We should have got something out of that game – Stags boss Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough believes Mansfield Town could have come away with something from tonight's 2-0 setback at Sutton United with more care in the final third.
A five game winning run was halted, but the Stags boss said: “I am not too disappointed with the performance, but I am with the result.
“I thought we had more than enough situations tonight to get a goal.
“Nathan Bishop has had to pick the ball out the net twice with one kicked off the line but, apart from that, he's not had an awful lot to do.
“I don't think we played badly – just in and around their penalty area.
“I thought at 1-0 if we could have scored a goal at any time the least we'd have got out of the game is a point.”
Tyrese Sinclair livened matters up when he came on but again failed to find the net.
“Tyrese has had chances again, but didn't convert any of them them which is our problem,” said Clough.
“We are missing Rhys Oates and Danny Johnson – our two best goalscorers. We got away with it on Saturday but it showed up tonight.”
Mansfield failed to recover from conceding a fourth minute goal as Sutton caught them cold.
“I was very disappointed with the opening goal,” said Clough.
“We talked about trying to keep the ball out the box and not giving away free kicks and Elliott Hewitt gave two away in the first few minutes, which led to the goal.
“We were a little bit unlucky with it as we challenged for it and it just dropped at the lad's feet, though he finished it well.
“We knew they put that ball in the box and put you under pressure, especially early, so we said let's get through the first 10-15 minutes of the game and then get the ball down and play. We did that but we were 1-0 down by then.”
Having been treated for an injury since Saturday, Stags had to take off star man Stephen Quinn just after half-time and Clough admitted: “Stephen Quinn wasn't right tonight.
“We took a bit of a gamble. We wanted to put the same team out, which you can understand after winning five on the spin and a good performance on Saturday.
“Maybe we forced that issue a little bit tonight. But if we hadn't and we were sitting here and we'd lost we'd say why didn't we put the same team out?
“We got him off and hopefully he will be all right for Saturday. He wasn't quite his usual self and he is such an influential player for us.
“Also I don't think George Maris had any positive impact on the game at all tonight and he is your main playmaker with Quinn. We're going to struggle if they're not on it.
“I took Oli Hawkins off too as he has a bad back, he was one foul away from being sent off and he gave a goal away with an uncharacteristic mistake, but something you can't afford to do here. The second goal killed the game.”
Clough continued: “Sutton are a good, hard-working side – typical of a club coming out the Conference.
“We've played against them over the years and know exactly what they're like. And when you have a night game it's even more difficult under the lights.
“Our heads didn't drop. We kept playing and created situations right to the end.
“It wasn't through lack of effort tonight, just lack of care and thought in and around the penalty area.
“Sutton had the run of the ball and the referee made a couple of errors and said 'that was my mistake' - but it always seems to be against us. It's those little things.
“We've had a great run of five on the spin and the only thing that matters now is Crawley on Saturday.
“It's a tough week for everyone travelling wise and we must make sure we are on it come 3pm on Saturday.”
Stags had a small, noisy following at Sutton and Clough said: “Our fans were absolutely brilliant tonight. It's a long old trip, especially for a night match, getting hiome in the early hours and then having to go to work next day. We appreciate them.”
Stags hope that Rhys Oates may join in training before the end of the week as he bids to return from injury.
But Kellan Gordon, only just back from injury, got a slight knock on his knee in training on Monday and missed out tonight.