14 March 2023

Nigel Clough rues key decisions as Mansfield beaten by Northampton

14 March 2023

Mansfield boss Nigel Clough felt the key decisions went against his side during Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to promotion rivals Northampton.

Sam Hoskins scored the only goal of the game with a 28th-minute penalty after Louis Appere was brought down by Mansfield goalkeeper Christy Pym.

Ollie Clarke and Danny Johnson missed chances to level before Mansfield’s hopes were effectively ended by Stephen Quinn’s red card midway through the second half.

“It was a frustrating night,” admitted Clough. “We didn’t play particularly well but I didn’t think we were too bad and there were four, five, six situations where we could easily have got a goal, even with 10 men.

“It’s a red card but he’s (Quinn) also blatantly fouled two seconds earlier. The lad has caught him and the fourth official is only 10 yards away but it’s not given and then the tackle after that, he should know better because he’s let us down.

“I’ve got no problem with the red card but there’s a foul before it and there were one or two other decisions as well.

“We definitely should have had a penalty on Ollie Clarke in the first half. The ref told me at half-time that it was ‘normal contact’ but whether he’s shooting or trying to go around the goalkeeper, there’s no such thing as normal contact.

“I asked him to explain the phrase ‘normal contact’ because I’ve never heard it before, and I also thought Kieron Wallace was very unlucky to get booked after three minutes – he played the ball.

“It was a pretty poor night for us but we had enough situations to go and get a goal.”

Northampton, who have lost only one of their last 10 games, are now just a point off third.

“I’m just really pleased for our players and our supporters tonight,” said manager Jon Brady. “It was a strong win and a strong performance.

“I want to talk about the players who were out there. We have got a lot of missing, 10 tonight, but the players who have been on the periphery came in and performed very well and worked really hard, including the subs.

“I felt the players were excellent in their organisation and the way they stopped the opposition from playing and it led to us creating to a lot of chances on the back of that.

“It was just a really disciplined performance, not just from the starting XI but all 14, 15 players.”

On the winning penalty, Brady added: “It takes courage to step up and stick it away like that and Sam’s been there when we have needed him this season.

“The penalty came off the back of our organisation and it was a great run and shimmy from Louis to go round Pym and he’s been brought down. It was great teamwork.”

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