Thursday, May 23, 2024

Nigel Clough urges Mansfield to end season with win and claim top-two finish

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Apr 2024

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Mansfield boss Nigel Clough challenged his promoted side to end the season on a high and finish second.

The Stags came from behind to beat Gillingham 2-1 in their final home game and now head for Barrow in second spot for next Saturday’s season finale.

“We have only lost two or three games at home this season and the Crawley defeat stands out,” said Clough.

“But the whole campaign has been outstanding and we now want to try to finish second by getting a result up at Barrow next week.

“That is four wins on the spin now and it’s amazing how you can take it into next season.”

Mansfield, who were promoted on Tuesday night, had to come from behind to beat Gillingham and end the visitors’ play-off hopes.

“It was brilliant to get the three points today,” Clough said.

“First half it was always going to be a bit flat. The lads enjoyed Tuesday night’s celebrations and some carried it over into Wednesday, so in training it was more about picking the most sober 11 rather than injuries.

“We conceded a goal. But second half right from the start I thought we were very good indeed. Once we got that equaliser I thought we’d go on and win it.”

Timothee Dieng put Gillingham ahead from an almost impossible angle on the by-line after 19 minutes, but Mansfield went up a gear after the break and Tom Nichols headed on for Davis Keillor-Dunn to rifle in his 22nd goal of the season after 77 minutes.

Three minutes later Stephen McLaughlin produced a bullet of a winner as he smashed into the top right corner from the left hand side of the box.

Gillingham boss Stephen Clemence was largely happy with his side’s showing, despite the result, but felt they ran out of steam against good opposition.

“I was really pleased with our performance,” he said. “Mansfield are a very good team and they deserve to be in the top three.

“I really enjoy watching them. I think they are probably the best team to watch in the division – they create a bit of chaos.

“We dealt with it really well in the first half and created some chances of our own. Unfortunately we ran out of steam, if we hadn’t I think it could have been a different game.

“Before that we more than matched them and were the better team for large periods of that game but didn’t get a result.

“The first goal was a mistake. People make mistakes and you can’t make them again, you have to learn from them.

“The second goal was a really good strike and you won’t see many better goals this weekend – fair play to the boy.”

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