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Ruthless performance pleases boss

7 April 2023

Manager Nigel Clough commended his side’s positivity to ruthlessly overcome tough opponents Swindon 4-2 in Wiltshire.

Goals from Stephen Quinn, Lucas Akins, Rhys Oates and Hiram Boateng ensured the Stags returned to the Sky Bet League Two play-off places. 

And the gaffer was impressed with his side’s response to conceding early on: “[I was impressed by] the way we approached the game from the first minute, despite the setback of conceding after a couple of minutes. We then scored four very good goals today.

“We’ve said [to the players] over the last couple of days ‘let’s be as positive as we can for these last seven games and go for it’. We put the three up top again. Lucas [Akins] scored one and made one, Oatesy’s [Rhys Oates] done the same.  

“When you get pegged back [in the game] that’s the time you can maybe exploit [the opposition defence] and we tried to do that. We kept going forward as much as we could the whole game.  

“I thought all the goals were important but that fourth one just knocked the stuffing out of Swindon late on. The only thing was conceding the goals, we shouldn’t concede the early one or the late one.” 

Mansfield have experienced an upturn in attacking proficiency, having now scored eight goals in their last two matches. And Nigel felt the difference wasn’t a change in tactical approach but an increase in efficiency in front of goal.  

“[The difference is] that we’re putting some of our chances away,” he told iFollow Stags after the match. “We didn’t put enough away last week. I still thought today we could’ve punished more. But, we’ve scored four goals away from home, it’s difficult to be too critical.  

“[Goals] are going to come from all over the pitch the way we play. Elliott Hewitt joined in, he made the first two goals today from right back.  

“[Hiram Boateng has] been unlucky. He had a very similar one last week and hit the bar. It was lovely when he tucked one away [today]. It was a great finish.  

“If we’re going to do anything in the last seven games I want us to be positive and try to score goals.” 

Stags have now moved back inside the league’s top seven places ahead of an important home fixture with Rochdale on Easter Monday. 

“It’s nice,” he said. “With the two victories I was hoping that we would be [back into the play-off places].  

“We need to focus all our effort on Monday and try and get a positive result at home to Rochdale. 

“Rhys Oates felt his groin [today]. Ollie Clarke got a couple of whacks. The one that prevented him from coming out for the second half was down the back of his Achilles. [It’s] a little bit sore at the moment. 

“I don’t think Rhys will make it [for Monday] but we’ll see how Ollie is.” 

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