Mansfield Town coach Richard Cooper praised the Stags side for their perseverance at St Albans this afternoon, where they came from behind in a testing first half to go on and win the FA Cup first round tie in style by a commanding 8-1 scoreline.
Deputising for boss Paul Cox at the post-match press conference, he said: “I thought the first 30 minutes they put a lot of pressure on us and we had to earn the right to be here today. “Five minutes before the end of the first half we got our foot in the game and scored two goals pretty much on the break. “We settled ourselves down before the break and gave it a really good go in the second half.
“Our fitness probably came through and our ruthlessness in front of goal came into play which has been missing the last few weeks. “It’s an FA Cup game, at the end of the day; first and foremost you earn the right to be in any game, regardless of the opposition. “You go about your business and don’t give them any time on the ball. We tried to get into their faces a little bit quicker and did everything with a bit of a tempo.
“Today we did that and some of our wide play was exceptional including Sam Clucas who got himself four goals in the second-half. “It’s like any game. You have to earn the right to be in it. I’ve said that a couple of times now but generally mean it.
“You don’t just think you can come to these places, turn up and expect to be given a victory. Victories are well-earned, whether that’s in the first minute or the 90th minute – sometimes, you have to keep going and today we did that. “We have gone about our work in the second half with a real grip and determination and the boys have worked really hard for each other.” He added: “Credit to St Albans, they were up for it.
“I just think in the second half our quality has came through a bit more. “It’s a confidence thing. The goal posts don’t change. It doesn’t matter who you play, people have got to step up.
“It’s not like we haven’t created chances in the previous games because we have and today they have gone in.
“Hopefully now the lads can kick on a bit which gives them more confidence.” Cooper picked out Ollie Palmer and four-goal hero Sam Clucas as two of the day’s star turns, “Ollie Palmer had a great game today, he scored a great goal as well as Stevenson,” he said.
“There was some good play and hopefully we will see more in the upcoming games. “Some of Clucas’ finishes were exceptional and at the top level. He had a 10 minute spell of devastation. He committed players and rampaged their defence. “Sam will get the plaudits but overall, the second half was 10 out of 10 for all of the boys today.
“It’s like anything. When you’re not scoring goals you have to look at all your options.
“Players have got to put themselves into contention for places whether it is a first team game or reserve game.
“Any time you have the opportunity to show the gaffer what you can do, and today we did that.”