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Stunning first half, poor second - gaffer

25 November 2017

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans dubbed this afternoon's 2-2 draw at home to Chesterfield 'a game of two halves' after skipper Zander Diamond salvaged a point late on in an evenly-balanced local derby at One Call Stadium.

The Spireites went ahead against the run of play in the 14th minute when winger Joe Rowley curled the ball home from inside the box. The scores were level at the break, however, as right-back Hayden White struck his first goal for the club after good link-up play with striker Omari Sterling-James.

Chesterfield midfielder Andy Kellett headed the visitors back into the lead midway through the second half, before skipper Zander Diamond headed home his third goal of the week two minutes from time to extend Stags' unbeaten run to 10 games.

And despite admitting his side's second half performance didn't meet his expectations, the gaffer believes Stags deserved to take something from the game after a 'stunning' first half display.

"I think it was a game of two halves. I don't know how we go behind in the game, because we've had total dominance," the Stags' chief said. 

"I think you deserve a point if you take it over 90 minutes, not over the second half performance – I think we're second best in the second half. We were a street ahead in the first half and if we do our job properly in the first half, we probably turn [at half-time] two or three-zero and it's game over.

"I think you deserve a point if you take it over 90 minutes, not over the second half performance – I think we're second best in the second half."

Steve Evans, manager

"I think with that much dominance and that much good play and that many efforts at goal and good build-up play, all you want to see is that level of performance continue. If that continues, we win the game.

"It's not pleasure drawing at home to Chesterfield. Let me say something straight here: we go home down but I'm just pleased for our supporters that we were able to draw the game because I know from being in the town just how much it means to them.

"Apologies that the second half wasn't good, but the first half was stunning."

The gaffer was pleased to see his 'gamble' pay off as he replaced midfielder Joel Byrom with forward Jimmy Spencer in the 72nd minute and the former Leeds United boss believes his side could've gone on to win the game after skipper Diamond grabbed an 88th minute leveller.

"I made the decision to gamble to get back in the match late on, rather than lose. Losing's not what we're used to; it's 10 games now, and when people look at that goal – I know people say different things about different goals – but that is a training ground goal.

"[It was] fantastic play; a great cross from [Alex] MacDonald and a great header with Zander. I thought we were going to get the winner; we were unlucky with Alfie [Potter] on a couple of occasions and Jimmy and we'd have obviously loved to have won for the supporters.

"I'll tell you what we did have, we had character at the end. I think even after we scored, you're suddenly seeing that the bottom of the table side froze and they were trying to bring substitutes on all the way through injury time because they knew then it was whether they could hang on."

Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager's post-match interview.


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