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Boss hails side’s desire in hard-fought Saddlers win

15 October 2022

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough says his side did well to record a second successive hard-fought victory in a week as Stags beat Walsall 2-1 in a ‘very difficult game’ at One Call Stadium.

Goals from George Lapslie and substitute Will Swan ensured that Mansfield extend a run to seven matches unbeaten in Sky Bet League Two.

It follows another well-fought win after Stags beat 1-0 in Cumbria last Saturday.

The amber and blue showed immense determination to overcome the Saddlers whose direct style made it difficult for Mansfield in 37 second-half minutes before Swan’s fourth of the campaign sealed the points.

Speaking to iFollow Stags after the contest on home soil, Nigel said: “[It was] Hard-fought again and a very difficult game.

“We’re not under any illusions that people are going to come here and make it easy for us.

“Walsall [kept] coming and scrapping for everything.

“It’s very difficult to get the ball down and play at times.

“We did in patches.

“I thought we were very good, especially in the first 25 minutes of the game.”

Mansfield’s opener came courtesy of George Lapslie on 15 minutes. Stags’ sweeping move cut open Walsall’s defence before the midfielder slotted into the bottom corner.

“It was a good team goal again,” the gaffer said.

“We encourage them [our wide centre-backs] to get forward from that position and put a great cross in.

“Quinny’s [Stephen Quinn’s] header at the far post back to Laps [was excellent]. Everybody is in the positions they should be in.

“Quinny is competing at the far post. Laps is in the six-yard box and once he takes that excellent first touch, he just turns and finishes.”

The Stags second, a header from Will Swan, secured the points.

“With the height and strength that they had in the back three today, it has to be an excellent cross and an excellent header.

“It was both to get the goal.

“[It was a] Great header. As a striker you want those [deliveries] just dipping over the first defender.

“When you’re six or seven yards out, any sort of header at all and you fancy yourself to score.

“He couldn’t start the game. He’s hardly done any training in the last ten days with this virus he’s had.”

The gaffer praised the manner in which Stags, despite not being on top form, managed to record back-to-back victories.

“You have to find a way to win,” he said.

“We did it last week and we’ve done it again this week.

“That could be the difference between the team [from] this season and last.

“We’re a few points ahead of where we were this time last season.

“We’ve got Rhys Oates coming back in four or five weeks.

“We’ve got players getting fit like Hiram Boateng and Will Swan so we’ve got to keep them fit and we’ve got to find a way to win.”

The wins over Barrow and then Walsall this afternoon have showcased an attitude built for success, the boss feels.

“[It’s a] Good sign [winning when not at your best].

“It’s a magnificent six points we’ve picked up [in the last week].

“We’ve won four on the spin away from home.

“It’s important that we won today.”

He added: “We’ll put our feet up for a day, then get ready for Crawley next week.”

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