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Manager describes 'hard-earned' away point

29 January 2019


Manager describes 'hard-earned' away point

29 January 2019

Stags' boss David Flitcroft has summarised tonight's 1-1 draw at Forest Green Rovers as a 'hard-earned point' against a 'very good team.'

The Stags took a one-goal lead into the break courtesy of Jorge Grant, whose finish capped off a fine first-half showing from the amber and blue.

Despite hitting the woodwork and having strong penalty appeals waved away in the first-half, the Stags would be pegged back by a Reuben Reid header in the second period.

The manager reflected on the first-half chances for his side, but maintained that being defeated just once on the road in league matters this season is an 'impressive' feat.

"At 1-0, a team always has hope, and you have to take that hope from them," he said. "We hit the bar [twice] with Nicky's [Ajose] header and then the wonder strike from Ty [Walker].

"Then there was a penalty we should've had. Bar a few inches, we end up 3-0 up first-half. We really got about them in the first-half.

"Second-half they had a rally and were really moving it about well. They had nothing to lose and pegged us back.

"We then did earn the point and respected it. One defeat all season on the road is quite impressive.

"Granty's shot is instinctive. It's a fantastic finish. The cleverness by Nicky with the little reverse pass, and he's took it early with the 'keeper not set.

"We'll go home with a hard-earned point against a very good team who win a lot of games here."

David Flitcroft, manager

"We allowed crosses from their right-hand side a little too easily in the second-half. They kept coming and asking questions of us.

"The effort and togetherness of this squad coming down here again and competing like they have done, they gave us everything tonight.

"We'll go home with a hard-earned point against a very good team who win a lot of games here."

The Stags have been active in the transfer market this week, securing Fleetwood right wing-back Gethin Jones on loan until the end of a season, and seeing defender Ryan Sweeney commit his future to the Stags on a free transfer from Stoke City.

The manager spoke of what both deals bring to the club.

"With the Hayden White [injury], it does floor you. So we had to find someone who's been taught as a full-back," he added.

"He [Jones] is an adventurous defender who plays with aggression. He nearly scored early doors.

"He's someone that we've looked at for quite a while. He suits what we're trying to do here, either as a wing-back or a full-back.

"Stoke have been brilliant. Ryan's agent has been good as well. He's found a home here, a million per cent. The lads love him in the dressing room.

"He is a leader. He really balances that [left] side off. I think he's had a really good season - he's been excellent.

"We've established some assets in our team and I see Ryan as an asset for the football club.

"It shows progress. He's a young, good asset for the football club. It's up to me now to keep developing him and making him better.

"Greg [Abbott, head of football operations] is working hard on the balance of the squad and making sure our numbers are right.

"We're still working as there's another 48 hours as we speak. We're working on certain aspects, and if they come off, great.

"I've had two windows to balance the squad, tidy it up and get the age right down. We know we've come out of it [January] stronger."

Mansfield welcome Macclesfield Town to One Call Stadium on Saturday, an occasion that allows free entry for under-18s, following a scheme from chairman John Radford and chief executive Carolyn Radford.

The Stags' boss says it would be 'brilliant' to have 'young energy' inside the stadium on Saturday.

"The stadium against Tranmere was brilliant. You can feel the optimism. There's a stadium full of shared passion.

"The football is good and there is an energy about what we do. We want more fans in and want them to come down.

"That younger element that might have something planned, come down and bring your pals and have an afternoon at the One Call.

"It's your town and there is a togetherness growing. It would be brilliant to have that young energy and optimism."

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