Clements delight after winning debut as Stags skipper

Chris Clements in action.
Chris Clements in action.

Chris Clements was delighted to mark his first game as Mansfield Town captain with victory and a spectacular winning goal away to Derby County U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy last night.

The Brummie midfield ace admitted it had been a surprise to be named captain.

“I have been here forever so that’s probably the reason,” he smiled.

“But I will take the armband if it’s given to me.

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“It was different. It was a strange one when the gaffer named the team and I was skipper.

“But everyone has got to be a leader on the pitch, no matter who wears the armband.

“We’ve all got to work for each other, be leaders, be talkers, that is what the gaffer is trying to get into us now.

“We need to learn how to win games as we did today. In previous weeks we’ve not slow the game down when we needed to or managed the game as well as we could have.

“There were a lot of good individual performances and, obviously, it showed with the team performance, winning against a good Derby side to be fair. They played a lot of young players but were still a good standard of team.”

The Checkatrade Trophy’s new format, allowing Premier League and Championship sides’ academy teams in, has attracted much criticism.

But Clements said: “It was a good test for us today and hopefully we can take this win through to our League form.

“We are looking to get as far as we can in this competition now.

“Obviously if we can win these cup games it can give us momentum for the League games that are coming up.

“We’ve got a difficult game on Saturday, Pompey away, that we need to get something out of. I think the win today will give us the momentum for the game on Saturday.”

Last night the Stags threw away an early 2-0 lead, but Clements then popped up in stoppage time to find the top corner from 25 yards and seal a 3-2 win.

“It’s good to get a goal but the most important thing was to get a win,” he said.

“I think the performance on Saturday deserved a win, so it’s good to get through in this competition and to get the winner is good for myself. And I think the team needed that win tonight.

“I think we started quick. We mixed it up. We played it short and went long.

“We went long to Hendo (Darius Henderson) and in the first half I don’t think they could deal with him, the big presence that he was.

“They had a few young lads who hadn’t come up against a Darius Henderson before.

“We mixed up different styles and it worked for us.

“But I think it got a bit easy for us after the two goals and we started taking chances, taking too long on the ball. We’ve got to rectify that for next time.

“These academy players play football so I think we needed to mix it up. They are good at playing football as they showed, passing the ball.

“But when we mixed it up we looked dangerous. We got the two goals from going off Hendo.”

Stags fans made up almost half of the 870 crowd and Clements added: “They were loud, especially when we scored the last goal and at the final whistle.

“We brought a good following today. I know it’s a local game but it’s good to get a few here to get behind us and help us over the line.”