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Boss encouraged by overall performance

14 January 2023

Manager Nigel Clough was encouraged by his side’s overall performance in Stags’ 1-1 draw at home to Crewe Alexandra.

Midfielder George Maris smartly opened the scoring for the hosts after latching onto debutant full-back Callum Johnson’s impressive right-sided cross on 42 minutes. 

Crewe equalised from range through Kelvin Mellor ten minutes after the break, who had intercepted a loose Mansfield pass before unleashing a shot past Christy Pym. 

Stags were reduced to ten men on 81 minutes for George Maris’ foul on Elliott Nevitt outside the box.  

The manager added: “I’ve been very pleased with the general level of performance [over the last three games],” he said. 

“[To pick up more points we need] to stop giving the ball away. It’s cost us here against Northampton on Boxing Day, it cost us at Walsall, it cost us against Barrow and it’s cost us again today.  

“Players have to realise as much as we want to play football, sometimes you have to clear your lines. 

“I was very pleased with the vast majority of the performance. [We] played some good stuff today [and] created chances.  

“[We] shot ourselves in the foot again by giving the ball away ten yards outside our penalty area [and] a wickedly swerving shot has ended up in the back of our net. Christy Pym has had one other shot to save in the game. Their goalkeeper’s pulled off two outstanding saves, we had more than enough situation in the first half and throughout the game.” 

The boss was pleased with the intent shown by midfielder George Maris to move into an attacking position and take the lead. 

“I thought it was a brilliant goal,” he said. 

“We played it down the right-hand side, a little one-two, a great cross in and then George Maris - who had a little more [attacking] freedom with Kieran Wallace in the side - is in the six-yard box.”

The Stags’ chief provided an update on the club’s transfer activity: “George Lapslie has been confirmed at Gillingham. We had an offer for Oli [Hawkins] and George [from Gillingham], which the club felt was a good offer bearing in mind that they both had five months left on their contracts.” 

“Oli is 31 in April [and] they offered him a fantastic package for two and a half years. 

“George Lapslie turned down two improved [contract] offers that we’ve made [him] in the last two weeks, so we accepted the offer for him and he agreed down there.” 

On whether Mansfield are likely to make any signings of their own, Clough said: “Hopefully, as we are speaking we’ve got a midfielder coming in [and] putting pen to paper, which will be our third signing [of the window] with one or two more to come.”

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