Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft was encouraged by his players’ commitment in this evening’s 1-1 draw at home to Lincoln City, despite admitting his disappointment not to reward the Stags’ supporters with a victory.
Half-time substitute Joel Byrom headed the Stags ahead in the 49th minute before former Stags’ striker Ollie Palmer rescued a point for the visitors with a 90th minute equaliser.
Both sides finished with ten men after Luke Waterfall was first shown a red card for throwing a bottle into the Stags’ crowd after the Imps’ equaliser, before centre-half Rhys Bennett received a second yellow card for a foul on Palmer.
And after overseeing a draw in his first game in charge of the club, the gaffer was disappointed not to reward the club’s supporters with three points after receiving a rapturous welcome as he emerged from the tunnel prior to the game.
“I’m disappointed I’ve not been able to give the fans the home win I really wanted to give them and the three points," the manager said.
“The reception myself and Ben [Futcher, assistant manager] got was fantastic, I’m really appreciative of that.
“You can sense there’s an energy and they want to back the players. They’ve got a real belonging to the players for how they’ve performed this season and I just hope we can keep that energy high and that octane high.
“I was encouraged by the commitment. The commitment from all the lads, they’ve been good in the last two days but there’s still a lot of improvement.
“You can sense there’s an energy and they want to back the players. They’ve got a real belonging to the players for how they’ve performed this season and I just hope we can keep that energy high and that octane high."
“There’s still a lot work to do on the training ground, which I’m looking forward to. In possession, we can be a lot better on the ball, a lot calmer.
“When we did get it down and switch the play [in the] first half, for about eight or nine minutes, we looked a decent team and created a few chances.
“In the second half, the only bit of real quality was the goal. It’s a well-worked goal but there wasn’t much quality beyond that.”
The new Stags’ manager believes his side comfortably dealt with the physical presence of the Imps, in particular striker Matt Rhead, but admits Stags’ defence dropped too deep in the latter stages of the contest.
“From a spectacle, I don’t think it was a good spectacle at all. At times, we got involved in a sort of basketball match with them and you’ve got to retain the ball better against those types of teams because if you keep giving them the ball back, they keep shoving it down your throat.
“They keep coming at you and you’re susceptible to the goal we conceded. Later on in the game, we dropped too deep.
“Dealing with Rhead, when he’s on your six-yard box, becomes a problem. I thought the lads dealt with it, if I’m being honest, for 89 minutes. The crucial bit is dealing with it for 96 minutes and we didn’t.
“Lincoln keep coming at you, keep pressing you and don’t give you a minute. They throw the size on; they’re a big team anyway but they keep throwing the size on.”
Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager’s full post-match interview.