Injury-hit Mansfield Town prepare for big Accrington Stanley clash after miserable afternoon in Wrexham

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough admitted his promotion-chasers have to beat visiting Accrington Stanley on Easter Monday as everything went against his side in the big 2-0 promotion showdown defeat at Wrexham today.
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Injury-hit Stags had a goal chalked off, had a penalty given against them that was outside the box, lost Elliott Hewitt injured inside three minutes on his comeback after 11 months out, and then lost two more players before half-time.

“It's a big one now on Monday and we have to try to get three points,” said Clough

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“It was always going to be difficult today given the circumstances and when you then lose three players before half-time.

Wrexham v Stags action, photo by Chris & Jeanette Holloway / The Bigger Picture.mediaWrexham v Stags action, photo by Chris & Jeanette Holloway / The Bigger
Wrexham v Stags action, photo by Chris & Jeanette Holloway / The Bigger

“Monday is a different ball game altogether and we have got to win it.

“It didn't start well losing Elliott Hewitt after only two minutes.

“He gets caught with quite a nasty tackle that gave him a split lip.

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Good Friday misery for Mansfield Town as they lose promotion showdown at Wrexham
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“It was going to take 10 minutes to get stitches in and we couldn't afford to play that long with 10 men.

“I think it's a slightly silly rule that you can't go back on with a little bit of blood coming out your lip.

“But it meant we had to make the substitution. Then we lost two more players at half-time.

“Elliott is absolutely fine. He's had two stitches in his lip. At least one thing – he will be fresh for Monday as he will be starting on Monday.”

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Clough then saw Davis Keillor-Dunn rob the keeper of the ball and find the net, but the referee decided the keeper had two hands on it.

“I can't see if he's just got the ball in his hands or has just dropped it,” said Clough.

“He is very close to the edge of the box anyway and you have seen them let go.

“The referees sometimes let those go and you get an equaliser.

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“But you are still in it at 1-0 and the penalty given is two yards outside the area.

“There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for getting that one wrong.

“That's two weeks running now. We had two good penalty appeals against Colchester last week turned down and then had one go against us today.

“At any stage of the season they matter, but especially this one.

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“It was a young referee today who I believe has had Premier League experience. Maybe he was waiting for VAR, I'm not sure.

“I wish we'd had it today as it would have ruled the penalty out and we were still well in the game.”

Clough continued: “I thought generally we played well today. We played some good stuff, though maybe didn't have enough of a threat.

“In the first half the front three didn't make the most of their situations again.

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“If you come away to Wrexham it is good to say that after 30 minutes you have restricted them to hardly anything, and had a few good situations - we were controlling the game and doing very well away from home.

“Unfortunately Lewis Brunt makes a terrible error and misses the ball in the penalty area.

“He went to clear and somehow managed to miss it altogether. Aden Flint thinks he's going to clear it so is flat-footed behind him and it just rolls into Mullins' path.”

On the other two injured players, Clough said: “Will Swan got a whack just right on the stroke of half-time.

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“The player caught him late and he got a bash on the cheekbone, which was swelling up. We will have to see how he is.

“Lewis Brunt just landed awkwardly on his ankle after 35-40 minutes and couldn't carry on which meant we had seven defenders out at that point at half-time.

“That is one of the big plus points to come out of it. We had seven defenders out and it's taken a penalty kick two yards outside the box for them to score against us in the second half.

“Again we had situations and James Gale got a shot off early on.

“But with that second goal they can sit in and break on you. They were very difficult to break down.”