David Flitcroft hails strong Mansfield defensive foundation

Posted Sunday, December 09, 2018 by PA

David Flitcroft hails strong Mansfield defensive foundation

Mansfield manager David Flitcroft believed the 2-0 derby victory over Notts county was built on a solid defensive foundation.

CJ Hamilton made sure there would be no upset with a goal in each half as the high-flying Stags saw off the struggling Magpies.

Despite having new boss Neal Ardley in charge for the first time in League Two, the Stags swept Notts aside to make it 12 league games unbeaten against them and chalk up a 13th unbeaten league game – Mansfield’s best run for 42 years.

“You could argue looking at the table today that it was going to be a forgone conclusion,” said Flitcroft.

“But these things are never foregone conclusions. Things happen in derbies all the time.

“Neal Ardley, a great football man, has come in and you always get a big lift from that. But that lift didn’t turn into enough to give us any real problems.

“The bravery of the back three and the keeper to play the ball out under pressure gave us the foundation to go on and win the game.

“The lads were brilliant and all credit to them as they’ve put the work in this week. This place was rocking today.”

Notts did have chances in the first half with home goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik making good saves to deny Nathan Thomas twice and Will Patching.

But, after Neil Bishop had been denied by Ross Fitzsimons’ legs when put through by a Jacob Mellis pass, Mansfield were finally ahead on 37 minutes.

Mal Benning sent a delicious ball to the far post from the left and Hamilton arrived late to turn it home.

After Hamilton had fired against the bar after 52 minutes, he doubled the lead in the 63rd minute as Mellis sent him into the box on the right and he came inside to drill home a low finish from 10 yards.

Notts had no reply and new boss Ardley said: “I thought in the end they were the better team.

“For the first 35 minutes it was a good game and our game plan worked well. Either team could have scored.

“We had two one-on-ones, Nathan Thomas and Will Patching both got in, and you have to take those chances. It could have been very different – goals change games.

“As we started to chase the game, it got a bit stretched and they’ve got a lot of pace and movement.

“In the two games I’ve been here we’ve been good in the first half and not so good in the second, so that’s something we need to address.

“But we will be all right. We just need to work hard at it and we will turn it round. There are good players here and we will get it right.”




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