Stags manager Evans says it was fans’ backing that earned them a draw in eight-goal thriller

Mansfield v Accrington Stanley.'Second half substitute, Yoann Arquin celebrates scoring the Stags' equaliser to tie the score at 4-4.
Mansfield v Accrington Stanley.'Second half substitute, Yoann Arquin celebrates scoring the Stags' equaliser to tie the score at 4-4.

Steve Evans said it was the home fans who gained Mansfield Town their remarkable 4-4 draw with Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.

Clearly having an off night, the in-form Stags twice had to fight back from two goals down and eventually needed a spectacular last minute equaliser from Yoann Arquin to steal a point.

It was a night when both managers and sets of fans had their nerves shredded and Evans smiled: “I am heading off shortly to the asylum and there I am meeting the Barcelona manager and the Arsenal manager because we are all in that club this week. And I suppose John Coleman has to come as well!

Click HERE to see a Gif of the amazing Arquin equaliser

“The wee man in a white van with a white coat is arriving shortly and I look forward to meeting a couple of legends.”

He continued: “You know the main reason we got a point? Early in the game we went 2-0 down and the atmosphere in the stadium was terrific. I’ve been in charge of football clubs where when you go 2-0 down it becomes quite hostile.

“That’s never a good environment. So the credit from me only goes to one group of people and that was the supporters.

“To be 2-0 down and 3-1 down to still hear the Stags fans singing and getting behind the team and words of encouragement coming onto the pitch from behind me it was fantastic so thank you to every Stags fan who turned up and stayed positive on what could have been a horrible evening.

“They missed a great chance to go 3-0 up, I don’t kid myself, but saying that we missed a big chance to win 5-4.

“What you have to do with nights like that, 100 per cent, is if you think it’s a one off you move forward from it.

“Of course you have to point it out to your players and we’ll go back on the training ground today and work hard to prevent that happening again.

“But it just shows you that if you lack, focus, detail and concentration you can pay a price and I think that’s what happened the other night.”

It was a sudden end to a run of three clean sheets for Mansfield.

“Our defending has been really good all the way through, not just since January. That’s down to the players,” said Evans.

“We work with them on the training ground but quite rightly they’ve had plaudits and so they should. But it just seemed to be all over the pitch. We defend from the front and we attack from the back.

“I have watched the game back twice and you wonder were there any players that were at the top of their game? The answer is no.

“We didn’t perform, but I’ll use Sean Dyche’s words here, we found a way to take a point - and we were unlucky not to take all three.

“We found a way to not get beaten and that’s always a hallmark of a decent side.

“We couldn’t fault determination, effort or commitment and passion – that was there in abundance. I think we could see that by the celebrations when Yoann Arquin got the late equaliser. The whole team was with him.”

Evans said the blame for poor defending lay with his whole team.

“Defenders or goalkeepers always get highlighted in the headlines when they make a mistake, we get punished and concede,” he said.

“But we scored four goals and we weren’t terrific going forward either. So it was a really strange evening.

“But we’ll take the point. We sit in the play-offs and we’ve made remarkable strides, but that’s only the start. We are probably only three or four steps out of 15 to be there.

“It was two points lost. If you get an opportunity to win on a Tuesday you have to take it as it gives everyone a bounce in their step towards the Saturday.

“We left the stadium on a buzz because it was a late goal, but I think we all knew we were way off it all over the pitch.”