Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough praised his ‘outstanding’ forward players as the Stags recorded a ninth successive home league victory tonight.
The trio of Rhys Oates, Lucas Akins and debutant Jamie Murphy all shone in the 2-1 win over Colchester this evening.
Speaking post match, the manager said: “I thought the front three of Jamie Murphy, Lucas [Akins] and Rhys Oates were outstanding, and they ran them [Colchester] ragged.
“You’re not going to [be able to] do it for 97, 100 minutes but for the vast majority of the game we did more than enough to score more than the two goals.”
The win sees Mansfield extend an impressive run of form to ten matches in Sky Bet League Two without defeat.
“I thought the three points were brilliant as always. It [score line] shouldn’t have been as close in the end. In the first-half I thought we were outstanding and the only thing missing was another goal or two.
“We could’ve easily had another two or three in the first-half, the quality of our play deserved that.
“The back four and Nathan Bishop deserved a clean sheet.”
Forward Rhys Oates caught the headlines for his wondergoal to give the amber and blue the lead on 19 minutes.
“[It was a] Very special goal. I think about two or three of them [Colchester players] tried to kick him and foul him, which is what we would’ve told our lads to do,” the manager said.
“He kept going and stuck it in from about 25-yards.
“A very special goal [indeed].
“When you’re that last man and he’s running at you, you know that if he pushes it [the ball] past you and you bring him down, you’re off.
“He decided to take it early and it was a great strike.”
Deadline day addition, Jamie Murphy, also impressed in his first outing at One Call Stadium.
“I thought he [Murphy] was excellent.,” said the boss.
“You saw what he’s all about, you’ve just got to give him the ball.
“Whether it’s in a wide position or central position, he makes things happen.
“He creates chances and he will score as well.
“I thought for his first one [appearance in a Stags’ shirt] he was excellent.”
The Stags’ chief rotated his squad tonight, making multiple changes throughout the match.
“The impact of the substitutes was excellent tonight,” the boss said.
“Ollie Clarke has won us the penalty.
“Jordan Bowery has tucked it [the spot-kick] away.
“Kieran Wallace has come on at left-back for Macca and done a job and got two brilliant blocks in at the end.
“Faz Rawson came on to make up a [back] five and see the game out.
“All of them had a positive impact but the only downside was that I wish we could’ve got the other two on.
“I was desperate to get Matty Longstaff on tonight and DJ if we can as well.
“I wanted to get Matty a taste of it [playing at One Call Stadium] but just couldn’t do it with the way the game was going.”
The manager provided an update on defender Stephen McLaughlin who was withdrawn in the second-half.
“He got a bang on the back of his head.
“He just felt not quite felt right so we didn’t want to take any chances with that but hopefully he should be alright for Saturday.
“Some of his attacking play in the first-half was outstanding.”
Mansfield now have a run of three consecutive away games in Sky Bet League Two.
“[We have] Bristol [Rovers] on Saturday, a lot of effort has gone in tonight, and we’ll be using the squad as we did tonight.
“Jordan didn’t start, Ollie Clarke didn’t start, we thought they dipped a little bit physically at Harrogate.
“The 18 players we’ve got will be sharing the load in the next two and a half, three months.
“It’s going to be a pretty hectic time and we need to get everybody ready for that.”