Evans apologises for Stags’ second-half display

Mansfield Town v Chesterfield FC at the One Call Stadium. Sky Bet League 2 - November 25th 2017. Mansfield player Zander Diamond scores. Picture: Chris Etchells
Mansfield Town v Chesterfield FC at the One Call Stadium. Sky Bet League 2 - November 25th 2017. Mansfield player Zander Diamond scores. Picture: Chris Etchells

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans apologised to supporters for his team’s poor second half showing in today’s 2-2 home draw with local rivals Chesterfield.

The Stags needed an 88th minute goal from skipper Zander Diamond to steal a point at the end of a half in which the bottom placed visitors dominated.

But it was Mansfield who sparkled in a first half in which they had gone behind against the run of play to level.

“It’s not a pleasure drawing at home to Chesterfield – we go home down,” said Evans.

“But I am just pleased for our supporters we were able to draw the game as I know from being in the town how much it means to them.

“Apologies the second half performance wasn’t good, but the first half was stunning. We need more of that first half.

“To be as poor as we were in the second half reminded me of one or early season when you don’t expect it. I am expecting to see more consistency now and not up and down performances from individuals as well as the team.

“They let themselves down in the second half.

“But we did have character at the end.

“It was a game of two halves. I don’t know how we went behind in the game as we’d had total dominance and a clear cut penalty not given.

“We got back in the game with a great move and when we came in at half-time we said if just step it up three or four per cent we’ll win the game.”

However, the game swung completely the other way and Evans said: “We just didn’t come out second half. The so-called big players weren’t there and we could have taken more of them off.

“The substitutions were indicitive that we were a bit out of sorts second half.

“In the end we were fortunate to go and get a point but the plusses are we are 10 unbeaten and we didn’t lose.

“I think we deserved a point if you take it over the 90 minutes, not over the second half performance. I think we were second best in the second half but a street ahead in the first.

“If we do our job properly in the first half we probably turn two or three-nil up and it’s game over.

“Chesterfield have got good players and I don’t think they will going down. Second half they must have had a bit of a rocket or came out with a bit of belief.”

Centre half Diamond, who scored twice at Port Vale on Tuesday, was pushed up front at the end and it paid off handsomely as Stags’ unbeaten run was extended to 10 games.

“I made the decision to gamble in the match late on rather than lose,” said Evans.

“It was a training ground goal – a great cross from MacDonald and a great header from Zander – fantastic play. Then I thought we were going to go on and grab a winner.

“I thought our supporters were fantastic. The noise when the equaliser went in was simply stunning.”

Evans said he had one or two players short of full fitness after the bruiser at Port Vale.

“It wasn’t just Kane Hemmings who’d had a knock, two or three were struggling and I think their performances today said they weren’t quite there,” he said.