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Gaffer pleased with ‘professional performance’ in Newport win

2 March 2024

Club News

Gaffer pleased with ‘professional performance’ in Newport win

2 March 2024

Boss Nigel Clough described his side’s display as ‘a good, professional performance’ after Stags battled to beat Newport at Rodney Parade.

The win sees Mansfield increase their lead at the top of the table to three points ahead of second placed Stockport, with 12 games of the season remaining.

George Maris’ strike five minutes after half-time was the ultimate difference in a contest which Stags should have won by a greater margin.

At the other end, the hosts failed to register a shot on target, such was the defiance of the Mansfield defence.

“The way the results have gone and a couple of other games being off, it was absolutely vital that we got the three points, which we did,” said Nigel.

“It was a very good, professional performance.

“I was a bit disappointed with the way we played in the first-half. I thought we had enough situations and space and time to create. It was just poor decision-making in that final third.”

As much as anything, the manager was pleased with his men keeping a clean sheet.

“I was disappointed we only got the one goal in some ways but the most important stat today was the clean sheet. We haven’t had one for a few games.

“We always say, ‘we know we’ll create chances and score goals, let’s make sure we’re solid’. That was the most important thing today.

“I thought the back four and Reedy were very good indeed, especially with [Will] Evans, who’s a handful. I thought Lewis Brunt dealt with him very well and I thought some of Flinty’s clearances in the second-half were exactly what we needed to make a statement. He put one out of the ground, over the stand [as if to say] ‘we’re not conceding today’, and that’s great experience. “

Stags may have been ahead two minutes earlier when Hiram Boateng narrowly headed off target from George Williams’ cross.

“He was arriving at pace. There’s pace on the ball so it’s difficult to direct it sometimes,” said the manager. “I think it was only about a yard over. But that set the tone for us to go on and get a goal.”

On the decisive goal by Maris, Nigel said: “I think they broke away and Flinty got a good tackle in and all of a sudden there’s a nice bit of play and Baily puts in a cross and George is in there from six or seven yards.

“It was a good finish on his left foot and he has scored some important goals at important times for us this season.”

Stags are now entering what could be a season-defining period and the manager said: “We said to the lads that the five games in the fifteen days are going to be absolutely pivotal to what we do. We’ve got off to a good start [at Newport]. We have two home games coming up, let’s just keep churning them out, keep getting those points on the board which just puts pressure on everybody below.”

Leaving the last word for the 615 Stags’ supporters, he said: “I was glad it stopped raining for the ones that were in the open. It is a little exposed there. Around kick-off time it did stop [raining] so hopefully they didn’t get too wet and have gone home happy with another three points.”

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