FLITCROFT, ATKINSON, DINO MAAMRIA REACTION
Stags' boss says his side had enough chances to beat Stevenage
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 10 April 2018
Manager David Flitcroft has said his side created enough chances to come out with a win in Stags’ 1-1 draw with Stevenage at Lamex Stadium on Tuesday night.
Danny Newton opened the scoring in the 15th minute of the game, before Stags’ midfielder Will Atkinson met Johnny Hunt’s cross well to fire home the equaliser in the 51st minute.
Despite coming from behind to draw the game, the Stags' boss believes his side had opportunities to take all three points, and added his view that Stags should have had a penalty when Hayden White was seemingly brought down in the Stevenage box.
“Absolutely [we had enough chances to win the game],” he said. “When we stayed calm we had some good combinations and created some opportunities that we should have done better with.
“Atkinson finished his chance off superbly, he arrived in the box and finished really well.
“We got in some really good positions in the first-half. White’s cross to Hemmings in the first-half was perfect and Hemmo had an opportunity with his header.
“When we got the ball down in the first-half and were calm with it, we created some half-decent opportunities. I was disappointed we didn’t finish them off.
“Hemmings had two or three chances that he worked the space for. His movement caused them problems, he just needed that last little bit of calmness and composure.
“I do believe it was a million per cent a penalty [on White], Whitey’s crossed his line and the defender is playing catch-up. I think we were unfortunate not to get the penalty.”
The Stags’ boss also commented on the ‘honesty’ of his players’ performance, and singled out the display of defender Krystian Pearce, who was reintroduced to the starting XI for the game.
“I thought it was an honest performance from the group over the 90 minutes and that’s what I’ve been demanding,” he added. “There was a desire not to get beat tonight.
“Pearce’s display was absolutely outstanding tonight. You need to be when you face a big striker up front or else he causes you problems.
“There were a lot of strong performances and it was an honest performance from the players, which is all I ask. With that last little bit of end quality we would have undone them tonight.”
Flitcroft also gave an injury update on striker Ricky Miller, who was left out of the squad for the game due to a hamstring issue, adding that his performance against Crewe would have warranted him a start tonight if he were fit.
“He [Miller] came over about 15 minutes into the second-half [against Crewe] and told us about his hamstring. He told us he wanted to play on but he’s pulled it - we’re not sure to what extent.
“He was absolutely gutted, he came on the pitch and made a massive difference [against Crewe]. I was going to start Ricky tonight in a 4-3-3 if he was fit, and he knows that.”
The Stags’ manager also looked ahead to this week’s huge derby game against Chesterfield away from home.
“It’s a game that I’ve seen our supporters queuing for tickets for, we know the magnitude of it. Not winning tonight makes it even bigger,” he said.
“I’ve seen the support for this club at Notts County, and I saw it tonight, and only then can you understand the passion the supporters have in these derby games.
“The players will be under no illusion as to what they have to do on Saturday to rival that support and that passion.
“We have four games left and we know what we have to do. We have these four games left to go and drive for that playoff place.”
Stags manager stays positive as Stags edge to within a point of play-offs
chad.co.uk, Tuesday 10 April 2018
Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft remained positive after a battling point in a 1-1 draw at Stevenage moved Stags to within a point of the play-offs with four games to go.
Stags, without a win in nine games, came from behind through a Will Atkinson equaliser and Flitcroft said: “I thought it was an honest performance from the players over the 90 minutes which is what I have been demanding from this group. There was a desire not to get beaten.
“With that last little bit of end quality we should have undone them tonight.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/stags-manager-stays-positive-as-stags-edge-to-within-a-point-of-play-offs-1-9108904
“We are in a mini league and we’ve got a point towards it. We have four games left and we know what we’ve got to do to drive for that play-off place.” Left back Hayden White took responsibility for Stevenage’s opener. “Whitey has come in and apologised to the group for his man scoring. The apology was accepted - we are in this together,” said Flitcroft. “It’s really important in those key moments we do stay alert and we stay focused. “I said to him the apology is accepted - now the lads have got to try to dig you out. That’s the environment I am trying to create at this football club. “We got in some really good positions in the first half and have to be more pristine in those moments. “Atkinson got into the box second half and finished the chance really well. “I do believe a million per cent we should have had a penalty. “Whitey has crossed his line, the kid is having to catch up as he’s quick. He came across him and made the tackle. If he doesn’t Whitey has one more touch and maybe gets a shot off. We were unfortunate not to get it. “The lads certainly have given everything they could and, at times, I thought every time we passed it well in their half we created a chance. “It was a League Two game so there was hustle and bustle. “But when we were calm in our work we produced some good combinations and made chances. “I thought we did the ugly stuff well and Pearcey (Krystian Pearce) was outstanding - an absolute colossus at the back.” Striker Ricky Miller missed out on his full debut after getting injured on Saturday. “He came over about 15 minutes into the second half on Saturday and told us about his hamstring,” said Flitcroft. We asked if he wanted to play on and he did. He has pulled it. “We’re not sure to what extent in terms of a timeline, but we’re absolutely gutted as he came on the pitch and made a massive difference. If he’d been fit he’d have started tonight - he knows that. “He’s worked hard for that opportunity and now he’s done his hamstring. Hopefully we’ll have him back towards the real tail end. “When Alfie Potter did it we thought he’d be about four weeks and he was two, so we’ll see how it settles now.” Now Stags prepare for the big local derby at relegation-haunted local rivals Chesterfield on Saturday. “I’ve seen our fans queueing for tickets every day when I go into work. I know the magnitude of it,” said Flitcroft. “Not winning tonight makes it even bigger “I have witnessed the power of the support at this club. “They were outstanding again tonight. The players will be under no illusions what they need to do on Saturday.”
It's a point in the right direction - midfielder
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 10 April 2018
Mansfield midfielder Will Atkinson hopes tonight's point earned at Stevenage will re-ignite Stags' play-off aspirations.
His 51st minute leveller ensured Stags' added to their points tally in Hertfordshire with a 1-1 draw ahead of a massive local derby at Chesterfield on Saturday.
Encouraged by Mansfield's comeback, but disappointed not to claim a victory, Atkinson said after the game: "It's a point in the right direction [but] we came here for all three.
"We found ourselves one [goal] down following a well-worked set play from them. We were disappointed to go into the break a goal behind.
"The manager rallied us at half time. We are all fighting for each other, fighting for the cause and desperate to get the club to where it should be.
"We'll bounce into Saturday, a local derby with everything to play for [away at Chesterfield] and give it everything."
The former Southend United player believes Stags deserved more from the contest.
"We deserved to get all three points. We had a couple of penalty shouts, a few close efforts, but it's just about converting those chances.
"We need to get into the mentality of getting ourselves in front because it's hard to fight back."
Previewing Saturday's local derby, which sees Mansfield gunning for points in an attempt to climb into the top seven, Atkinson said: "It's one you want to play in as a footballer - big games that mean things to the fans, the players, the staff and the club.
"There's pressure on both sides but that's what you're in the game for. We'll be giving everything. We have nothing to lose. We will get after them and give it everything we've got."
Asked what qualities will be required in a local derby against bottom club Chesterfield, he said: "It'll take cool heads. Fire in the body, ice in the mind.
"We have to put a performance in for our fans and the pride of the area. They have come all the way to Stevenage tonight and all credit to them.
"You look at the league and you know what it'll mean for both teams."
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Will Atkinson's full interview later tonight.
Atkinson believes Stags are ready to ‘smash’ someone as winless run goes on
chad.co.uk, Tuesday 10 April 2018
Will Atkinson won’t know how vital his equaliser was in tonight’s 1-1 draw at Stevenage until the end of the season. But the midfielder believes Mansfield Town, without a win in nine games, are not far off giving someone a real hammering. And he is hoping the long overdue win could come in Saturday’s crucial derby at Chesterfield.
Atkinson levelled the game tonight just after the break and said: “It could be an important goal by the end of the season. It was a point in the right direction, though we came here for all three.
“We found ourselves behind to a well-worked goal from them from a set play. We were disappointed to go in one down, but we kept fighting and we got the point.
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/atkinson-believes-stags-are-ready-to-smash-someone-as-winless-run-goes-on-1-9108923
“I’d been working on those late entries into the box. It was a great ball back from Hunty (Johnny Hunt) and I think Kane (Hemmings) just got a little nick on it and I arrived perfectly to cushion it into the net. “I was delighted to get a goal though disappointed it didn’t get us all three points. We have to stay positive as there is everything to fight for. “We need to get into the mentality now where we get ourselves in front as it’s hard to fight back.” Stags are just one point outside the play-offs with four games to go and Atkinson believes they can make it. “We are desperate to get this club where it should be,” he said. “Anything can happen still and it’s not over until it’s over. “We just need to convert more of our chances. We are due to smash a team and hopefully that can be Saturday.” Now the players can’t wait to take on arch-rivals Chesterfield. “It’s exciting,” said Atkinson. “It’s what you want to play in as a footballer - big games that mean things, that mean things to the fans, players and staff, to everyone. “There will be pressure on both sides. We’ll have the handbrake off. We need to really go for it. We’ve nothing to lose. We will get after them and give it all we’ve got. “With the ferociousness of the fans all wanting to win, it will take a cool head - fire in the body, ice in the mind.”
Stevenage 1-1 Mansfield Town: Boss Dino Maamria hails ‘awesome’ Danny Newton after superb strike
10 April 2018, by Layth Yousif at the Lamex
A Danny Newton strike in the 14th minute put Dino Maamria’s side ahead at Broadhall Way as the home side looked set to win their third game on the bounce.
But the visitors hit back in the second half through a Will Atkinson equaliser to claim a share of the spoils.
The draw ensured the North Herts side unbeaten streak stretched to four matches while the Stags grabbed only their fourth point from the last 24 after former boss Steve Evans departed for pastures new at Peterborough.
Speaking after the match boss Dino Maamria said: “I thought we worked very hard. A few weeks ago we would have lost the game so that is a big positive.
“We clearly weren’t at our best tonight but what is good is that we didn’t get beaten and we still ground out a point.
“We had a lot of chances but didn’t get the rub of the green to win the match. We looked a bit leggy and tired.
“But if you look at the last two weeks it has been two wins and two draws so I’m happy with being unbeaten in four matches.”?Maamria also praised his opponents who grabbed a point through Atkinson after Johnny Hunt pulled the ball back from the byline following good link-up play with CJ Hamilton whose cross found the well-travelled 29-year-old tricky winger to fire home six minutes after the restart.
Mansfield had been on a poor run of form but Maamria thought they performed well against his team.
He added: “They showed the quality of players they’ve got against us. Defensively it was a poor goal to concede but I will try and make sure we won’t concede goals like that again. They were the best side I’ve faced so far.
“They gave us a good test.”
Boro and Maamria deserve great praise for the goal Newton scored which was straight off the training pitch as the livewire former Tamworth forward peeled off the Stags defence from a Joe Martin corner to drill home a sweet strike to put the home side ahead.
With an eye on Saturday’s match at the Lamex against rivals Cambridge the former Tunisian U21 international said he would have trick or two up his sleeve after the U’s spies would have watched Newton’s spectacular finish.
He said: “It’s brilliant when set-plays you’ve worked on in the training ground come off. I love goals like that. It shows our work during the week comes to fruition on match days.”
With Newton grabbing his fourth goal in three games the Stevenage boss was full of praise for his forward adding “I love Newts. He’s a brilliant player and a ‘Stevenage’ type of player. That’s the best compliment I can pay him. He was awesome. He creates his own chances but when he have players who can create chances for him he will be even better.
“It’s going to be a tough game against Cambridge on Saturday but we will be working hard to do our best.”
*For the latest on the Ben Wilmot transfer saga read the CometSport website and follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29.