Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough believes the second-half of his team’s excellent 3-2 triumph away at Doncaster in the Emirates FA Cup second round was the best the Stags have played all season.
Mansfield have now made it to the third round of the FA Cup in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1979-80 and 1980-81 after reaching the same stage of the competition last season.
The boss was pleased that his side were able to control the second-half of the game with some superb passing football.
“That second 45 [minutes] was as good as we’ve been [this season],” he said.
“I thought the first-half we controlled. I thought the timings of our goals were very important.
“To get one back straight away [after the break] didn’t give them time to settle. It was a great flick at the near post by George Lapslie and Will Forrester got his first goal for us.”
George Lapslie’s slick match winner was the pick of the Mansfield goals at Keepmoat Stadium. The manager praised the Stags for taking the work on neat link-up play from the training ground to the game.
“Laps is in [a great] position for the second one but at last [an excellent passing move like] the third one has gone in.
“We score goals like that in training but at last we managed to put one in like that in a game. It should give us the confidence to play more like that and score more goals like that.
“The third goal was a brilliant, brilliant move.
“That’s what we do in training every day. We play one touch, two touch in and around the penalty area and everything is designed to get shots off and create chances.”
The Stags were backed by 3,292 supporters for the match. The boss felt the sold out away following helped Mansfield display free-flowing attacks in the second-half.
“Don’t underestimate the significance of that,” he said.
“We kicked towards them in the second-half and it makes a hell of a difference.
“I think we enjoyed it and they did [too] which is brilliant.
“We kept the ball [well in front of the supporters] and we nearly got a fourth ourselves. That was the idea, be nice and solid but you don’t stop looking for that fourth.”
Despite an encouraging performance from the Stags, the manager revealed he had to tackle a selection headache in the build-up to the game.
“We had a team picked yesterday, that changed at lunch time [yesterday] when we lost Oli Hawkins.”
When asked the reason for Hawkins’ exclusion from the matchday squad the manager said: “[He’s] Ill. The same as Faz Rawson.
“Faz Rawson had a bit of food poisoning or something on Wednesday and he’s just been wiped out.
“Oli Hawkins has got a bit of this flu that’s going around. He didn’t train Wednesday; he came in Friday but then woke up this morning not feeling great at all.
“With Stephen McLaughlin going off that was eight players we were without today. Five or six defenders and two of our main strikers in Oli Hawkins and Danny Johnson.”
After fine displays away from home in the first two Emirates FA Cup games this season, the manager hopes the Stags can host their fixture in the third round.
“We’re due a home draw so we’ll take anybody at home.
“It would be nice because Dagenham was the only home draw we’ve had in the last couple of seasons [in the Emirates FA Cup].
“It would be nice for our fans not having to go anywhere they could have a great day at One Call.”