Stags’ boss Nigel Clough has offered his post-match thoughts following Saturday afternoon’s 2-2 draw with Grimsby Town.
Mansfield twice took the lead via goals from George Maris and Jason Law, but were ultimately pegged back by a stunning free-kick from Grimsby substitute George Williams in stoppage time.
The manager says his side did not make the most of an encouraging first-half.
“We’re disappointed with the result after having led twice in the game,” he told iFollow Stags. “Two set plays we’ve conceded from.
“We had to scrap and battle, and when you’re playing the team where they are, that’s the way it was going to be.
“Generally we dealt with the majority of things, but the lad [Williams] has hit a brilliant free-kick and they’ve had a free header from a corner.
“When you get in the lead twice against bottom of the league, you expect to win the game.
“We missed our opportunity in the first-half to get more than one goal. We didn’t make the most of our situations, and then you’re only holding a one goal lead.
“We usually create stuff here and score goals, but you have to keep clean sheets and deal with the opposition.
“We have to get up the other end of the pitch [in the closing stages]. When we’re defending these leads, if we can get up the pitch, win a free-kick and spend some time in the opposition half, that’s the best way to deal with it.”
Both Maris and Law netted their first goals for Mansfield this afternoon, and the boss says the maiden strikes from the pair was the main ‘positive’ from the match.
“I didn’t realise it was his first [Mansfield] goal, but if it is, it’s an unbelievable first goal for him [Maris],” he added.
“It was good build-up to the goal as well. Little ball inside [from Stephen McLaughlin] then an unstoppable shot from 20 yards. It was a brilliant strike.
“The two big positives from the game was those two lads [Maris and Law] getting their first goals.
“It should’ve been enough to win us the game, and we threw everyone on to try and deal with the set plays.”
Nigel Clough made five substitutions in the second-half, and spoke of his reasoning for some of the changes after the game: “We needed some height to come onto the pitch somewhere and Ryan [Sweeney] can run around and hopefully win us a few headers.
“Unfortunately, he ended up giving the free-kick away, 25 yards out, which got the equaliser.
“As a defender, it doesn’t matter where you come onto the pitch, you don’t want to be giving those free-kicks away.
“[Oli Sarkic has a] hamstring] injury. It’s disappointing really as he kicked the ball out because he was struggling, and we didn’t get the ball back from Grimsby.
“He felt his hamstring, we were going to bring somebody else off, but we had to change the substitution.”
There was also a word on skipper Ollie Clarke, who was rested for today’s clash.
“It [Clarke rest] was because of an accumulation of the knocks and things that he’s had.
“He trained a little on Wednesday and yesterday morning, but he doesn’t feel anywhere near at the moment.
“It was that [enforced] break that we had that did us. Nobody could’ve envisaged having such a long break with the games being off.
“The Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday is catching up with the players. Jamie Reid was on his knees today and that was the reason he came off.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.