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Archived News from August 2019

18th August 2019 22:43

Stags rue missed chances - manager
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 13 August 2019

Manager John Dempster says he is ‘gutted’ at Mansfield’s exit from the Carabao Cup, citing the lack of a ‘clinical’ edge from his side as the reason for tonight’s loss on penalties at home to Morecambe.

The Stags pulled the game back on two occasions through Krystian Pearce and Omari Sterling-James, but could not capitalise on their one-man advantage following Luke Conlan’s straight red card.

After the 2-2 full-time scoreline, Mansfield were eventually knocked out of the competition by way of a 6-5 penalty shootout defeat.

The boss has called for his players to ‘step up.’

“I’m really disappointed and gutted that we’re not in the next round,” he said. “We worked hard to get back in the game, but when you concede as easily as we did, it will be a struggle.


“I think the boys tried, but we weren’t good enough in our defensive box. I’m absolutely gutted.

“I thought the supporters were good tonight. We had to be patient after the sending off, as Morecambe were defensive and rightly so.

“They put their bodies on the line to defend and we’ve come up short tonight.

“That final ball, that cross, that clinical finish was lacking. Not for the want of trying, but it’s not good enough.

“The Chief [Krystian Pearce] has stepped up and got us back in it with his header. We need more people like that, stepping up when it matters.

“I was really pleased for Omari [Sterling-James] when he came off the bench to score. He’s been training brilliantly and he made an impact straight away.”

The manager picked out 20-year-old Alistair Smith’s (pictured below, right) performance as a positive to take from this evening’s game.

“We picked a team that we thought could beat Morecambe,” he added. “But also, we managed to get some players game time that needed it.

“Young Alistair Smith did well tonight in a pressure game. For a young player, he stepped up and got on the ball.

“He could have moved it quicker at times, but he was brave enough to get on it. He also stepped up and took a penalty, which was a massive positive.”

John Dempster also confirmed that performances from his players this evening - good and bad - have posed selection questions ahead of Saturday’s trip to Carlisle.

“Yes, from a positive point of view and negative [players’ performances pose selection questions for Carlisle match].

“You’re always being assessed as a player. Beyond that white line, everyone is judging you and people have their opinions of you.

“I’m no different. I’m looking at the players and willing them to do well. When you have a match in midweek, that’s what the players are assessed in and we came up short.”

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


Mansfield Town boss John Dempster gutted as his side come up short in penalties defeat to Morecambe
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 13 August 2019

Mansfield Town manager John Dempster admitted his side had fallen short as they crashed out of the Carabao Cup on penalties to 10-men Morecambe tonight.

Dempster made five changes, but is still left looking for his first win as a manager after they twice had to come from behind against a battling Shrimps, who were down to 10 men for 68 minutes of the game, before losing the shoot-out 6-5.

“I am gutted we are not in the next round,” he said.


“We worked hard to get back in the game but when you concede as easily as we did from set plays it’s always going to be a struggle.

“I think the boys tried but you have got to be ruthless and we were not good enough defending basic set plays in our box, which is tactical - knowing your job.

“They all have jobs to do. It’s also psychological. Have you got the will to go and head the ball away before the opposition? We lacked that for the two goals.”

Dempster continued: “I thought the supporters were good tonight.

“There were a few moans and groans as we had to be patient and move the ball to create chances as, after the sending-off, Morecambe parked the bus - and rightly so. They put their bodies on the line to defend and we came up short.

“It wasn’t for the want of trying but, in the business we’re in, that’s not good enough. You have to step up to the mark.”

Despite the disappointment, there were some positives for the manager to take away.

“The Chief (Krystian Pearce) stepped up to score his goal and I was really pleased to see Omari (Sterling-James) come off the bench to score,” he said,.

“He has been training brilliantly and he made an impact straight away.

“We picked a team we though could beat Morecambe and progress and managed to get some players some game time who needed it.

“I thought young Alistair Smith did well tonight in a pressure cooker game. For a young player he stepped up and was brave enough to get on the ball - and he was also brave enough to take a penalty.

“The penalties were a rollercoaster. There were some good penalties and some bad ones.

“The players practice penalties every day and yesterday was no different. You want players with the character to step up and those who did were brave enough to do so.”

Dempster said some of the side had enhanced their claims for a shirt at Carlisle on Saturday while others had done themselves no favours.

“They were all assessed - some from a positive point of view and some from a negative,” he said.


Mansfield Town boss John Dempster orders his leaky defence to tighten up
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 13 August 2019

Mansfield Town’s watertight defence were the foundation of the club’s excellent season last time around, finishing up League Two’s meanest defence.

Before the new season kicked off skipper Krystian Pearce said his target was 25 clean sheets this time around, so to concede two goals in each of the opening three winless games is a major concern for boss John Dempster.


Steven Old made full use of two openings offered to him from set pieces to bag a brace last night with Dempster questioning his side’s will to get there first.

“We can’t defend like that from set plays. That was the undoing of us,” he said. “Players know their roles and responsibilities.

“It comes down to getting that first contact on the header.

“But Morecambe had more will than us to get that first contact, which is really disappointing.

“I didn’t feel, even when Morecambe had 11 men on the pitch, they were ever going to open us up. It was more from the set play deliveries and our players standing up to them and heading it away.”

However, Pearce did pop up at the other end and typified the spirit he is looking for.

“The flip side is KP came up with a really good header in the opposition’s box,” said Dempster.

“You want players who will go and put their head in where it hurts and Krystian did that tonight - and he did it at Newport.

“If we had a few more people doing that, we’d pick up more points and progress to the following round in cups.”


Alistair Smith can go all the way says Mansfield Town boss John Dempster as big clubs keep an eye on midfield prospect
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 13 August 2019

Mansfield Town manager John Dempster believes young midfielder Alistair Smith can go all the way in the game if he continues to listen and learn.

Dempster said bigger clubs were constantly monitoring the progress of the 20-year-old, who made his second start in the first team in last night’s Carabao Cup penalties defeat by Morecambe.

“Alistair’s performance was a real positive. Sometimes he can shift the ball a bit quicker,” said Dempster.

“But the fact he has the bravery to get on it and he’s got the bravery to step up and take a penalty in a pressure cooker situation is a massive bonus.


“I am constantly getting enquiries about him from clubs from higher divisions.

“He is a real talent and a real prospect. He showed some great qualities tonight.

“Yes, he made a couple of mistakes, but so did our senior pros.

“He is a player that has got a bright future.

“He can certainly play higher than this level.

“But he will have to prove himself first at this level before he moves anywhere else.”

Former academy manager Dempster added: “He is a player I have known for four years now, which has gone quickly. He has the right temperament, he’s got technical ability, and he is a willing learner.

“So he has all the attributes to be a top player. I think he will be one.

“As long as he stays grounded and humble I think he will go a long way.”


Has Mansfield Town prospect Alistair Smith forced his way into boss John Dempster’s thoughts for Carlisle away?
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 13 August 2019

Young Mansfield Town central midfield prospect Alistair Smith is hoping he has done enough to force his way into manager John Dempster’s thoughts for the weekend trip to Carlisle United.

The 20-year-old was given his second ever start in the first team in last night’s home penalties Carabao Cup exit to Morecambe and impressed with a calm head on his inexperienced shoulders.

Hoping to now keep the shirt, Smith said: “I’d like to think so, but all I can do is go out there and do my best and whatever the gaffer decides will ultimately be what happens.

“I will now just try to stay fit for if I am needed or required, ready to come on and show what I can do.

“I was happy with my performance. It’s good to get 90 minutes into my legs as it was my first appearance of the season competitively.

“I think I could have moved the ball a bit quicker in certain situations, but that comes with patterns of play and getting used to game time really.”

Smith began the game alongside debut-making Dion Donohue and the pair worked well together.

“Dion is a top player,” said Smith. “So, obviously, with me being young and still coming through, it was great to play alongside him and get the experience.

“It’s just about adjusting to the pace for me. I have played a lot of U21s football.

“So to come here and play 90 minutes at this pace can sometimes catch you out a bit. With more game time under my belt I am sure I will be all right.

“It’s a massive step up. You don’t really notice until you are in the game.”

Smith thought he had won the tie with a late thunderbolt from outside the box that just passed wide at the last minute.

“I was already reeling off,” he smiled.

“Obviously I was right behind it and thought it was arrowing in, but I think I just hit it too sweet and it’s just gone a bit to the left.


“It was about five yards wide. It was unlucky but that’s football.”

Overall, Smith said the side did need to defend better, but deserved to win the tie in 90 minutes on chances created.

“If you are playing at home and scoring two goals you should most of the time be winning the game,” he said.

“So you’ve got to look at the defending from set pieces. It never helps conceding two goals, so we always had a mountain to climb.

“But I felt we did well overall and it was a good performance from the boys.

“I think we did enough to win it in 90 minutes. We created chances and were unlucky when we hit the crossbar a couple of times and the post.

“We had a lot of near chances and if you don’t take them you get an end result like this.

“It was really frustrating. You do all your hard work and create your chances - some days they go in and on others they don’t.”

After having a man sent off after just 22 minutes when they led 1-0, the visitors inevitably shut up shop and made life hard for Stags.

“Sometimes you get the ball and see a sea of shirts. They were doing a good job and worked very hard,” said Smith.

“But we did create chances. We were unlucky and on another day we could have come away winning this.

“You do get the inkling sometimes, wondering if it’s going to go in or not. Then when it goes to penalties it’s a lottery from there.

“Everyone is disappointed. But that’s football - some days you win, some days you don’t, but you just go again. You don’t have a choice.”

Smith coolly slotted his own penalty away in the 6-5 spot kicks defeat and said: “We practised the penalties in a training session yesterday, so we had an idea where we were going.

“But it’s never the same in a match. You’ve got the crowd and everything. You’ve just got to be confident and stick to your side.”


We need to finish chances - midfielder
mansfieldtown.net, Tuesday 13 August 2019

Midfielder Alistair Smith believes missed chances were Mansfield Town’s downfall this evening as they were beaten 6-5 on penalties by Morecambe in the Carabao Cup.

The Stags twice came from a goal down to level proceedings when Steven Old’s duo of headers were cancelled out first by Krystian Pearce and then Omari Sterling-James, as the game finished 2-2 after 90 minutes, leading to the taking of spot-kicks.

And despite the hosts creating chances in abundance, the youngster feels as though his side were unable to take the extra one that would have tipped the Round One contest in their favour.


“That’s what it felt like [missed chances],” the 20-year-old began. “Conceding at the other end never helps but it’s a bit of both.

“It’s frustrating. You do the hard work, you create the chances but that’s football - some days they go in and some days they don’t.

“I think we did enough [to win]. We created plenty of chances, hit the crossbar and had a lot of nearly chances but if you don’t take them you get an end result like this.”

The Stags’ number 30, who made his second senior appearance for Mansfield this evening, continued by assessing his own performance in a critical, yet positive manner.

“I thought I did well but I feel as though I can move the ball a bit quicker in certain situations - that probably comes with patterns of play and getting used to having game time.

“It was good to get 90 minutes in the tank in a competitive environment, it felt like we did well and it was a good performance from the boys.

“It’s a massive step up, you don’t really notice until you’re in with the pace of the game and sometimes it can catch you out.

“Like I said, it’s about getting more game time under my belt, getting used to it and I’ll be alright.”

Smith also revealed his ambitions for the remainder of the campaign as he seeks more regular first-team action.

“All I can do is go out there and do my best,” he continued. “Whatever the gaffer’s decision is at the end of the day is what goes.

“[It’s about] staying fit, ready to come on if required and show what I can do.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Alistair's interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later tonight.


Morecambe boss Jim Bentley praises character of 10 men and apologises for red card tackle as they knock Mansfield Town out the cup
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 13 August 2019

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley praised the character of his 10 men after they put Mansfield Town out of the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle on penalties tonight.

Steven old had twice put the visitors in front, despite being down to 10 men since the 22nd minute for Luke Conlan’s bad tackle on Kellan Gordon.

In the end the Shrimps proved the coolest from the spot, winning 6-5 in sudden death and Bentley beamed: “It was an excellent win. I am proud of them. It was backs against the wall stuff and we had to dig in.


“We know Mansfield are a good side. They have quality in their side and they bring on quality.

“So we had to put our bodies on the line and Mark Halstead made a couple of good saves.

“The fans who travelled over got behind us and I think we deserved a bit of luck as don’t usually get it. It’s a fantastic feeling to get into the next round.

“I am pleased there wasn’t any extra time as that would have been really tough.

“We needed to show character and we came through with flying colours.

“Some clubs could come here and fold, certainly when down to 10m men against good opposition. But we kept going and that’s the biggest thing for me tonight.”

Bentley had no arguments over the red card tackle by Conland and publicly apologised to Mansfield Town.

He said: “I have no complaints - it was silly by him. He knows that and he has apologised to the players. We can’t have that.

“I like to have a good discipline record - we were okay last year.

“I have never seen that in him in training or his make-up. So to flip out like he did was bizarre.

“It’s out of character. Everyone has a little red mist now and again. But he is one of, if not the, most level headed person in the squad.

“It was a terrible tackle and we apologise for that as it could have caused the lad serious injury.”



Latest | August 2019