Nigel Clough encouraged by fine Mansfield Town display in defeat to League One Sheffield Wednesday
Mansfield Town's fringe players and youngsters impressed boss Nigel Clough in tonight's last gasp 2-1 home Papa John's Trophy defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.
The League One outfit stole it at the death at the end of an exciting game.
It left Stags without a win in any competition for 10 games, but Clough said: “It was an encouraging performance by a predominantly young side and people who have not been getting too much of a game.
“It was a very good game and I am bitterly disappointed we lost it in stoppage time as I don't think we deserved to.
“I think the young side did well. It was based upon giving lads a game and getting experience in this sort of competition.
“The lads that didn't feature tonight have generally got knocks.
“We had good chances to score in the first half and that's another element of our performances – not making the most of our chances and situations.”
He continued: “We started the second half with the wind behind us and penned them in and it was one of the very rare forays into our box they scored from.
“I think we had about five shots in the first five or 10 minutes of the second half, all of which we could have scored from. We had enough chances to have won comfortably tonight.”
On the three goals, he added: “I was disappointed with their first goal with George Shelvey. If he's coming for it, he has to get something on the ball.
“But I thought we scored a very good team goal in terms of the build-up.
“When you are 60-70 seconds away from a 1-1 and going to penalties you have to do more to win the ball on the edge of the box and stop the cross to take it to a bare minimum of penalties. It was a lack of concentration and desire to get to the ball.
“You know if you concede at that point you've lost.”Stags' centre half crisis worsened as 18-year-old George Cooper came off at half-time with a pulled groin after an impressive full debut to become the fifth central defender to be lost to injury and is expected to be out for a few weeks.