Stags’ boss David Flitcroft has described this afternoon’s 1-1 draw with high-flying MK Dons as a ‘committed’ display from two ‘very good football teams.’
Midfielder Jacob Mellis opened the scoring with a thunderous strike on 17 minutes, before Jordan Houghton’s long-range effort wrapped up the afternoon’s scoring less than ten minutes later.
It was a tightly-contested affair throughout, and despite believing his side should have been awarded a penalty, the manager described the 1-1 final scoreline as a fair result.
“[Stags and MK Dons] are two very good football teams,” said the Stags’ boss. “Both sets of players committed to an end-to-end game of football.
“We had two teams that went to try and win the game and go for the jugular. MK Dons are, in terms of style of play, one of the best teams in the league.
“I’m not going to say I am happy with the point. When he [Mellis] scored I knew what it meant to him. I just wanted the three points for him and he deserved to get that. It was a goal worthy of winning a game.
“On the flip side, you could say their goal was deserving of equalising the game. They were two fantastic strikes.
“On reflection, it’s probably a fair result. But it was a real committed performance from both teams.
“I was disappointed not to get a penalty. When a defender makes a mistake, and Tyler [Walker] gets in, he almost has to make a second mistake to correct the first one.
"On reflection, it’s probably a fair result. But it was a real committed performance from both teams."
“He is out of position, Tyler has got in and had a touch. Why would a striker who is desperate to score for us go down? He’s ready to pull the trigger and is bundled over.”
The Stags’ boss was delighted with the way his players started the contest, and heavily praised Mellis’ sumptuous strike.
“They [MK Dons] are the best team we have come up against,” added the manager. “I thought first half we were really good. It was dominant and we asked questions of them.
“We have to make sure that we hit the target [with our chances]. We’re doing a lot of work on it at the minute. That’s probably the only disappointing aspect from the game.
“I said to them [the players], connect with the fans and have an aggressive start, and they did. They really took the game to MK Dons. It was a fast, aggressive start.
“The goal [by Mellis], if you see that at the top level we’d be talking about it all night. It probably won’t get the justice because we’re League Two.
“It was football that I wanted to see, and we caused them lots of problems in the first half. We looked like a really good team.
“We lost our way a little in the second half, possibly with Otis [Khan] coming off. About ten minutes before half-time, he had a problem with his Achilles tendon. We probably lacked a bit of creation and a ball-carrier from then.”
Mansfield have the joint-best defensive record in the league [alongside MK Dons], and manager David Flitcroft once again spoke highly of his ‘brilliant’ back-line.
“[We’ve] not [had] enough wins, but we will get them and they will come. I’m a big believer in performance and making sure the performance has been good, which it has been.
“To really drive us up the league now, those back-to-back wins are important. The players need to understand that they are a good set of players.
“The back-three again today, against a fantastic forward line, I thought were brilliant. If we get that penalty and score that second goal, it would have been a long way for them to come back.”
Lastly, the manager touched on an injury to goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik, after the Stags’ stopper went down holding his leg midway through the second half.
“That’s the type of injury [to Olejnik] that tightens up over time. We’re going to have to spend a lot of time tonight and look after the injury site. We won’t know until tomorrow.
“They are injuries that you leave today. It’s an injury that stiffens up and we just have to be mindful of that tomorrow.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.