Video interview with David Holdsworth here
Cambridge equaliser WAS offside - Stags boss Holdsworth
CHAD, 12 March 2009
By John Lomas
Stags boss David Holdsworth has watched the DVD back from Tuesday night's 2-1 last gasp defeat at Cambridge and is now convinced United' equaliser WAS offside.
"We thought it was on the night and I have looked back at the DVD 60 or 70 times now and haven't changed my mind.
"We felt the lineman was not up with play and took his eye off the ball. We are disappointed but at least we didn't let them back into the game through our own lack of judgement."
Stags midfielder Somner eyes Forest Green victory
Evening Post, March 12, 2009
MATT Somner believes the pain of Mansfield's stoppage time defeat at Cambridge will spur them to victory over Forest Green Rovers this weekend.
The midfielder was left 'devastated' as Jai Reason's late strike denied the Stags a hard-earned point at the Abbey Stadium on Tuesday night.
But he is confident Mansfield can bounce back when they return to Field Mill.
Mansfield have played five home games under new boss David Holdsworth, winning three and drawing two, and have yet to concede a goal.
"I think a draw would have been a fair result at Cambridge. We stuck together and weathered the storm but the late goal killed us, " said midfielder Somner.
%3Cbody%3E%3Cdiv%20id%3D%22adDiv%22%3E%3CA%20HREF%3D%22http%3A//ads.anm.co.uk/ADCLICK/CID%3Dfffffffcfffffffcfffffffc/AAMSZ%3D452x118/POS%3D/SITE%3DTHISISNOTT/AREA%3DFOOTBALL/SUBAREA%3D/ARTICLE%3D765168/acc_random%3D9923994563/pageid%3D/RS%3D10484.10340.10232.10236.10244.10281.10307.10323.10364.10319.10420.10427.10428.10429.10450.10464.10486.10504.10508.10513.%22%20target%3D%22_new%22%3E%3CIMG%20SRC%3D%22http%3A//iad.anm.co.uk/anmdefaultad.gif%22%20ALT%3D%22%22%20border%3D0%20style%3D%22margin-bottom%3A%200px%3B%22%3E%3C/A%3E%3C/div%3E"Silky (Gary Silk) was the last man for their first goal and said it was definitely offside so we were gutted about that.
"One moment we were up their end in the final seconds and close to taking the lead and then they have gone down our end and scored.
"It shows you have to take your chances or you will be punished.
"The fact is we didn't play badly against a strong side going well, we didn't get overrun, so the confidence is still high.
"The gaffer will be looking for a positive response against Forest Green and I'm sure by the time Saturday comes round we will be determined to give it to him."
Like the Stags, Rovers are enjoying something of a revival and are out of the Blue Square Premier drop zone.
The Gloucestershire outfit – who ran Derby close in the FA Cup – secured a surprise 1-1 draw at Wrexham on Tuesday night and Somner knows they will be dangerous.
Somner added: "If you look at their last few results you can see they are improving.
"We are well aware it will be a tough game but we are going well at home and we are confident of continuing that."
New Stags signing Daryl Clare came off the bench to play half an hour as Mansfield's reserves lost 2-0 to Walsall at Field Mill last night.
Brabin So Proud of U's
Posted on: Tue 10 Mar 2009
Cambridge United's grip on second place was tightened in a few decisive seconds tonight as Jai Reason's first goal for the club sealed a stoppage time win for the U's against Mansfield, while Histon lost to a stoppage time goal at Barrow, extending the gap between the clubs to four points.
Read more at --->
United fell behind in the first half to a headed goal by Rob Duffy, who had a brief spell here in 2005, but - as on Saturday against Burton - United turned in a scintillating second half display and Scott Rendell and Reason scored the vital goals against a defence only breached twice in their last nine games.
Reflecting on an hard-fought win that extended United's unbeaten streak to nine games, Gary Brabin said, "I said in my programme notes for the original date this game should have been played, and I've repeated myself again this week, this was never going to be an easy game.
"Mansfield are on a good run, they don't concede many goals, they shut up shop and they've had a lot of one-nil wins, and if they have been beaten it's only been by one-nil, so we were expecting a tough game. We've done well of late and with that comes the expectancy, and I felt that a bit in the first half.
"We were a little bit below par but I thought the fans were fantastic and they kept behind us, and in the second half I thought we were outstanding."
Explaining why his team may have looked off the pace in the first half, compared to the way they finished against Burton on Saturday, the U's boss added, "It's hard to carry on where you left off. Even the best teams in the world take a bit of time to get going and the lads have worked so hard - I can't credit them enough for the way they've worked lately.
"We knew it wasn't just going to happen, we knew we'd have to work hard to get the tempo of the game right, and I felt like Mansfield controlled the tempo of the game in the first half while we fell below the standards we've set in the past few weeks.
"But in the second half I thought that was more like us," he added. "I thought we were outstanding and I thought we footballed them to death. We looked fitter, stronger and I'm absolutely made up and proud of their performance in the second half."
Robbie Willmott impressed again tonight. After scoring a cool goal on Saturday, his beautifully flighted cross set up the equaliser for Scott Rendell early in the second half against Mansfield, and Brabin felt he and fellow winger Courtney Pitt were much improved after the break.
"In the first half I don't think Robbie and Pitty on the other side were doing the things we're good at. But in the second half we did - we were moving the ball quicker, we were on the front foot a bit more, and if we hadn't won tonight it would have been an injustice."
Chris Holroyd had to be withdrawn with blood gushing from his nose in the second half, while fellow striker and recent signing Lee Phillips missed his second game with a slight hamstring problem, and Brabin commented, "We thought we'd had our bad luck with injuries, certainly before Christmas. We've had a few people coming back and seen other teams hit by big suspensions and injuries, and we thought maybe it was our turn but we still seem to be getting our share of injuries.
"But we've got a great squad of players here and I'm just proud of every one of them at the moment."
Courtney Pitt looked unlikely to finish the game as he was hobbling badly just before half-time, but he recovered to play his part in the second half comeback and was unlucky to be denied a penalty.
"I think I want people to boot him more often because he responds to that!" Brabin joked. "He was one of our main culprits in the first half but I keep believing in Courtney. He probably thinks I pick on him but I do believe in him I thought in the second half he was brilliant."
The gaffer also praised Jai Reason, who celebrated today's extension of his loan from Ipswich Town by scoring that stoppage time winning goal.
"Jai is another one who was below par in the first half, but again in the second half he was instrumental in our play," he commented, before turning to Saturday's match at home to fifth-from-bottom Northwich Victoria.
"We certainly won't be taking them lightly," he stressed. "They've got new management and everyone I've spoken to says they've done well. They've had some good results against good teams and they've been unlucky against the ones who have beaten them.
"We don't take anyone lightly but we just have to carry on this momentum that we have at the moment and hopefully take it into Saturday."
With Histon losing at Barrow and Burton not in action until Wednesday evening at Ebbsfleet, United are eight points behind the leaders and four points clear of Histon, although both clubs have three games in hand.
United are in action again at home to Northwich Victoria on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Holdsworth unhappy with officials as Stags suffer last gasp winner
09 March 2009
By John Lomas
AFTER only his second defeat in his 10 games as Mansfield Town, David Holdsworth was clearly upset with a string of decisions that went against the Stags in their last gasp 2-1 defeat at Cambridge on Tuesday night.
But the manager didn't want that to overshadow a superb performance from his side.
United came from behind to snatch a 2-1 win at the death, but their equaliser appeared offside and two Stags players were booked for what seemed perfectly legal tackles.
"We were up against things tonight that I can't train against," he said.
"There were things that cost us that were outside our domain. But I am very proud of our lads and we have come a long way in the games since I arrived.
"Full credit to Cambridge and I wish Gary Brabin and his side all the best for the rest of the season. They are a good side.
"I don't like talking about officials and I don't want to get drawn into it. I can't wait to see the DVD. Neil MacKenzie was right behind the linesman when he didn't give the offside too.
"But we all make mistakes - and we got punished tonight by mistakes.
"I am sad for my players and sad for the supporters who travelled here. We didn't deserve that.
"At half time we knew we would come out and have a storm to weather and they got back in the game and had chances, though we restricted them mostly to long range shots.
"It is a fine line and Louis Briscoe had a wonderful opportunity to win the game. He hit the target so I won't moan, but the keeper saved it and a minute later they get their winner.
"We respected Cambridge, who are second in the league, but there was nothing for us to be scared of.
"But decisions went against us that only one man saw, or perhaps a man with a flag too.
"But there were tons of positives for us. The boys gave me and Mansfield Town 150 per cent tonight against a very good side. But we paid the price for a poor show by the officials."
Stags boss holdsworth suffers late heartache
David Holdsworth could not hide his disappointment after Mansfield Town suffered stoppage time heartbreak at Cambridge.The Stags looked set for a 1-1 draw after Scott Rendell equalised for the Us following Rob Duffy's opener.
But then Jai Reason truck in the third added minute to plunder the points and leave the visitors shell-shocked.
"I'm sad for the players and the travelling supporters because we didn't deserve that," said manager Holdsworth.
"We dominated the first half and I was proud of the boys at half-time. But I knew we would come out and have to weather a storm.
"They got back in it, but after that the game was very even. We restricted them to long-range shots and we had chances on the counter-attack.
"It's a fine line (between winning and losing). Louis Briscoe had a chance to put the game away and then they go down the other end and make it 2-1 and the game is finished.
"The players are bitterly disappointed but we have to move on.
"There are tons of positives. We have come a long way as a team and there is still a long way for us to go.
"The players will learn from this because they are a tremendous lot and I back them all."
Holdsworth was left angry at some of the refereeing decisions, feeling Cambridge got the better of them.
He said: "Little things have cost us that are out of our domain. Unless I do a referee's course, I am not going to change my mind on some things.
"Neil MacKenzie was right behind the linesman for their first goal (saying it was offside).
"And Duffers gets booked for his celebration and then no-one gets booked for theirs. Amazing."
"I'm not here to chastise people and we all make mistakes, but it's just that we get punished for them. We paid the price for some poor decisions."
Latest | March 2009