John Dempster calls on Mansfield Town players to stand up and be counted after Plymouth defeat

Stags boss John Dempster looks on ahead of Saturday's game.
Stags boss John Dempster looks on ahead of Saturday's game.

Mansfield Town boss John Dempster warned his players not to hide or crumble as their poor start to the season went on with a 1-0 home defeat by Plymouth today.

Apart from the result, Dempster was happy with another good performance in which Stags wasted good chances at the start and end of the game.

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“The players are despondent as they know what they've put in today,” he said.

“But in those crucial moments it's about individuals stepping up and being the hero on the day. We lacked that today.

“The players have two options on Monday. You either give in and curl up into a ball or you come back fighting and dust yourself down down. That's certainly what I will be doing on Monday.

“No one hid. People were courageous, wanting the ball and helping each other.

“We just needed that little bit of quality. We got into good areas, but Plymouth defended well and scored a very good goal – and that was the difference today. You have to take your hat off to him for that finish.

“In terms of effort and endeavour, you can't question the boys. “They covered every blade of grass and we chucked the kitchen sink at them. We had four centre forwards on at the end.”

Missed chances by CJ Hamilton and Andy Cook proved costly in the end.

“We had two really good opportunities – CJ in the early stages and then Andy Cook near the end,” he said.

“We all know CJ's pace is electric and that's what gets him behind. But he took a bad touch and it ended up in the keeper's hands.

“Cooky will be disappointed he didn't do better with his chance, though he did hit the target and made the keeper work.

“Those are the opportunities you want to create, they are the effort levels you want to see and if those two opportunities end up as goals it's a completely different reflection on the game.

“It's a travesty we've not kicked into these performances earlier as over a period of time if you perform like that and put that effort in you will get results. We'd be higher up the table.”

Mansfield's bad luck over injuries continued with Hayden White and Bobby Olejnik ruled out today.

“Hayden went to A&E today with severe stomach pain and they have kept him in for further testing,” said Dempster.

“It was a hammer blow on Friday when Hayden told us he was struggling as he'd performed so well against Port Vale.

“Bobby dislocated his finger on Thursday as well. He probably won't be able to play for the reserves on Tuesday as he is back at the hospital on Monday to see if there is any ligament damage.

“We have had some bad luck but we won't harp on about it. We need to put things right."