offs. “I think we've made a statement today against a side wanting to be in the top three. We've come away with a deserved point. “We were not here to beat around the bush. We wanted to make things happen.”

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/u-s-boss-happy-with-a-point-at-mansfield-1-9057323


‘It was a surreal moment’ - Colchester United goalscorer Brandon Comley
by Carl Marston

Brandon Comley’s first-ever senior goal, which he finally achieved with Saturday’s second-half equaliser at Mansfield Town, is already a blur to him.

The former QPR midfielder netted with the panache of a seasoned professional, running into the box to fire past Stags keeper Conrad Logan and into the far corner of the net in a 1-1 draw.

“It’s my first goal, and it’s quite a vital goal to get the equaliser and to get a point for us,” enthused Comley.

“I don’t know what I really felt, when I got into the penalty area. I guess I was calm and that’s why I maybe scored in this situation.

“Other times I might rush it with my shots, but this time I took a deep breath, kept my head down and struck it well.

“It was a good one, for my first, although it took a long while to come. In my head, I just thought about beating my man and getting a strike on goal and seeing if someone got a touch on it. I was in shock, I suppose, because I didn’t know how to celebrate.

“I thought I was doing the ‘Sonic Celebration’ or something, but now I’ll try and get a few more goals.

“It was a surreal moment, I can’t even really remember it,” confessed Comley.

A summer arrival from QPR, initially on loan, Comley signed a permanent deal in January. Saturday was 30th appearance for Colchester, which yielded his first goal, and his 81st career game. Now he wants to start scoring goals on a regular basis.

“I don’t know about looking like a seasoned goalscorer, with my goal today, but fingers crossed I can add a few more this season,” said Comley.

“It would be nice to become known as a regular goalscorer - I’ve always known that scoring goals is something I want to add to my game, and something I want to be known for, once I get into the flow.

“Hopefully I can improve on this and help the team out by adding a few more goals.”

Comley gave a special mention to his fellow midfielder Tom Lapslie, who had a hand in his goal.

“Lapslie’s a good player. People think he’s a defensive-minded player, which he is, but he has a good turn of pace and he can get past a man,” continued Comley.

“Speaking from my own experiences, people often just anchor me down as a defensive player that sits and protects. But I know myself that I can do more, play good passes, as well beat a man, which I showed with my goal today.”


Colchester United midfielder Brandon Comley happy to score first-ever career goal
by Jonathan Waldron

Brandon Comley admits scoring his first-ever career goal to earn Colchester United a point at Mansfield Town was a ‘surreal’ moment.

The 22-year-old midfielder found the net for the first time in 81 professional appearances, in the U’s 1-1 draw at Field Mill.

Comley said: “I didn’t know what to do to celebrate!

“Hopefully, it’s the first of many for me and I’ll try and get a few more and help the team out.

“It was a surreal moment and took a long while to come but I’m definitely happy with it.

“In my head, I just thought ‘beat the man and get a strike on goal’ and if someone gets a touch, they get a touch.”

Colchester lie six points off the League Two play-off places following their draw at fifth-placed Mansfield.

They have ten games remaining to close in on a top-seven finish and Comley firmly believes it is possible.

“We’ve proved that we can beat the teams that are up there so I think it’s just a case of showing that against teams that we sometimes struggle against,” said Comley, who joined Colchester on a permanent basis from QPR, in January.

“I know we can make it - if we knuckle down with every man accountable for himself, it’s definitely something that we can achieve.

“We proved earlier in the season when we went on that run that we can do it and if we can cut out the little mistakes, we’ve definitely got a chance of getting in.

“We really wanted the three points and it’s the same with every game.

“But coming from a goal down away from home and perhaps not having our best performance in the first half, it’s something we’ll definitely take against a team pushing to get into the top three - hopefully we can build on it.

“The gaffer got into us and told us that we needed to buck our ideas up.

“I’m happy he did that because we started the second half fast and created chances.

“That turned it into a proper game of football and it was an end-to-end game and gave them a run for their money.

“It was a proper game of football.

“Some parts of the pitch were a little bit mucky and sometimes, it was going a bit long.

“But I feel that especially in the second half, we showed that we can play under pressure.”

Colchester’s under-23s are in Professional Development League Two action this lunchtime.

They host Bristol City under-23s at Florence Park, kick-off 1pm.