Defender James Perch has credited Mansfield Town’s defensive resiliency after the Stags superbly secured a place in the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final.
Nigel Clough’s men beat Northampton Town 1-0 at Sixfields to progress to Wembley following a resilient and dogged display.
Perch, who was born and raised in Mansfield, credited an impressive defensive performance from the entire team in securing the result, saying: “We knew it was going to be a battle coming to Northampton. They sling the ball in from everywhere, but I think we was immense defensively.
“Not just as a back four, back five, but as a team. Jordan [Bowery] has put in a right shift, Lucas [Atkins] has, [Rhys] Oatesy’s ran himself into the ground, it was just an all-round great team performance.”
The defender also praised goalkeeper Nathan Bishop for another strong performance in between the sticks.
“Absolutely brilliant tonight, Bish was. Commanding, he came and caught balls, he was confident, and his kicking was brilliant,” he said.
“He’s been good for us all season. He’s been top class and there’s no wonder he’s at Man. United.”
Perch, who was almost forced into retirement after sustaining a fractured skull in September, is thrilled to see his boyhood club make it to the final, saying: “Absolutely delighted. From one minute I was going to retire, then I got the good news I could play again. I’ve come back to play and that’s all credit to the medical staff.
“The gaffer, his staff and the players have all been great with me and so have the fans. Everyone around Mansfield has given great support.”
Speaking directly after last night’s game, he said: “The gaffer is going to take us out tomorrow (Thursday) for some food and drink, we’re playing golf in the morning and just relaxing, getting back down to reality.”
“We can’t let it overtake us and carry on until next week. We know we’ve got a few days now where we can enjoy ourselves, but once next week comes, we’re back to work.”