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Club News

Manager assesses Newport draw

19 February 2022

Club News

Manager assesses Newport draw

19 February 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough believes this afternoon’s 1-1 draw away at promotion rivals Newport was ‘two points dropped’, rather than a point gained.

The result, however, extends the Stags’ superb league form to 12 matches without defeat.

Speaking post match, the boss expressed his displeasure at not winning the game.

When asked if he was happy with the point in the end, the manager said: “No, not in the slightest.

“Unfortunately, it was out of our hands with the decisions.

“To play that well away from home against a promotion contender and not get the three points is certainly two [points] dropped.

“I thought we were brilliant up until the sending off.

“We were absolutely brilliant.

“[We] Controlled the game, we had so many situations and chances in the first half.

“The only thing unfortunate in the whole game was the goal [Newport’s equaliser] having created so much sometimes you need that little bit of luck.”

Mansfield created the majority of this afternoon’s goalscoring chances but missed a clinical touch in front of goal.

“[We were missing] Somebody to put the ball into the back of the net,” said the Stags’ chief.

“Having got the goal we should have gone on to get the three points.

“When you’re missing Oates and Murphy that’s bound to happen, especially when they’re your two main goal threats.”

Mansfield took the lead courtesy of a second-half, deflected Stephen McLaughlin effort which was turned into his own net by Josh Pask.

“We could’ve got that in the first half, a little break in the penalty area, we eventually got it as a result of our positive play,” said the manager.

“I think to come to somewhere like this and to control it for the vast majority of it [the game] speaks volume for where we are at the moment.

“[That is] Twelve unbeaten now, we’ve reached the 50-point mark, but it should be an extra two today.”

The manager’s side will be without their regular centre-back partnership of John-Joe O’Toole and Oli Hawkins for the next few games.

O’Toole was shown a straight red card for an altercation inside the Stags’ half before Hawkins accumulated his tenth booking of the season.

“I was a long long way away for a start,” said the boss.

“First of all, I can’t believe Oli Hawkins with his experience would even want to get involved, all he has to do is spring back into his position and deal with the throw in.

“Sometimes with these players things go through their heads, you’ll have to explain because I can’t fathom it.

“He’s on nine bookings, the crowd are quiet, the game’s dead, we’re winning 1-0 in complete control.

“He wants to try and rile the crowd and get himself involved in something he shouldn’t. He got himself a yellow card so he’s now missing for two games.

“His partner in crime alongside him [O’Toole] decides to get himself involved and get a red.

“When you’re playing as well as we are at the moment and are in complete control, there’s no excuse.”

On the decision to award Newport a penalty on the 81st minute, the gaffer said: “It’s incredible.  The ball’s ricocheted up and hit him on the arm, absolutely nothing anybody can do about it.

“He was very keen to give it very quickly.

“You never see them given these days.”

The Stags defended resolutely to ensure the ten men left South Wales with a point.

“[Our defending was] Brilliant, we threw bodies in the way, we protected Nathan Bishop from having to make one or two saves,” the gaffer said.

“We defended resolutely; I thought our performance up until the red card was outstanding.

“Some of our play, the passing and the creation of chances was excellent”

The Stags were without forwards Rhys Oates and Jamie Murphy, the manager provided an update on their absence.

“They’re both injured,” he said.

“Oates felt his thigh last week at Bristol Rovers, hopefully he’ll be okay for Bradford.

“Murphy [is injured with a] hamstring [problem], he felt it tighten up during the week in training, so there was no risking him [today].”

The manager also delivered a message to the Stags’ faithful who were in good voice again at Rodney Parade.

“For our supporters, I hope they enjoyed the way we played, they’ll be feeling a little bit of injustice I think at the result today.

“But [if we] keep doing that [playing well], hopefully we’ll get some better decisions next week.”

Watch the manager's interview in full by clicking here.

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