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Point at Stockport was deserved - manager

18 March 2023

Club News

Point at Stockport was deserved - manager

18 March 2023

Manager Nigel Clough says Lucas Akins’ last-gasp equalising goal earned his side a ‘deserved’ 1-1 draw at Stockport County.

The Mansfield number seven dramatically broke free of his marker to nod the Stags level in the third minute of injury time and ignite pandemonium amongst the travelling support. 

The gaffer was encouraged by the team’s second-half performance and deemed it worthy of earning a point in Greater Manchester. 

“I thought [we were] a little bit unlucky to go in 1-0 down at half-time,” Nigel told iFollow Stags.  

“It was just an unbelievably good goal that they scored. We’ve got to do better to stop the cross and he’d (Paddy Madden) gotten away for Alfie [Kilgour] in the box, but it’s still a brilliant header. 

“We changed it around at half-time. We put three [forwards] up against their three centre halves and it was a little bit more open. 

“We had a few of those today where better decisions in and around the penalty area [may have found Mansfield a goal]. [Our] goal came from three or four good decisions and sometimes that’s what you need to get a goal, it’s not isolated. 

“It was a brilliant header [from Akins]. 

“This is where the crowd makes a difference. I think when you’re attacking a thousand supporters behind the goal, they’re almost sucking the ball in at times and I think that was the case today.” 

Mansfield were boosted pre-match with the news that in-form defender Elliott Hewitt had extended his contract until the summer of 2025. Nigel was delighted to tie down the club’s 2022 player of the year, as voted for by Stags’ supporters. 

“I think he’s probably been the most consistent [player this season], wherever he’s played at right centre-half, right back [or] right wing-back,” Nigel said. 

“[I’m] delighted he’s going to stay with us. 

“It’s one of those where you sign someone from the team that’s been relegated [from League Two] and everybody is a little bit ‘what have you signed him for?’ I remember David Sharpe (CEO) saying in the office at the time ‘these players often turn out to be your best signings’ and that’s certainly proved to be the case with Elliott.” 

The Stags face a host of home league fixtures in the coming weeks, against Grimsby Town, Sutton United and Crawley Town. Nigel believes the run of fixtures will be influential in Mansfield’s final league position.  

“I thought we were a little bit unlucky at Northampton the other night, we caused our problems, and so we deserved our point here today,” he said. 

“We’ve got seven out of the last 11 [remaining league games] at home. So it’s going to be down to our home form [as to where] we finish. [We’ve] got three [consecutive] home games to look forward to, [it’s] nice to go into it on the back of this point. 

“[We are] unlikely [to have any injured players return for the Grimsby fixture]. Louis Reed is probably the closest. He probably needs another week. [Stephen McLaughlin] got a whack again on his ankle, [there’s] no time scale on him.” 

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