Mansfield Town fans delight and surprise team and manager with noise levels on return to the One Call Stadium

Nigel Clough was delighted and surprised by the level of noise created by Mansfield Town supporters as they returned to the One Call Stadium tonight for the first time in 17 months to see Stags beat Coventry City in a friendly.

By John Lomas
Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 9:54 pm
Stags fans back at the One Call at last.
Stags fans back at the One Call at last.

A crowd of 2,539 got right behind their side from the second they left the tunnel and manager Clough said: “It was wonderful. Myself and a number of the lads have not played in front of fans here and it was a lovely feeling.

“For a pre-season game a few of the lads were very surprised as well as me.

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Nigel Clough - back managing in front of fans again

“It was absolutely brilliant to see supporters back in and making that noise.

“I was just saying to Stephen McLaughin imagine what it's going to be like in 10 days time and he said 'good – it gets you going' – and it does.

“It gets us going and hopefully has the opposite effect on the opposition. If we can get on the front foot out there with the crowd behind us I hope not many teams will look forward to coming here.”

Stags dominated and created openings but had to settle for a 1-0 win thanks to a George Lapslie finish.

“It was a good performance and encouraging. On another night we would have scored two or three more,” said Clough.

“I think you can see the signs of how we want to play

“We got what we wanted out of that physically and tried to set the tone of how we want to play this season, especially here at home.

“We won't always be able to do that. Other teams will do things against us that will make it difficult but you can see the pattern of what we're trying to do.”

There was a debut for newly-arrived Manchester united loan keeper Nathan Bishop, but Clough smiled: “We didn't learn an awful lot about Nathan Bishop as he didn't have much to do.

“But we were pleased with his concentration, his positioning and his distribution.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have him in the team at last. Defensively we looked pretty solid and we had a look at Elliott Hewitt at right back as an option.”

Clough had high praise for the midfield trio who ran the show.

He said: “Although we have seven or eight new players in, when you get that trio in midfield of Maris, Quinn and Clarke, they have played together for six months now and that definitely shows.

“They are ones who get us going and we cause some problems.

“I have said all along I don't think we can get better than those three.

“But we have brought Ryan Stirk in as cover and he fitted in quite well when he came on. He will be needed this season as those three won't stay fit all the way through the season.”

Clough won't get carried away as Stags followed the win at Hull City with this victory over the Sky Blues.

“We lost to Matlock and Grimsby and then beat two Championship sides, that's why pre-season counts for nothing apart from the physical side and how you're trying to play,” he said.

“But there looks a lot of promise there.

“I just hope we're not one of those teams who play better against better teams as we have to deal with all sorts in League Two.

“That will be one of our biggest challenges. We know against good footballing sides we can play. We have to deal with the other side of things too.”