DAVID Holdsworth reflected on a winning start to life as Mansfield Town manager today after a hard-earned 1-0 win over Crawley Town on Saturday afternoon.
Made to wait 19 days before getting a game, Holdsworth watched his side defend superbly against a side nine games unbeaten to hang on for a crucial win through a sole Rob Duffy strike.
Mansfield Town 1 Crawley 0
"I am very satisfied with that," he said. "I expected to win and I told my players that.
"Credit to Crawley – we knew they would throw the kitchen sink at us and we needed to show determination and grit and have a bit of luck.
"We were under siege at times and I thought our second phase defending was wonderful.
Keeper Marriott celebrates man of match award on debut
"Okay they did hit the crossbar, but apart from that Alan Marriott hasn't really had a shot to save.
"Stats will show they had the ball in our box a lot, but didn't do anything with it and most of their shots were from outside the box and finished in the stand.
"We had to defend for our lives and I am delighted.
"A clean sheet and 1-0 win were my minimum requirements today and we really had to earn it. We had to battle which is a quality I hope I have brought to this football club.
"We had four making debuts. Rob Duffy scored a superb centre forwards's goal, Scott Garner was a warrior at the back against a very tough opponent in Steve Fletcher, Alan Marriott does what it says on the tin – he is a good, reliable keeper and Louis Briscoe played a cameo role with good work ethic.
"The fans were wonderful and embraced the players and let's enjoy this tonight. The fans and the board can enjoy it. It has been a great, great day for this club.
"My wife will be happy too as she has been more nervous than anyone!
"Steve Evans is right when he says they had a go at us. They put us under a lot of pressure – all route one down the middle which we had to deal with and did. Yes, we needed a little bit of luck and we know there is a lot more to do here.
"But we dug deep and were resolute. I wish Steve Evans and his club all the very best for the rest of the season – they are a good side."
On his new skipper, Jon D'Laryea, the Stags boss added:
"I see Jon D'Laryea as the future of this club. He is not the finished product but he did very well today.
"He was a little general in there and I want to see him become a colonel. I want him to take that armband, respect it, enjoy it and understand the importance of having it.
"It is imperative he leads by example and he did that today, getting through a lot of dirty work. I am pleased with that. I remember one second phase header after 75 minutes."
He also said that he wanted more flexibility in the squad and expected to strengthen his squad this week, after a busy seven days players' wise at Field Mill.
The manager also revealed that Duffy had limped off with a groin strain, saying that the rest of his squad was injury free and now needed to work on their fitness levels.
Debutant goalscorer Rob Duffy thanked the Stags for their 'great support' and added: "It is always good to score and has lifted a weight off my shoulders to score so early, after just half an hour of my time here.
"I took a touch on my chest, realised the defender wasn't as tight as he might be and twisetd my body and had a shot at goal.
"We're full of confidence on the back of this win aagainst a team third in the league and there ia a great feeling in the dressing room. It's great for the gaffer and all the players.
"Four new players came into the team today, but I think we slotted straight in."
Visiting boss Steve Evans could not believe his side had nothing to show for their efforts and said: "We had 99 per cent of the play and 99 per cent of the chances. We tore them apart at will and looked like the home side all afternoon.
"David Holdsworth seems a genuine man and if I am honest I will say we have smashed them off the park today and they have stolen the three points.
"We had enough chances today to win three Conference Premier matches.
"It was a fantastic performance. Only one team passed the ball.
"We are really hurting tonight. We know we will play a lot worse then that and win.
"It's a shame as I think the play-off teams will beat Mansfield home and away and David Holdsworth has a lot of hard work to do here.
"We are really hurting tonight. We know we will play a lot worse then that and win."
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Weather for Mansfield
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North