Striker Ricky Miller claims Mansfield Town left themselves too much of a mountain to climb this afternoon as they were beaten 4-3 by Crewe Alexandra at the One Call Stadium as a spirited second half display was not enough to overturn the 4-1 deficit Crewe held at the interval.
Miller was introduced at the break along with fellow forward Danny Rose and made a big impact, helping to assist Kane Hemmings’ 50th minute goal before scoring his first goal for the Stags in the 77th minute.
This was after Lee Angol’s first half goal was sandwiched in between four Crewe goals scored by James Jones, Jordan Bowery, Harry Pickering and Charlie Kirk all inside a frenetic opening 27 minutes.
Speaking post-match, the on-loan Peterborough United forward claims the Stags were punished for that poor opening half an hour period.
“We just left ourselves too much to do,” said Miller.
“We could’ve nicked a point, could’ve nicked three maybe but we can’t be giving teams a three goal head start.
“We’re disappointed. We can’t put our finger on it but we’re not going to give up."
“We just didn’t turn up in the first half. If we could have started [like we played in the second half], on the front foot, going for broke, we could have been 4-1 up at half time.
“[In] the second half, they were just holding on to a lead so it gave us the freedom to play a little bit.
“There was a couple of penalty shouts. Maybe if we’d have scored with five minutes to go, you never know but it’s all ‘Ifs and buts’. We come away with no points and we’ve got to get points on Tuesday. [Today’s] gone, we’re in tomorrow and roll on Tuesday.”
The defeat means Mansfield have now lost their last four league encounters but the Stags are still well in the race for a play-off place in the Sky Bet League Two and Miller claims he and his fellow Stags are not giving up with five games to go.
“We’re disappointed. We can’t put our finger on it but we’re not going to give up.
“We’re two points outside the play offs, there’s a lot to play for and there’s lots of twists and turns [to come]. We’ve just got keep our heads up and go again.
“We’ve just got to dig in. We know we’re good enough, we’ve been there, we’ve done it. We’ve just got to retune ourselves in and focus on Tuesday.
“We can’t do [anything] about [today], we can learn from it, we can work harder and just focus on that next game.”
On a personal level, Miller’s celebration after netting his first goal in amber and blue showed how much it meant to the 29 year old and after making an impact off the bench, he is now looking for a run of games in the Stags team to help them in their hunt for play-off glory.
“[I was] a little bit rusty. I had the shot for the first goal [which striker Kane Hemmings] tapped in and scored the other one.
“I need a run of games, it would be nice if I could get a run of games and we could get into the play offs but it’s out of my control.
“I was disappointed to not start but it’s one of those things. I’m not in charge of team selection, the gaffer is, and you’ve got to respect his decision.
“I’ve just got to turn up for training, get my head down and focus on Tuesday.”
Watch Ricky Miller's post match interview in full later tonight on iFollow Stags.