Boss Nigel Clough says his players gave ‘everything’ in this afternoon’s Emirates FA Cup third round clash away at Cheltenham Town.
Extra time was needed to separate the sides after Stephen McLaughlin’s early opener was cancelled out by Alfie May.
A Will Boyle goal late in the second period of extra time was enough to see the Robins progress, but the Mansfield manager was left proud of the endeavour on display from his men.
“We’re very disappointed to be out of the FA Cup,” he told iFollow Stags. “To put so much effort in and battle as much as we did today, I don’t think we could’ve given any more.
“We threw our bodies on the line, got blocks in, and were 1-0 up for a large period of the game.
“To concede in the manner that we did, it was extremely disappointing. We have been starting games well and got the goal we deserved.
“I thought they pinned us back [after the opening goal], and we got away with one or two in our box. But generally speaking, we dealt with the majority that they threw at us.
“I thought the two centre-halves [Ryan Sweeney and Farrend Rawson] were excellent today.
“To go to extra time, you then think penalties are looming. But one of the most frustrating things about it [Cheltenham winner] was there was a foul on George Lapslie leading up to it, then when we cleared the ball, it wasn’t their throw.
“We didn’t get the ball down and play anywhere near as much as we did in the last few games. But give credit to them, they were swarming all over us and made it difficult to play.
“When you get that early goal, you want to defend it and look after it, and it’s the effort and the spirit that shone through for me.
“If you’re going to lose, you give everything, and we did that.”
The Stags were without captain Ollie Clarke (knee) and defender James Perch (illness) this afternoon, and the boss says their absence was felt in today’s performance.
“I thought we missed him [Ollie Clarke] and the experience of James Perch in this sort of environment,” he added.
“We missed them both and it was a blow losing them. He [Clarke] is 50-50 for Wednesday so there was no way he could’ve played [today].
“There was no way we could’ve taken him today, he was injured, so it’s as simple as that.
“Another few days and we may have had Kellan [Gordon] and Nicky Maynard available, so it left us a little short in areas.
“But despite that, we were so close to knocking out fourth in the league.”
Nigel Clough also looked ahead to Wednesday’s Sky Bet League Two fixture, away at Oldham Athletic.
“I hope they [players] take from it what we do, in terms of the spirit and everything that we showed today.
“We’re going to have to show that in all of the remaining league games, starting on Wednesday night at Oldham.
“There will be no excuses for fatigue or anything like that. We’ve played extra time, it does take it out of you, but I hope that everyone will recover enough for Wednesday night.
“We’re quite optimistic that Kellan Gordon and Nicky Maynard should be fit for Wednesday. We’ll see how Ollie Clarke and Perchy [James Perch] go, and obviously Tyrese Sinclair is still self-isolating.
“We could have three or four back for Wednesday.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Nigel Clough’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.