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

19th March 2021 15:38

Manager encouraged by number of chances
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 16th March 2021

Stags’ boss Nigel Clough was pleased by the number of chances his side created in Tuesday evening’s 1-1 draw with Carlisle United.

Mansfield crafted several opportunities throughout the contest at One Call Stadium, but were forced to settle for a point after Stephen McLaughlin’s free-kick cancelled out Offrande Zanzala’s second-half opener.

The manager says the Stags ‘bounced back extremely well’ from Saturday’s defeat to Crawley with this evening’s ‘good performance’ against Carlisle.

“I thought it was a good performance against a top-half side,” he told iFollow Stags. “We created the better chances and more chances, we just didn’t quite finish them.

“It would’ve been a travesty if we didn’t get anything out of the game. Even after the equaliser, we had situations where we could’ve gone on and won the game.

“Their goal, they’ve had a shot that has deflected into his [Zanzala’s] path from eight yards out. I wish one would drop for us like that.

“We talked [with McLaughlin] about not going over the wall sometimes and going for the open side, hit the target, and that’s what he’s done. He said it’s about the fifth or sixth [free-kick] he’s scored like that.

“I would expect to score a couple of goals tonight, with the situations that we had. Even right at the end, Jordan Bowery had one in stoppage time which he could’ve easily finished off.


“We’re creating chances now, we just have to put a few of them away. But I thought the overall performance in a gritty game [was good], we switched the ball brilliantly and we had the better of the match-up today.

“We did create more than we have been doing of late. The next stage is now trying to put them away.

“We were so demoralised after losing at Crawley, but we keep bouncing back extremely well.”

The boss has been satisfied with Mansfield’s home form of late, with two wins and one draw earned from the last three matches at One Call Stadium.

“Not only the results, but the performances suggest that [the Stags are playing better at home],” he added.

“We don’t set up any different away from home, so whether it’s a psychological thing, I don’t know.

“We’ll take on anybody here [One Call Stadium] and feel like we’ll have a good chance here.

“It is your home [despite no fans], so the changing rooms are the same and the players feel comfortable when they come here, which is a good thing.

“We’re on the front foot, which is also very important at home. We don’t sit back, and with a little bit of luck here, we’d have a few more points.”

There was also a comment on Stags’ midfield, which has been hampered by injuries in recent weeks.

“Ollie [Clarke] needed a breather and we’ll see how he is, as he might even need one again on Saturday.

“It’s frustrating when you see him unavailable, and we have George Lapslie and George Maris upstairs as well.

“We could do with them back - Quinny [Stephen Quinn, below] is about running on empty now, having played a lot of games recently.

“Stephen McLaughlin has stepped in [to midfield] and stepped up as well. And Harry Charsley did well tonight coming back into the team.”

Nigel Clough then outlined the squad’s plans ahead of Saturday’s home match with Grimsby Town.

“[We will] rest up [ahead of Grimsby on Saturday], with the amount of Tuesdays that we’ve had.

“It’s important to keep the players that aren’t playing or in the squad up to speed, so they have a good session on a Wednesday morning.

“Sometimes we include a few of the academy lads to make the numbers up and integrate them.

“Then the usual Thursday off and preparation on Friday ready for a big game [against Grimsby].”

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


Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Nottingham:

"He [McLaughlin] said he saw the keeper take half a step to his left and he slotted it in the bottom corner. It's almost passing it into the net they used to call it.
"We don't hit the target enough from free-kicks from that area.

"It was very important not to get back-to-back defeats again.

"Aidan [Stone] was first choice before his injury at Barrow. I wasn't too happy with the way we conceded the goals against Cheltenham and at Crawley so Aidan came back in."


Mansfield Town deserved at least a point from Carlisle United clash, says Nigel Clough
chad.co.uk, By Duncan Browne, Tuesday 16th March 2021

Nigel Clough says it would have been a 'travesty' had his Mansfield Town side not taken anything from their draw with Carlisle United.

Stephen McLaughlin's 80th minute free kick secured a point at One Call Stadium, which pleased the Stags boss.

"I thought it was a very, very good performance against a top-half side and we created far the better chances... and more chances," said Clough.


"We just didn't quite finish them.

"It would have been a travesty if we didn't get anything out of the game."

Offrande Zanzala put United ahead in the 66th minute after Jon Mellish's effort was deflected into his path.

"I think they've had two shots again," Clough added.

"The goal, a shot's deflected into their path eight yards out. I wish one would drop for us like that."

The Stags, however, had to make their own luck, and McLaughlin was the player to step up, wrongfooting keeper Magnus Norman with his low dead ball effort.

"It was brilliant," Clough said.

"I've just been talking to him, sometimes I talk to the lads about when we used to play, with Stuart Pearce.

"Some of them look at you a bit blankly as they don't know him, but Stephen worked with him at Forest.

"We talked about not going over the wall sometimes, going for the open side and hitting the target.

"That's what he's done and he says it's the fifth or sixth time he's scored like that."

Despite securing the point, Clough felt his side should have claimed more from the game.

He continued: "I thought we should've scored a couple of goals tonight with the situations we've had.

"We're creating chances now, which is good."


"We could do with them back!" Nigel Clough hoping to get missing midfielders back to full fitness
chad.co.uk, By Duncan Browne, Tuesday 16th March 2021

Manager wants more options in the centre of the park...

Mansfield Town could do with getting their missing midfielders back to full fitness.

That is the opinion of Nigel Clough following last night's draw with Carlisle United.

Skipper Ollie Clarke was rested for the visit of the Cumbrians, although he did make a late cameo off the bench.


Meanwhile, the influential duo of George Lapslie and George Maris were missing from the match day squad.

"Ollie needs a breather," Clough said.

"We'll see how he is, he might even need one again Saturday (when Grimsby Town arrive at One Call Stadium).

"It's a bit frustrating when you see him unavailable. Then we've got George Lapslie and George Maris upstairs as well - we could do with them back.

"Quinny (Stephen Quinn) is about running on empty now having played a few games."

However, Clough did take time to praise goalscorer Stephen McLaughlin and the returning Harry Charsley for their part in the draw.

"Stephen McLaughlin stepped in and stepped up as well," Clough added.

"And Harry Charsley, I thought did very well coming back into the team."


"We bounce back well!" Nigel Clough impressed by Mansfield Town's resilience
Manager admits manner of Crawley defeat has left a mark...

chad.co.uk, By Duncan Browne, Tuesday 16th March 2021

Nigel Clough believes his Mansfield Town side have shown him some important resilience this season.

The Stags boss has been pleased with his side's ability to bounce back from defeats, even if he wished they didn't have to do it quite so often.

The Stags looked set for a point at Crawley at the weekend before James Tilley's stoppage-time winner.

Clough admits that result still stings, but was pleased that didn't affect his players as they came from behind to draw with Carlisle United on Tuesday.

"We were so devastated and demoralised on Saturday after losing to Crawley," Clough said.

"We bounce back well. I wish we didn't have to bounce back and if we'd have got a point at Crawley on Saturday then all of a sudden you're going into a three game unbeaten run.

"That last 30 seconds will get to us for a while."


Nigel Clough: "Travesty" if Carlisle United had beaten Mansfield Town
newsandstar.co.uk, By Jon Colman, Tuesday 16th March 2021

Nigel Clough felt it would have been a "travesty" had Carlisle United held on for victory against his Mansfield Town side.

The Stags fought back after Offrande Zanzala, with Stephen McLaughlin's free-kick earning the hosts a point.

Clough felt that was the least his side deserved after claiming the hosts faced down United's battling style of play.

"They [Carlisle] make it difficult - second balls, battling away," Clough said.

"They matched up with us but I thought we had the better of the match.

"I thought it was a very good performance against a top-half side. We created by far the better chances and more chances.

"We just didn't quite finish them. But it would have been a travesty if we hadn't got anything out of the game.

"We got the equaliser and even after that had two or three situations that could have won the game.

"Their goal...they just had a shot that deflected into his [Zanzala's] path eight yards out. I wish one would drop for us like that."

Clough said he expected more goals given the attacking situations his team created.

Defensively, meanwhile, he said: "You have to deal with what Carlisle do, and how they play, and thought the back four did that brilliantly."


Carlisle United boss Chris Beech questions whether free kick awarded for Mansfield Town equaliser should have been given
chad.co.uk, By Duncan Browne, Tuesday 16th March 2021

Carlisle United manager Chris Beech was left questioning whether the foul in the build-up to Mansfield Town's equaliser should have been given.

Stephen McLaughlin forced home an 80th-minute to secure the Stags a 1-1 draw at One Call Stadium last night after Offrande Zazala had opened the scoring.

But the Cumbrians head coach doesn't believe the dead ball should have been awarded after Harry Charsley went down on the edge of the penalty area.


"Our players worked really hard to get in a good position but referees, free kicks and decisions, it's hard to take," Beech told the club’s YouTube channel.

"I'd suggest it's more likely not a foul. Who knows?

"That is really frustrating when you work so hard to get something from the game."

While Beech was left wondering whether a number of decisions could have gone his side's way in recent weeks, he knew the Cumbrians weren't in for an easy ride against the Stags.

"They're not going to lie down," he added.

"They're at home with nothing to lose. They beat Cheltenham here, Morecambe here, they've got some really good players.

"They invest heavily to do good things. (Nigel Clough) left a League One situation to come here, they're not going to just lie down and let Carlisle get what they want."


Chris Beech on Carlisle United's draw at Mansfield Town
newsandstar.co.uk, By Jon Colman, Tuesday 16th March 2021

Chris Beech said Carlisle United’s fighting spirit was clear at Mansfield - but admitted his frustration that the Blues failed to hold on for victory.

United had to settle for a point after the hosts’ Stephen McLaughlin cancelled out Offrande Zanzala’s opener.

Beech felt the Blues had worked hard to earn their advantage.

But the head coach rue their inability to take other chances - while he felt United were hard done by with the free-kick decision that led to Mansfield’s leveller.

“Obviously, leading the game you want to win the game,” United’s boss said after the 1-1 draw.

“We score a good goal, and got the upper hand on several occasions in the first half of the second half, a bit like the first half, when we had two or three chances in the first 15 minutes or so.

“There was Jon Mellish flashing it across goal - and Rhys [Bennett] has got to score.

“He’s done everything I’ve asked them to do; we often head things when we could chest it, and he’s in a perfect position…but he missed.”

Beech explained the tactical adjustment he made in a bid to keep Mansfield at bay midway through the first half.

“We started better than them, but with the way the game was, they played a diamond and had an extra man in midfield,” he said.

“We either ignore that and try and score but let them have more ball, or you tend to think, ‘We’re away…’, so we decided to arm-lock it and see who gets the better.

“Jack Armer was getting out and getting crosses in, so it was kind of working.

“In the first half, we serviced Mansfield just through our throw-ins and lack of distance in clearance. It reinvigorated their strikers who could play near our box.

“In the first half of the second half the lads went a bit more direct but it helped us get behind and runners off midfield, hence the goal.

“It’s getting the balance. But to lose [the lead] to that free-kick is so disheartening.”

Beech praised the way United’s goal came about, through an interception and driving run by Jon Mellish, and then a deadly finish by Zanzala when Mellish’s shot deflected his way.

“It was a concentrated finish,” Beech said. “It’s easy to put that over the bar [on that pitch] but he concentrates, puts it in the back of the net - well done Ozzy.”

United forced few chances after that and were indebted to league debutant keeper Magnus Norman for preserving their lead until McLaughlin’s 80th-minute set-piece.

Beech said of the hosts’ fightback: “They’re not gonna lie down. They’re at home with nothing to lose.

“They beat Cheltenham and Morecambe here and they’ve got some really good players.

“They invest heavily to try and do good things. It wasn’t too long ago…I don’t know if they paid for the manager, but he left a League One situation to come here, so they’re obviously supporting that.

“They’re not just gonna lie down and let Carlisle get what they want. Our players worked really hard to get in a position of strength. But…referees and free-kicks and decisions…it’s hard to take sometimes.”

Beech was asked about his decision not to make any substitutions until the 86th minute at the One Call Stadium.

He replied: “I’ve got it all wrong tonight because I didn’t swap, and we’ve not won…

“You can swap and then lose the game. It was so tight, the pitch isn’t right, it’s not a dribbler’s pitch, I just wanted one moment from a bit of speed over the top.

“I was challenging my full-backs to be stronger, and they stepped up after we scored; they’re getting better.

“After an event, everybody gets the question right.

“In terms of making change or seeing out the game, if you look at all the other games we’ve been in front, it’s very difficult at that point - because you’re winning at that point - to make the change.

“If you knew the game would be like that, I would have changed it 20 minutes earlier, if you know the opposition are gonna score.

“But I thought we were gonna get there. I thought we were gonna get the 1-0.”

United’s game was delayed by half-an-hour because some players had been caught in long motorway tailbacks en route to Mansfield.

It was the result of a serious accident on the M62 -a multi-vehicle collision involving four HGV lorries and a car.

Several people were injured. West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service were at the scene.

The carriageway reopened in the early hours of this morning some 14 hours after the crash.

Beech was himself delayed in reaching the One Call Stadium, while the traffic hold-ups also saw Lancashire-based ref Michael Salisbury unable to make the game, Trevor Kettle stepping in at short notice.

Beech said United had handled the situation as best they could, along with the injury to keeper Paul Farman which only ruled the Blues’ No1 out a few hours before kick-off.

“I was finding every rat route I could remember, from when I played for Huddersfield, to get here myself,” said Beech of the tailbacks he found himself in.

“It’s been an amazing season, and just another little thing on the calendar that’s made it more difficult to feel more relaxed before a game starts.

“Your goalkeeper isn’t available at 12.30pm, and some of the squad aren’t available to get here on time because there’s major incidents on the motorway, including myself.”


Chris Beech hails Magnus Norman after Carlisle United league debut at Mansfield Town
newsandstar.co.uk, By Jon Colman, Tuesday 16th March 2021

Chris Beech felt Magnus Norman gave an “excellent” display on his Carlisle United league debut after being called up at short notice.

The goalkeeper was handed his first League Two outing for the Blues after an injury to regular No1 Paul Farman.

The ex-Fulham man stepped up and made some outstanding saves at Mansfield.

Although he was eventually beaten by Stephen McLaughlin’s free-kick in the 1-1 draw, head coach Beech was full of praise for the 24-year-old.

“He was brilliant,” Beech said.


“To get the call from Steve [Collis, goalkeeping coach] at 12.30pm to say Paul’s not available and you’re going to be playing…full credit to him.

“He’s had to be patient and he was excellent.”

Norman had been limited to two EFL Trophy appearances before Tuesday night, since his summer move to Brunton Park.

Beech felt the keeper could have had more protection from referee Trevor Kettle, feeling Norman was fouled moments before he recovered to make a superb save from James Perch.

He added that Norman deserved a debut to remember having shown total commitment to Carlisle since joining.

“You don’t need me to tell you we’ve got a hard-working, honest squad - there’s no stand out individual that’s significantly better than anyone else,” he said.

“We have a great attitude to working hard and representing Carlisle United to the best of our abilities.

“With the goalkeeping unit, we recruited two very good lads at different ends of the spectrum of age I suppose.

“I knew Magnus from coming on loan at Rochdale, and he wants to start his career.

“He’s bought a flat in Carlisle, committed to the area, signed a two-year deal, took a wage drop to sign for us, it’s just commendable really.

“It means more, because you connect to the sacrifice he’s made to join us, and the patience he’s had to show, in being professional to play.

“As a goalkeeper it must be so difficult. As an outfield player, as a substitute… an attacker, you’re likely to get on. As a defender you’re likely not to. As a goalkeeper, definitely, you really don’t.

“I’m just so pleased for Magnus. He had a great game.”

Beech said Farman’s injury was not only a “slight strain” which would be assessed “day by day”, although he did not specify how long the first-choice No1 would be missing.

Norman will get another outing if Farman is not risked against his former club Stevenage on Saturday, while youth keeper Gabriel Breeze was on the bench at Mansfield.

Beech said of Farman’s injury: “It’s not too much - he just felt something a little bit in training [on Monday] near the end, and he’s honest enough to say he’s not 100 per cent.

“We need our players 100 per cent, because it’s so tight to get a victory and a convincing victory.

“On [Tuesday’s pitch it’s difficult to play football on the floor, and fair play to Mansfield for trying to do that, ourselves a little bit of it, but it’s difficult to play in those conditions, and everyone has to be 100 per cent to give 100 per cent to try and win a game.”



Latest | March 2021