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Stags' boss pays credit to 'wonderful support'

22 January 2018

Boss Steve Evans has paid tribute to the ‘wonderful’ support showed in Stags’ remarkable 3-2 victory over Cheltenham Town at One Call Stadium on Saturday and quipped that he was worried for the structure of the stands when CJ Hamilton fired a late winner.

Speaking at his weekly news converence on Monday morning, the manger told and the local media: ""I'm not going to speak about the five or six people [who made comments behind the dugout in Saturday's match], out of what three and a half thousand Stags fans and let me tell you when we scored that equalising goal I thought this roof might come in, but I definitely thought it was coming in when we scored the winner and that’s tribute to the Stags fans. 

"They’re wonderful, they’re passionate, they’re caring and they’re supportive.

"I'm waiting this morning to see how our supporter is who joined in with the celebrations, his back must be in bits. He's watching 14 stone muscle, about five of them jumping on him. What a wonderful moment to celebrate with the players that he probably adores on a weekly basis."

CJ Hamilton scored a brace for Stags on Saturday, sending the crowd at One Call Stadium into raptures with a 94th minute winner. The boss revealed that he has batted off offers from other clubs who had submitted transfer bids for the winger.

“We love CJ and if the kid continues to work on his final product, he continues to care when he has the ball and I’ve said it before he’s one of the players who could go and play higher. He’s one we’ve rejected offers from other club.

“He threatens every team we play against but I didn’t think CJ was terrific on Saturday, not by any stretch, but he gets in at the back post which a year ago he wouldn’t have.

"We’ve encouraged him to get in there and it’s wonderful. CJ said on Saturday that he picked his spot and when you look at it back then you see he does and it’s a wonderful finish.”

Reflecting on Saturday's extraordinary match at One Call Stadium - which saw three red cards - two of which to Cheltenham - five goals and Stags completing a dramatic comeback, the manager said: “We started the match reasonably brightly, we were on the front foot. You’re always going to be subject to a counter attack especially the way Cheltenham played.

"They’re wonderful, they’re passionate, they’re caring and they’re supportive.”

Steve Evans on the Stags' support at home to Cheltenham on Saturday

" think their front two looked lively so credit to [Krystian] Pearce and [Rhys] Bennett.

“They got in behind and in a moment where we should have defended much better Krystian Pearce trips the fellow, it’s not Hayden [White] after we’ve looked at the footage and Krystian has confirmed it’s a little trip. It’s a penalty kick, we thought it at the time.

"The referee gets it right, it’s a penalty and Pell puts it in the back of the net which you’d expect him to do, he’s a decent player.

“I think we gave it a bit of a go after that. We got the equaliser, we should have possibly equalised before that and we should have certainly gone in ahead at half-time but we said at half-time we don’t need to win this game in the first five minutes of the second half but I said tongue-in-cheek it might take 96th or 97th minutes to win it and my words came true.

“I thought the second half we were on top. They were very seldom in our half. It’s great when you make a substitution who scores within a few minutes of coming on.

"Not only is that a great finish from Kane [Hemmings], it’s a great touch and finish. Then he has such a clever movement to allow Mal Benning to step in and create the third goal.

“From that point of view, I think 'did we deserve to win'? 100% we deserved to win based on play, based on possession in and around their box and it’s always said that it’s a great way to go in and win a game.

“Conrad Logan has to make a super save [near the end] because I think one or two of the boys at the back thought we’re going on our jollies for the evening and we’d won the game. When you think like that you get punished but Conrad has made a number of big saves for us over the season and he made another one there.”

Saturday's match referee Darren Handley will have experienced arguably one the most challenge games in which has officiated, to which our manager said: “The referee gets every big decision on the field of play and off the field of play 100% correct for me.

"Maybe the referee went home on Saturday night and poured himself a glass of wine or had a beer.

"I think he must have bought four bottles on the way home because that was a real tough match on the field and off the field too, to officiate in but he showed his experience. He got the big decisions right and that’s first at eyesight and with looking back at the footage yesterday and of course today.

“Well done referee. They’ve taken stick off me in recent weeks for the right reasons because their decisions have not been right, even on review, but the referee can be really pleased that he’s had a very efficient afternoon.”

Jacob Mellis looked to pull his hamstring in Saturday’s win and was replaced in the 28th minute by Lee Angol. The gaffer offered an update on the classy midfielder.

“Jacob [Mellis] has a scan [booked in] just after four o’clock today. It was the quickest we could get him in. He was feeling much better yesterday than he did on Saturday night. That’s no indication of course. We’ll see what the scan results show and I’ll know this evening.”

Supporters can watch the gaffer’s full news conference by logging into iFollow Stags later today.


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