RUSSELL AND COOPER REACTION
Interview from Radio Nottm with David Jackson, transcribed by Martin Shaw:
I've just spoke to one of their defenders who was alongside Paul Connor when Paul Connor passed the ball into the net, and he said he was level, not offside. Paul said the same thing. It was annoying. The linesman had a great view and I'm so annoyed that ... well I think I want a female linesman.
I must say well done to the fans that travelled up. I hope we gave them some entertainment. We tried to get forward and do exciting stuff. Overall I thought we were the better side. I'm upset that we didn't get away with 3 points.
Adam Murray will be fine. He's got a lot of blood underneath his eye. His eye started to close so he couldn't see. It might have helped his passing actially! Then Kyle Nix hurt himself putting in a tackle. I'll have to teach that lad how to tackle.
I'm very happy with my defence. I thought Neil Collett pulled off a great save in the first half - I thought that was going to go in the back of our net.
Two clean sheets - I'm so happy with that. I'm very happy with everybody's performance, I think they all put in a shift tonight and I'm very proud of them.
... By the the 52nd minute both had left the field due to injuries caused as a direct result of Mansfield players, though Cooper preferred to focus on his own team's shortcomings.
“We didn't play well tonight and in the first-half we were atrocious,” he said.
“We weren't on the front foot. We had no energy, no enthusiasm, no tempo to our play and when you start like that it takes a lot to recover.
The only bonus was that we weren't a goal down at halftime.
“The team has been effervescent and making loads of tackles in recent games, but I had to go absolutely berserk at half-time to get some kind of reaction.
“The players have said they were a bit tired after Saturday, but I don't buy that. I'm sure the people who have been at work all day will be tired too, but they would've loved to have the chance to run about the pitch, I'm sure I would.
In the second-half we were a little bit better and were well in the game. Both teams cancelled each other out, although we had a fantastic chance to win in the last minute.”
That was Greg Taylor's effort from an angle and Darlington's best chance of the game...
Cooper said: “The injuries to Nathan and Liam didn't help us, but that's no excuse.
Whoever plays has to put the work in and create their own atmosphere. When the fans can see it's not going well they can get a little bit negative and that doesn't help anyone.
“It's a clean sheet and another point, that's the only positive we can take from it.”
Darlington boss wants consistency from refs
by Andrew Wilkinson, Evening Gazette
DARLINGTON manager Mark Cooper bemoaned the inconsistency of referees after he was left with striker problems following last night's 0-0 draw with Mansfield.
Quakers have lost Tommy Wright for another two games after his appeal against a red card on Saturday failed.
And last night they lost Liam Hatch who was clattered by Mansfield defender Kevin Sandwith just before half-time.
The penalty area incident left Hatch needing stitches, as well as being denied a spot kick.
He was unable to continue, as was Nathan Modest, who was sent crashing down by ex-Darlington defender Steve Foster as referee, Seb Stockbridge again allowed play to continue.
“Hatch got smashed. He ended up looking like Freddy Krueger,” moaned Cooper. “The ref said he was too far up the pitch to see.”
Yet on Saturday, Wright was sent off for violent conduct in a challenge when the referee was 40 yards away.
“It's the inconsistency that is hard to take,” added the manager.
“It's ironic that we lose Wright for doing nothing, then that happens to Hatch, and the decision doesn't go our way.”
Hatch was Quakers most threatening player, but once 18-year-old forwards Curtis Main and Michael Smith were paired together in the second half, the side created little, and was relieved to see Mansfield's former Boro striker Paul Connor have an effort ruled out for offside - a marginal call - on 66 minutes.
Yet despite being out of sorts Quakers almost stole the points in stoppage time, when Aman Verma's shot was deflected into the path of Greg Taylor, whose drive flashed past the post.
The draw left Darlington well short of the play-off zone, though they are unbeaten in six games.
They host Kettering on Saturday, but must wait to see which forwards are fit.
Russell thrilled with display but felt Stags should have won
But the Stags were unable to get the goal that Russell felt they deserved.
"They have got the second best defensive record in the division and you can see why because they play very deep," said Russell.
"But we tried to take it to them, attack and entertain and I think the fans who came to the game will have seen that.
"I came here believing that it would be tougher than it was and while a point is a very good result with their home record, I'm upset that we haven't taken all three points because overall we were the better side.
"We had two ruled out for offside and I think the one in the first half was.
"But the one in the second I spoke to one of their defenders who said Paul Connor was level when he put it in – and Paul has said the same."
Russell was most happy with the improvement he has seen from his defenders after shipping plenty of goals in the early matches following his full-time appointment.
He said: "Neil Collett pulled off one great save in the first half but otherwise we did very well again at the back. I think that is the best we have defended as a team for a long, long time."
Striker Duffy is on his way out at Stags
ROB Duffy has played his last game for Mansfield Town, Duncan Russell confirmed last night.
Welsh club Neath are favourite to take the big striker after he failed to agree terms with Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Grimsby Town.
Duffy has scored 28 goals in 62 league starts and 16 substitute appearances since joining from Newport County in January 2009.
But he incurred the wrath of his boss when he was sent off for elbowing an opponent in the recent game with Fleetwood – sparking a humbling 5-2 defeat.
"Grimsby has fallen though and it now looks as though Neath are going to offer him a contract," said Russell.
"I have spoken to Rob and told him that I think it's in his and Mansfield's interests that we go our separate ways. Now it's up to him to go and find another club.
"But now I'm on the look-out for someone else because we need another one up there."
Russell is also taking on trial a 21-year-old right-back who has been at the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain.
Russell said: "The lad is coming in today because we don't have any cover at right-back for Gary Silk since Steve Cook went back (to Brighton, after a loan).
"He comes recommended and I have seen a DVD of him, so we'll have a closer look at him."
Quakers in DVD nasty
By Craig Stoddart, Deputy Sports Editor
AFTER making his side watch a DVD of Darlington's disappointing display against Mansfield Town, Mark Cooper is hoping for a big improvement when his side entertain Kettering Town tomorrow.
Tuesday's draw stretched Quakers unbeaten run in the league to five, but Cooper was far from happy with the performance which was met with boos at the final whistle.
Cooper's former side travel to The Northern Echo Arena on the back of two wins – and a third would take them above Quakers in the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
But the Quakers boss is keen to get one over his old club and hopes the re-run on Tuesday night's performance will ignite a reaction.
“It wasn't a good performance, especially the first half, the only good things were that we kept a clean sheet and didn't lose our unbeaten run,” he said.
“Because of that, rather than being sat at home with their feet up, the players had a nice afternoon today watching a repeat of the game.
“Hopefully it will be embarrassing for them and make them realise that playing like that is unacceptable.
“Sometimes it's good to show a DVD when you've played well, by the same token if you don't do what you're told then you'll be shown that.
“I don't expect them to play well in every game this season, but I do expect them to run about and put the effort in. If I asked a fan to play for Darlington on Saturday I know they would work hard and run about until they couldn't run any more.
“There's no excuse for not doing that but the other night there were one or two who didn't.
The DVD simply does not lie. I'm not asking them to do anything that they cannot do.
“The first thing they have to do is compete and if you don't do that in any game of football then you don't win.”
Quakers are waiting on the fitness of Liam Hatch and Nathan Modest after the strikers were both taken off against Mansfield, while Cooper admitted midfielder Gary Smith is also a doubt.
Hatch required stitches after receiving a facial wound, and Cooper added: “It'll be down to Hatchy whether or not he plays. You can guarantee that if he plays he will end up covered in blood. It was an awkward cut, a v-shape cut, underneath his eye.
“Nathan's was more of an impact injury after he was booted on the side, but Gary Smith is the most doubtful with an injured knee.”
Cooper will make at least one change with Paul Arnison returning at right-back ahead of Greg Taylor, who is unavailable due to the terms of his recent transfer from Kettering.
Latest | January 2011