Stags skipper Martin Riley has put backpass torment behind him

Martin Riley -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Martin Riley -Pic by: Richard Parkes

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After the nightmare of his disastrous backpass that saw Mansfield Town lose 3-2 at home to Exeter last weekend, Stags skipper Martin Riley quickly drowned his sorrows and can’t wait to get back out there against visiting leaders Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow to put things right.

Riley, under pressure from Alex Nicholls on the by-line, rolled a risky pass towards keeper Adam Smith who was beaten to the ball by David Wheeler as he slid in to bring him down for the match-wining penalty.

“Obviously I had to get another defeat out of my system and I have had to get a mistake out of my system,” he said. “Saturday night I almost got through a bottle of Jack Daniels.

“But we are professionals. I am a professional player. Mistakes like that are part and parcel of football.

“It’s out of me now, though it took a few days to get over it. I am back to normal now.

“I was gutted for everyone, not least myself as I do take these things personally. I know I let a lot of people down.

“At the same time I have got to look at the positives from the situation and not beat myself up too much. That’s football – there are a lot of highs and a lot of lows.

“I am gutted for the boys, the fans, the staff and the gaffer. It’s shocking it all came down to one moment really.

“But it won’t knock my confidence. I am a confident player and I always have been.”

Before the mistake, Riley was actually about to win the sponsors’ man of the match, so he was having far from a poor game.
He is enjoying being skipper of the team right now, but stressed that fans should not see his lack of screaming as a lack of passion.

“Being captain gives you a bit more focus,” he said.”You have to try to help the other boys out and be a bit more aware of the game situation.

“But I am never going to be a captain who is shouting and bawling on the pitch for no reason.

“I try to lead by example in my performances on the pitch. I always try to be cool, calm and collected at all times. That won’t change. I won’t become a bawler and a screamer.

“But I don’t want people to look at that and see it as a lack of passion. I am very, very passionate about football and this club and it is a massive honour for me to wear that armband.”

Weather-permitting, leaders Wycombe are in town tomorrow and Riley added: “We know it will be tough as they are where they are for a reason.

“But we are honestly not fearing anything at the moment. We have great spirit in the camp.

“If we go out there against Wycombe and do what we did on Saturday, but put a few more chances away and cut out a few of the things at the back, we will be fine.”