Defender James Perch says that Mansfield Town can reflect on an ‘incredible’ season despite Stags’ ‘disappointing’ defeat to Port Vale in the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final.
The ten-man Stags were beaten 3-0 by the Valiants after Kian Harratt, James Wilson and Mal Benning all got on the scoresheet at Wembley.
However, Stags’ captain on the day said Mansfield can be proud of a season in which they showed great fight to come so close to promotion after falling into the relegation zone in October.
“It’s been a great achievement [to get to the Play-Off Final],” he said. “It doesn’t feel like it at the minute because we’ve just lost in the final, but when you look back on how well we’ve played this season, we can take the positives from it. We’ve broken records at home, we went unbeaten for so many games.”
The experienced defender was deflated by the manner of Stags’ defeat, but he is determined for the squad to bounce back.
“I’m disappointed,” he told iFollow Stags. “[It was] a disappointing result [and] a disappointing performance in the first-half. We got what we deserved.
“If that one that [Jamie] Murphy gets his head on goes in, it’s a different game. We then get the momentum, we then might go two or three nil up. It was the crucial points in the game that cost us today.
“I said in the dressing room ‘make sure you take this in’. This is a feeling that you don’t want too many times and I’ve not got many years left, so I don’t want to be feeling like that many more times.”
Despite the game’s crushing ending, the 36-year-old says he will look back on the occasion as one of his career high points.
“[It] was one of the best moments of my career, leading the team out at Wembley. My hometown club with my family and friends in the crowd, it really meant a lot.”
The former Premier League star credited Mansfield’s horde of travelling supporters in the role that they’ve played in an incredible season for the club.
On what he’d like to say to the Stags fans, Perch said: “A big thank you.”
“They’ve turned out in their numbers. They’ve never turned their back on us, even when we were going through a bad patch.
“They came down in their numbers again today, sixteen-and-a-half thousand. All we can do is thank them.
“We owe them everything, unfortunately we just couldn’t quite give them that final present today, but we’ll reflect on that and kick on next season.”