Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough delighted to stay in the automatic promotion mix after hard-earned win

Mansfield Town boss Nigel Clough said staying in the game at 0-0 at half-time was crucial to tonight's vital 2-0 win over stubborn Stevenage that kept Stags in automatic promotion contention.

Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 10:51 pm

Steve Evans' side made life hard for a nervous Mansfield in the first half and almost took the lead

But Stags upped a gear after the break to make it 12 home wins in 13 and Clough said: “None were more important and none tougher than tonight.

“The most important aspect was getting in at half-time at 0-0 as Stevenage started the game well. We knew they wouldn't make it particularly easy for us and they were a threat.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough.

“We really struggled. We were a bit nervous and a bit jittery, especially without Stephen Quinn who is is usually the one who gets the ball down and starts us playing.

“Nathan Bishop made a great save low down to his right which kept that clean sheet intact.

“I told them well done at half-time for coming in 0-0 and told them to relax and start playing how we can play.”

Read More

Read More
Crucial win over Stevenage keeps Mansfield Town automatic promotion hopes alive

Clough was delighted home fans stayed behind them in that frustratuing first half.

“It is important fans recognise you have to be patient at times,” he said.

“We'd like to go and score two or three early on but the opposition do not let you do that. They don't come and roll over.

“Games change at half-time. At 0-0 with our quality we always fancy our chances of getting a goal.

“From the kick-off Jamie Murphy got us going down the left hand side which lifted the crowd and set the pattern for the whole of the second half.”

George Lapslie set Stags on their way with a 51st minute goal after a short corner, Matty Longstaff with the second in stoppage time.

“George will play better than he did tonight but he scored the all-important goal,” said Clough.

“It was good to try a different corner with Matty Longstaff going short to Jamie Murphy as they had some big lads who were dealing with everything at the back.

“It was then important we got that second goal – even in added time. Anything can happen in the last minute of a game. And it was nice to keep the clean sheet.”

Mansfield are now fifth with two games to go and only a point off the top three.

“It was hugely unjust we didn't get at least a point at Carlisle, let alone the three which would have put our fate in our hands,” said Clough.

“But these were two important wins this week on the back of the two defeats.

“It sets us up for the last two games - and it's so tight we're still not even sure if we're going to be in the play-offs let alone challenging for the third spot.

“All three options are there and it's nice to be in the mix.

“We now have to go to Salford and win on Monday. Do that, it will guarantee us a play-off spot and we'd be going into the last day with a chance of automatic.”