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Gaffer assesses narrow loss to Orient

25 April 2023

Manager Nigel Clough felt the manner of Mansfield’s slender 2-1 defeat to Leyton Orient was ‘disappointing’ given the standard the team has played at in recent weeks.

The injury-struck Stags’ impressive nine-game unbeaten run was ended at the hands of the League Two champions. 

Orient had been reduced to ten men on 62 minutes when Shadrach Alfie brought down Davis Keillor-Dunn outside the box.  

The midfielder had fired Stags into an early lead on ten minutes, before Charlie Kelman and Ruel Sotiriou notched for the visitors.  

Nigel felt Mansfield could have defended the Orient goals better. 

“[I] didn’t expect to concede as quickly as we did [after the first goal],” he told iFollow Stags after the match. “[It was] a bit unlucky [the way] it came off the post. They were alive, we weren’t.

“We would hope to defend [the two goals] better, especially off the back of Saturday and keeping that brilliant clean sheet against Stevenage.  

“[It was] A poor way to lose for the first time in ten games. Having defended as well as we did on Saturday, to give away the two goals as we did [was disappointing]. We gave the ball away and we were punished twice.  

“Then, at the other end, we had 30 minutes against ten men and we didn’t carve out enough [opportunities]. When we did, we didn’t show that composure to get a goal.” 

The Stags registered 16 shots and dictated much of the play in the closing stages. Nigel hoped his side could have made more of their late chances. 

“[We needed] A little bit more composure in the final third when you’re playing against ten men for the last 30 minutes,” he said.  

“I thought Rhys Oates’ [opportunity] was the best one at the near post and his touch has just taken him away. We [also] got a good corner in and Callum Johnson has just headed it wide from seven yards out. There were a few [bodies] in there but you’d expect him to hit the target.  

“A couple didn’t drop for us. It was that sort of night.” 

The gaffer provided an injury update on the squad after Elliott Hewitt was forced off through injury in the first half: “Losing Elliott certainly doesn’t help the cause. He’s on crutches. We’re running out of crutches and knee braces down there at the moment. We’ll see how he is in the next few days but when you’re on crutches and in a knee brace it’s certainly not looking good for Saturday.” 

“[It] was good to get Reedy [Louis Reed] back involved. 

“George Maris couldn’t start today [nor could] Louis Reed, Ollie Clarke [or] Will Swan, but having them back on the pitch is bonus.  

“Louis Reed as soon as he comes in gives us that extra little bit of quality. Will Swan looked sharp when he came on.  

“We’ll need them in the last couple of games.” 

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