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Boss evaluates Northampton point

26 December 2022

Manager Nigel Clough described Mansfield as ‘rusty’ despite matching third place Northampton Town to earn an important 1-1 draw at One Call Stadium.

The two sides were split evenly in possession and the hosts came close to winning it when Will Swan added his eighth league goal of the season on 84 minutes.  

However, current League Two top scorer Sam Hoskins levelled late for the Cobblers with an impressive volley. 

“We didn’t put the ball in the right areas enough today,” Clough told iFollow Stags. 

“[We] were a bit rusty after two weeks without a game, we looked it. It’s no excuse but it’s not ideal when we’ve had 16 days without one. Northampton played in the week and you could see that, [they had] a settled side, a settled formation and some very good players.

“I think they’re the best team in the league, in terms of an all-round team I think they’re probably the best in the league.”  

The gaffer felt good decision making in the latter stages would’ve earned his side an impressive draw. 

Clough said: “They’re the sort of team that we’re chasing and they’re the ones that we’ve got to try and beat here [at One Call Stadium] and we were a few minutes off doing that.

“If we had made better decisions in the last few minutes I think we see the game through.

“It’s been about making good decisions, not making mistakes and giving opportunities to the opposition and we gave them a good one today, it was a hell of a finish but the ball should’ve been in their corner flag.”  

Next up, Mansfield travel to 21st placed Hartlepool on Thursday in the final game of 2023. 

The manager provided a fitness update ahead of the trip up north: “[Riley Harbottle] opened his knee up so we’ll see how he is in the next few days. I think he’ll be struggling for Hartlepool and maybe Walsall.

“John-Joe [O’Toole] is ill, he’s got a nasty bug so he’s been off for about a week or so with it so he’s not trained and Jordan’s [Bowery] just come back from illness. 

“[Hartlepool] are coming off the back of a very good away win to Rochdale today so their tails will be up. We’ll try and get a team on the pitch to compete. Everybody is in contention.” 


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