Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his side were ‘outstanding from start to finish’ in this afternoon’s record-breaking 1-0 victory at home to Northampton Town.
The Stags set a new club record of 11 successive home league victories.
Oli Hawkins’ clinical header on 21 minutes moves Mansfield up into the play-off positions in Sky Bet League Two.
Speaking in his post-match interview with the local press, the boss was full of praise for his side.
“The performance certainly warranted the three points today,” he said.
“Against one of the top teams in the league [Northampton] - I thought we were outstanding from start to finish.
“[There were] A lot of good individual performances today, made up with a great team win.
“There are eight games still to go but it’s nice to get back into the top seven, [especially] with those games in hand.”
The Stags’ chief took pride in the way Mansfield manufactured the match-winning goal.
“They’re [Northampton] known for being very dangerous from set-plays so it was nice to score with one of our own,” said Nigel.
“How we haven’t scored another one after that is more down to their goalkeeper [making fine saves] than anything.
“It was a good corner from Matty Longstaff [for the goal], we try to put it [the deliveries] in the right sort of areas and it’s a brilliant header.
“[The header was] No more [brilliant] than the rest of his [Hawkins’] performance today.”
On the key to protecting the one goal advantage, the boss said: “We didn’t make any mistakes today, that’s the key.
“We made a couple of little ones on Tuesday night [at Hartlepool], and we were punished.
“Sometimes you get away with them but today we didn’t make any mistakes.
“I think Nathan Bishop was a spectator for much of the game, especially the second-half.”
Northampton went down to ten men when Paul Lewis brought down George Lapslie before appearing to retaliate towards Mansfield’s number 32.
“I think he’s [the referee] given him [Lewis] two yellows: one for the tackle and one for the push.
“It’s not [then] an absolute certainty that you’re going to go on and win the game [after the opposition lose a man], that’s why we wanted the second goal.
“We were doing everything we could to get it.
“We got into some brilliant positions and situations today, their goalkeeper made a few outstanding saves and also, they made a lot of blocks.”
The manager’s side displayed defensive resolve to ensure the victory and clean sheet remained intact.
“I thought the back four were excellent,” the gaffer said.
“We’re missing our main man out of that in James Perch with illness but it’s lovely [to get a clean sheet].
“I’m not sure who would’ve missed out, but James Perch would’ve played today.
“The four of them [Hewitt, O’Toole, Hawkins, McLaughlin] and Bish [Nathan Bishop], when called upon, were outstanding today.”
Top scorer Rhys Oates was withdrawn in the second-half due to injury, the boss provided an update on the striker’s fitness.
“His thigh just tightened up.
“I’m going to go down and see him and see what he’s like.
“This is why we were leaving him [out] for a game here and there.
“We didn’t do it with Jamie Murphy, we should’ve done it on Tuesday night [away at Hartlepool].
“He’s [Murphy] ended up with a tight hamstring and now we’ve got Oatesy with a tight thigh.
“I would think they’re both doubts for Tuesday.”
Speaking further about Perch, who missed out through illness, the boss said: “He [Perch] was ill yesterday and didn’t come into training.
“It was just whether it was a 24-hour bug had he recovered, unfortunately he hadn’t.
“Faz Rawson has been ill all week, he didn’t train yesterday.
“He [Rawson] couldn’t have started either.
“Hopefully if he’s okay, Perchy will be back involved on Tuesday.”
The manager was pleased to see his side perform so well in front of a bumper home crowd of 6,678 at One Call Stadium.
“We like playing here [at One Call Stadium].
“To get the [record of] 11 consecutive home [league] wins, I don’t know if it will be beaten in quite some time.
“It’s lovely to get that, lovely to get the clean sheet.
“I hope everybody enjoyed the game today because we did, I thought we played well.
“I think it was a brilliant performance.”
Watch the boss' interview now on iFollow Stags by clicking here.