Russell backs Stags goalkeeper after FA Trophy blunder

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Duncan Russell hailed Chasetown goalkeeper Ryan Price’s super show that helped earn the Scholars an FA Trophy replay folllwing last night’s 2-2 draw with Stags in the West Midlands.

And the Stags boss said he is also hoping to welcome back number one keeper Alan Marriott at the weekend after five months of injury misery.

The cup clash turned into a tale of two keepers as Price made a string of saves to deny Mansfield a hatful of goals while Mansfield’s on-loan keeper David Grof spilled a late corner into his own net to necessitate a replay.

“Their keeper pulled off so many saves that I don’t think he’ll have another game like that in his life,” said Russell.

“If he has another game like that in the replay I will go and sign him! He was outstanding.

“’Groffy’ put his hands up in the dressing room. He dropped the ball out of his hands. But he had pulled off a lot of saves before that and done well for us.

“It was good to have Alan Marriott back on the bench for us tonight and we hope he will be fit for Saturday.

“He is a massive influence for us. I take nothing away from the lads who have been between he sticks for us in recent weeks, but Alan’s experience counts for a lot.”

He added: “We should have won the game in the first half. But their keeper pulled off four or five really good saves and they are the sort of things that change a game.

“Going in 1-0 up I told them do not defend deep or lower what we were doing. I told them to keep turning them as their centre halves were slow and tired.

“But you always know a team will have a spell in the game, though Chasetown didn’t have any in the first half. But their equaliser was so soft.

“We had played some lovely football in that first half and Louis Moult and Paul Connor had shown good movement and worked well together.

“We scored two great goals but, typically of us, we let in two sloppy ones as well.

“But we now know what Chasetown are about I am pretty sure we will seal a victory in the replay, though we have a job to do at Tamworth on Saturday first in what is a massive league match for us.”

Stags will replay next Tuesday, meaning a new date will be needed for the visit of Grimsby, leaving Stags playing almost every midweek until the end of the season.

“We didn’t want a replay with the congestion we have already,” said Russell. “But there is nothing we can do about it. They are the cards we are dealt and you have to get on with it.

“We have a big enough squad and I will rotate it.”