Stats show Stags’ display at Exeter surpassed Newport thrashing

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Exeter City v Mansfield Town; 17/2/18  KO 15.00; St James Park; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield's Kane Hemmings sees his effort tipped onto the Exeter cross bar by keeper Christy Pym
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Sky Bet League Two; Exeter City v Mansfield Town; 17/2/18 KO 15.00; St James Park; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Mansfield's Kane Hemmings sees his effort tipped onto the Exeter cross bar by keeper Christy Pym

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans said match statistics confirmed the performance in Saturday’s magnificent 1-0 win at promotion rivals Exeter City was actually better than the display given in the midweek 5-0 thrashing of Newport County.

“Credit to the players,” beamed Evans. “They carried on from the rampant performance against Newport with a really stylish performance at Exeter.

“First half it was total football, total control, and it’s fair to say we hemmed back a very, very good Exeter side.

“We knew there would a reaction second half so we had a little word in the dressing room, changed one or two things tactically, and the boys carried it to a tee. Exeter never made a chance.

“It was an excellent three points against, what must be said, is a terrific team.

“All the statistics, apart from the goals for column, tell you it was better. There was 15 per cent more energy, 16 per cent more sprints, something like 11 per cent more creative situations, more opportunities breaking into the final third, all that tells you it was better.

“On the eye it was better. But I’d have settled for being worse and 4-0 up.

“I think the quality of the play in the first half went up a notch from where it was against Newport and that’s credit only to the players, not the coaching staff. The players deserve the credit for that.”

Evans said he was delighted to see new combinations of players gelling superbly in all departments right now.

“Partnerships are developing all over the pitch,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone would wish to play against our front two at the moment. Every time Rose and Hemmings go on the pitch together they are looking more and more of a handful.

“It tells you how tough the job is for Lee Angol, Jimmy Spencer and Ricky Miller, who is looking razor sharp and we are struggling to get the wee man on the pitch. That’s hard.

“King and MacDonald are looking a blossoming partnership.

“Hamilton and Benning have been looking top notch for a while, Potter has come in and put in some really good performances. Him and Anderson set up the goal with a wonderful pass from Anderson and wonderful tenacity and cross by the wee man.

“It created an opportunity for the two strikers. When we talk about partnerships, one striker gets on the end of it, the goalkeeper makes a wonderful save and, like Batman and Robin, up pops Robin and scores!”