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Club News

Boss assesses Harrogate loss

29 April 2023

Club News

Boss assesses Harrogate loss

29 April 2023

Manager Nigel Clough has given his assessment of Mansfield's 2-1 loss at home to Harrogate Town.

Harrogate led at the break thanks to two first-half goals, an Alfie Kilgour own goal and a Matty Daly strike.  

Stags’ top scorer Will Swan claimed his tenth league goal of the season in the 67th minute to half the deficit.  

The gaffer spoke to iFollow Stags after the match at One Call Stadium and said: “[The result] certainly wasn’t down to a lack of effort or trying all throughout the game to get the goals.

“A couple of times we should’ve put the ball in the box more, certainly from my position.  

“It sums up the season, too many goals conceded, especially at home, and then not converting a good enough proportion of the chances. It’s not as if we’re having three or four chances a game. 

“You need a break, but you need to earn it a bit more than we did today. 

“[We] were trying to win the game. [We] just needed a little more conviction in and around the penalty area. We had enough situations in that first fifteen to twenty minutes to get a goal. 

“[It was the] same as a lot of times this season. A lot of shots, a lot of possession, a lot of pressure.  

“It was no surprise that Will Swan was the one who got the goal. He’s our leading goal scorer and we’ve missed him for three months.”  

Nigel said he considered starting recently-injured players such as Ollie Clarke, Will Swan and Jordan Bowery, but opted to stick with players who had previously gone nine games unbeaten.  

“We don’t get it right all the time,” he said. “I couldn’t have stopped the first goal with the team selection.  

“We put Louis Reed out there for 95 minutes and his knee is extremely sore, so he won’t be involved again this season. 

“[I] ‘ummed-and-arred’ all day yesterday whether to make changes [to the starting and] put some fresh legs out there. Even though the lads have hardly trained, [George] Maris, [Ollie] Clarke, [Will] Swan and the likes. Jordan [Bowery’s] just come back a game or two [out] with a hamstring [injury].  

“In the end I came down on the side [that has] lost one out of [the last] ten.  

“I thought we looked a bit mentally and physically tired. Oatesy [Rhys Oates] was absolutely on his knees. I thought Perchy [James Perch] looked a little bit tired, so we just changed it around [at half-time and] we had a bit more brightness and sharpness about us second half.”  

The boss provided a fitness update on the squad ahead of Mansfield’s final league fixture away to Colchester United a week on Monday. 

“Stephen McLaughlin will be out until September, so he’ll miss pre-season,” he said.  

“Elliott [Hewitt’s] even worse, he’ll be out for the majority of next season. 

“It’s too early to tell [exactly when he’ll be back] because it’s nine months from the day of the operation. There’s no scheduled date for the ACL [Anterior Cruciate Ligament] operation because they can’t operate until the swelling goes down. It’s incredibly swollen at the moment, so it could be three to four weeks before the surgeon will go ahead with it.” 

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