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Archived News from September 2008

1st September 2008 9:55

NEW: DINO Maamria reaction
DINO Maamria says spirit is still strong in his squad as they search for a first win.

The Vics boss told the Guardian he has taken heart from the players' performances over the past seven days.

"We're still positive," he said.

"At Mansfield we showed once again that when we play to our strengths and go on the front foot to put the opposition under pressure, then we can match the best teams in this league."

Mark Stallard's stoppage time strike condemned Vics to a third defeat in five games.

Maamria admitted a win would prove elusive if players kept making avoidable errors.

"It's the same story right now," he said.

"We are conceding sloppy goals due to individuals making mistakes.

"People need to start taking responsibility for that as we can't keep having regrets after matches."
audio interview with Billy McEwan from BBC Radio Nottingham here

audio interview with Mark Stallard by John Lomas of CHAD.co.uk here

audio interview with Aaron O'Connor from BBC Radio Nottingham here

audio interview with Aaron O'Connor from Evening Post here

Photo of Mark Stallard interview :

Photo of Aaron O'Connor interview :

Another late show as Stags boss McEwan celebrates home triple
By John Lomas
MARK Stallard's stoppage time goal made sure Stags were on Monday celebrating three home wins on the bounce for the first time since April 2006.
The 3-2 win over Northwich Victoria was the third successive game that a decisive goal has been scored right at the death in a Stags game and boss Billy McEwan said: "One thing is for sure - people should not leave our games early!
"Three wins out of three at home is great. All credit to the lads for their efforts. I have nothing but praise for them.

"We mustn't forget this is a new squad and players will take some time to settle.
"I have got to be pleased with the progress made in such a short space of time. But I am under no illusions that we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us for the whole season.

"We are still well short of the levels I am looking for professionally. But I can understand that with the newness of the team.

"Ten points from five games is excellent."

Stags were in charge at 2-0 up at the break but Victoria hit back to level near the end before Stallard struck.

"It was a fantastic finish to the game," said McEwan. "We conceded a disappointing late goal at Barrow on Saturday but we did the same to Northwich today.

"We had chance after chance and I kept thinking 'come on, get it in, and kill them off'. But we just couldn't do it.

"All credit to Northwich. They battled on, got back in he game and made it difficult for us in the second half. So to win it was a relief. I am really proud of them."

McEwan was concerned that, for the second home game on the trot, Mansfield have threatened to let the opposition get something after Stags had been firmly in charge.

"We went through this against Kidderminster and it was something we spoke about at half time today," he said.

"But it seems it may be a kink in the armoury of this squad of players for some reason.

"I said before the game I wanted a clean sheet and I said it again at half time. But we didn't get it.

"We have to work on our defending. We will always make chances. We have to put more thinking into our game. We can't keep giving goals away like we are doing. That is just putting pressure on ourselves that we don't need. We have to defend better."

First half hero was Aaron O'Connor whose two goals in four minutes had given Mansfield a cushion.

"Aaron has not played a lot of football to be fair to the kid and is not match fit, but he came into the arena and got two goal," said McEwan.

"We were disappointed to lose Jason Lee and Michael Blackwood through injury but Aaron came in and has done well for us today."

After missing a crucial chance in the 2-1 defeat at Barrow on Saturday, today's match winner Stallard had several chances including a one on one with the keeper, but left it late before grabbing his fourth goal of the campaign.

"Mark Stallard had enough chances today to win a couple of game, but he did score us the winner," said McEwan.

"He is in there to miss them - I would be more worried if we were not creating chances for him. It is at the other end I am more worried and how we defend as a team."

McEwan said it was too early yet to say if Lee (ankle) and Blackwood (calf) will be fit for next weekend.

Squad players who need match sharpness will be able to get some under their belt when Burton Albion send a side up to Field Mill tomorrow (Tuesday) for a behind-closed-doors reserve friendly at Field Mill.

Evening Post interviews:
Stallard leaves it late for Stags

Last-gasp hero Mark Stallard says Mansfield's players are only too aware there is plenty of room for improvement at both ends of the pitch.

Better finishing and defending would have enabled the Stags' 3-2 win over Northwich - only secured by the former Notts County man's stoppage time strike - to come much easier than it did.

But Stallard insists he and his team-mates are determined to start killing teams off, rather than hand out lifelines.

"We certainly made hard work if it. I'm pleased to get the three points, but there are things we have to look at.

"We have had a bit of a meeting about what we are doing wrong and what we need to change to make it easier for ourselves.

"We played well in the first half and we should have gone on to win by three or four. We had the chances and didn't take them but even so we should be keeping a clean sheet and not giving other teams a sniff.

"Give them credit, they pushed two or three players forward but their first goal was a free header from a corner and that's 2-1 and then it can go either way.

"I thought we had chucked two points away but I managed to stick one in right at the end. I think we deserved it."

Stallard's close-range effort was his fourth goal of the season so far and Mansfield's eighth in three home games.

O'Connor stakes claim for Stags place

Aaron O'Connor hopes to have given boss Billy McEwan a pleasant selection headache with his two-goal display against Northwich Victoria.

The striker was recalled to the team for his first home start in a Mansfield shirt because of an ankle injury to Jason Lee.

And the former Grays player responded with two first half strikes within the space of five minutes.

O'Connor would like to think his performance will keep him in the team to take on his former club on Saturday.

"When you are at a good club with good players you just have to wait and when you get a chance, take it," he said.

"It was nice to get goals and hopefully now I have given the gaffer a selection problem.

"There is good competition and all our strikers are good players. As well as Jason Lee and Mark Stallard there is also Anthony Robinson, who might have scored with his first touch.

"We all know we have to play well to continue in the team."

O'Connor was disappointed his strikes did not seal the three points and Stags had to rely on a late Stallard winner.

He said: "We have got a little bit of a problem holding on to leads. It is something we need to work on but it doesn't matter how you get the three points."

O'Connor's second goal only just made it into the net as he under-hit his finish after rounding keeper Scott Tynan.

"I honestly thought they were going to clear it," he said.

McEwan relief at last-gasp Mansfield victory

Billy McEwan admitted he was a relieved man after Mark Stallard earned Mansfield a 3-2 victory against Northwich Victoria with a stoppage time winner.

The Stags looked to have thrown away a 2-0 half-time lead – given to them by a brace of Aaron O'Connor strikes – when Darryn Stamp and Lee Steele goals brought the visitors level.
But Stallard pounced from close range in the third minute of time added on in a dramatic finale to put Mansfield back in front.
“It was a fantastic finish to the game,” said manager McEwan. “We had the disappointment in our last game up at Barrow where we conceded a late goal.
“But we did it to Northwich Victoria today by getting a goal to win the game.
“We had chance after chance and I was thinking 'come on lads, get it in and kill them off', but we couldn't kill them off.
“Credit to them because they battled and got back in the game and made it difficult for us in the second half.
“But we got there in the end and it was a big relief.”


Latest | September 2008