{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from February 2021

12th February 2021 15:47

A good point in tough conditions - manager
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 9th February 2021

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough described this evening’s 1-1 draw away at Walsall as ‘a very good point’ in ‘difficult’ conditions.

Captain Ollie Clarke climbed off the bench to equalise for the Stags after Max Melbourne’s opener, extending the unbeaten run to seven matches in Sky Bet League Two.

The boss spoke at length of the ‘tough’ conditions that sub-zero temperatures caused at Banks’s Stadium, whilst also revealing an agreement between the teams’ two managers that no added time should be played at the end of proceedings.

“I think it’s a very good point in the conditions tonight. It was very difficult for both teams to play and chances were at a premium,” he told iFollow Stags.

“It was more about not making mistakes. We conceded a ‘sloppy-ish’ goal from a free-kick, but I thought the quality of our equaliser was the standout bit of play throughout the match.

“The players were just saying how difficult it was and that was why the two managers decided on no added time, as it was getting more dangerous by the minute.


“The referee [Alan Young] was very sensible all night and the two teams were very honest and genuine. You can get problems in these conditions but those two things prevented that.

“I thought both teams found it pretty tough but both teams still tried to play. It was just very difficult to create chances [in the conditions].

“It [our goal] was the bit of quality of the evening. Jordan Bowery nicks the ball, plays a one-two and when you think he’s going to shoot, he does things which players at a higher level do, and that’s square it to Ollie Clarke.

“He [Clarke] continued his run, wrapped his foot around it and finished it. I thought over the course of the game, we deserved it [equaliser].”

On the Walsall goal: "It was a nothing free kick, a silly one. Disappointed with our defending, a little bit between the back four and the defender, so I'll have to have a look at it again.

The manager praised his side’s effort in their first outing in 17 days, adding: “I thought the last bit of the first-half we played very well. It took us a little while to get going, which was inevitable after the break we’ve had.

“Then I thought the start of the second-half we came out and played very well considering the conditions.

“I thought that was our chance to get a goal. Then we get a great chance from Stoney’s [Aidan Stone’s] long kick, but we couldn’t quite take it.

“Yes, we wanted to win six on the spin, but considering the conditions, we were very pleased with the effort again.”

Nigel Clough also confirmed that midfielder George Lapslie is expected to be sidelined for approximately four weeks with a hamstring injury, after the 23-year-old was substituted in the first-half.

“It is [a hamstring injury] unfortunately. He felt it last week and we gave him a couple of days rest. He didn’t train over the weekend because the game was off.

“Then he trained okay yesterday and said he felt absolutely fine. But Gary Crosby [assistant manager] has been hammering on about it to me saying ‘don’t risk him.’

“But he’s been playing well and he gets us goals. He [Gary Crosby] is right, I’m wrong, and he’s probably missing four weeks.”

"It was a little bit strange and surreal tonight. We weren't sure if the game was going to be on. And then .. oh we're on! So it took us a while to get going."

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later this evening.


Nigel Clough told Jake Garner of BBC Radio Nottingham:

“I'm delighted with a point, having gone behind to a poorish goal from our point of view.

“We got back in the game with a very good goal. Chances were at premium because of the conditions.

“The pitch was ok to start with but was getting a bit more bobbly and dangerous as the game went on with the temperature dropping.

“We tried to start as early as we could because of the weather so we kicked off 15 minutes earlier. Walsall did brilliantly to get the game on.

“The referee was great and was sensible all night. That, coupled with two honest teams out there, is why the game was on.

“I think it took us a while to get going but I thought the second half of the first half we were good and we were very good in the first 15-20 minutes of the second half.

“We missed the outstanding chance of the second half through Jordan Bowery, as he backed in and back in and he just couldn’t quite finish it off.

“You can lose a game easily in those conditions, it is a good point.

“We are delighted to have Ollie Clarke back. He scored a very good goal.”

"It was a little bit surreal tonight at times, a little bit strange. I don't know if it was the conditions or the fact we haven't played for so long."


Clarke: "It wasn't a game for the purists"

Walsall boss Darrell Clarke admitted his side’s draw with Mansfield Town was not one for the football purists given the difficult conditions.

Max Melbourne netted on his Saddlers debut before Ollie Clarke levelled for the Stags in the first half.

Clarke’s side ended Mansfield’s five game winning run on what he felt was a game affected by the conditions.

“It was never going to be a great game,” said Clarke.

“Fans won’t see it on the camera but those were awful playing conditions.


“It was getting very firm there towards the end so credit to my groundstaff for getting the game on. It was not a game for the purists, there was never going to be much quality in the game.

“We started really well on the front foot, I don’t mean making four or five passes but getting into their area and getting set pieces. We get the goal, great work from a set piece that we do a lot of work on.

“Then my biggest frustration after that it was from our mistake, Alfie’s gone back, and I didn’t want my players to play back, and if he was to go back then the next one to go forwards because it was going to be a game of errors for me that cost it and that gave them the momentum for me which they took into the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half.

“When we come again, we have another good chance from a set piece but at the end of the day it’s a point against a team that’s won the last five, in really good form and have big name players.

"They have high expectations in there, Nigel’s gone in there and done a fantastic job so we knew we were coming up against big players but credit to my lads, we’re very much development with the team we’re trying to build from.”

Melbourne, on loan from Lincoln City, marked a solid debut with a goal and Clarke was pleased with the 22-year-old who has settled in quickly.

“It’s a promising start for him so that’s pleasing,” Clarke commented.

“He’s settled in really good, it’s a good group to settle into, Max will tell you that, the spirit is fantastic and they enjoy the intensity of the training that we do so it’s promising when you hear loan players say that they haven’t trained like this in a while, it’s so intense so really pleased for Max to score on his debut.”


Darrell Clarke pleased with Walsall work rate
expressandstar.com, By Joseph Masi

Manager Darrell Clarke praised the work rate of his players after Walsall and Mansfield played out a 1-1 draw.

On a freezing night in the West Midlands, the pitch at the Banks’s Stadium became harder and more dangerous to play on as the game went on.

That led to both managers agreeing to end the fixture bang on 90 minutes with no stoppage time to ensure neither side picked up a serious injury.

“It was never going to be a great game - they were awful playing conditions,” Clarke said.

“The pitch was very, very firm and it was getting very dangerous towards the end there.

“It was not a game for the purist. There was never really going to be much quality in the game.

"But at the end of the day it’s a point - a point against a team that had won their last five and were in really good form, they’ve got big name players, high expectations.


“There are 20 games to go, plenty of points to go for and we will keep chipping away and working on the players and working hard on the training ground.

“At the moment the captain (James Clarke) is not in the team, Rory Holden is also injured and we’ve sold two of our best players (Zak Jules and Elijah Adebayo).

“But the lads are giving me everything and that’s all you can ask for as a manager.”

On the decision to end the game on 90 minutes, Clarke said: “It was getting dangerous.

“I’ve got a small squad, a lot of injuries, we were both of the opinion it was getting dangerous and we didn’t want an injury.

“There wasn’t a lot in the game, no one was really pushing too hard so we didn’t want to take the risk.“It would have been very sad for any one of the two teams to lose a player through serious injury when the conditions were deteriorating from minute dot.”


Max Melbourne eyes more goals after netting on Walsall debut

Loanee Max Melbourne wants to build on his Walsall debut success after netting only his second ever career goal.

The 22-year-old came straight into the team at left-back, since signing on transfer deadline day, and got on the end of a Tyreik Wright free-kick to give the Saddlers a 1-0 lead over Mansfield on Tuesday night.

Melbourne enjoyed an impressive debut for his new club and although Walsall had to settle for a draw, the Lincoln loanee was pleased with his display.

“I think it was a positive debut for myself,” Melbourne said. “It’s a position I am more than capable of playing.

“I haven’t had the minutes I’ve wanted this season so it was nice to get back out there and get 90 minutes under my belt.

“Hopefully, now I can kick on an improve every game.

“On a personal note, it was great to get a goal.

“I scored a couple of years ago so it was good to get another one - hopefully, there will be many more to come.

“To be honest, I’ve not gone forward too often at set-pieces, I’ve always been the guy that has to stay back.

“So when I was given the role to get into the box my eyes lit up.

“Tyreik has put in a great ball and I would have been really disappointed to miss.

“But I was disappointed we didn’t come away with all three points.

“I thought we were capable of doing that, it just wasn’t the night.”

Tuesday’s clash kicked off 15 minutes earlier than planned and ended without added time as the freezing temperatures made the pitch a difficult surface to play on.

When asked about the conditions, Melbourne added: “It was very difficult to play in.

“The fact the ground got so hard, it wasn’t easy to string a couple of passes together.

“I fell over towards the end and it felt like hitting concrete.

“The conditions were difficult, we just had to make sure we saw it through and if we weren’t going to win it make sure we didn’t lose it.”




Latest | February 2021