Flitcroft delighted to see Mansfield Town hold out for victory

David Flitcroft gives the orders against Carlisle.
David Flitcroft gives the orders against Carlisle.

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft believes his players had to overcome a mental barrier today as fear of a repeat of the last home game hung over them.

Stags conceded a late equaliser against Colchester last time out and, leading only 1-0 today against Carlisle, had to withstand some fearsome late pressure.

But they hung on for three well-deserved points in a nervous finish, after missing a string of good chances to seal the points early.

Flitcroft said: “I think there was a psychological impact from the way we ended up drawing the game with Colchester which I probably didn't realise.

“It was like a morgue here in the crowd at the end of the Colchester game - and I do get it as we had been so dominant.

“It is our responsibility now to break down teams and every time we explored it we looked threatening.

“It was a good performance, but it can be better. It was a bit nervy towards the end, which it would not have been had we been better in key moments.

“But these players do want to score for the team, they want to score for the town, they want to score for each other. They are not missing chances on purpose.

“We are creating good chances and if we'd scored a second we'd have put it to bed and there would probably have been no nervousness.

“But I do understand it with what happened against Colchester.”

He added: “There is a lot of support for these players out there for the way we are trying to do things and build this team. I thought we moved the ball about really well today.”

Stags welcomed back defenders Matt Preston and Hayden White from injury and the manager said: “I was really happy to get Matt Preston and Hayden White back in the fold. They are really important players for us this season and credit to the medical staff.”

In the end Stags keeper Bobby Olejnik had one crucial save to make in time added on and kept our Jerry Yates' header.

“He had one save to make at the end but it was a fantastic save,” said Flitcroft.

“It was strong and it was brave. He stood firm and he has had to make it at a key time.

“When a League Two team has hope they'll have a gamble, throw men up, and get the ball in early. So it's imperative we as a group start improving on our work in that last third.

“It's good when you look at the table. There are too many draws, but some are away draws.

“We haven't got enough points on the board for the performances we've had.”

Carlisle boss John Sheridan, meanwhile, was disappointed his side left it late to start showing any urgency in today's 1-0 defeat at Mansfield Town.

The Cumbrians had won their last three games but were lucky to still be in it as Stags created chance after chance.

In the end it took a stoppage time save from Bobby Olejnik to deny Jerry Yates an equaliser and Sheridan said: “We started showing urgency with 10-15 minutes to go and caused them problems - and Jerry should have scored.

“Balls were going in and bouncing round the box and that was because we were playing on the front foot more.

“We should not have to wait 70 minutes for that. You can't afford to do that.

“I just felt we were a bit off our game if I am being honest. I think if we'd got anything out of that game we would have been fortunate as they had some good chances.

“We are our own worst enemy. We came into the game fourth in the league and came here in a bit of form and I just expected more from us.”

He continued: “I thought we did okay in the first half but we weren't really at it today. We made life hard for ourselves.

“At this level of football you just don't know who is going to turn up and I think one or two of our lads were not really on their game.

“Leading up to the goal there were bad decisions from us, whether it was a penalty or not I don't know. I couldn't see form where I was but the lads say it wasn't.”

Referee Darren Drysdale angered both sides with his display and Sheridan snapped: “The referee never had his whistle out his mouth all day.

“It's grown men's football. Every time someone touches someone it's a free kick all the time.

“I can't stand it. It drives me up the wall and, to me, it spoils the game.”