Boss Evans slams Stags’ shocking defending in eight-goal thriller

Mansfield Town Manager Steve Evans with assistant Paul Raynor behind
Picture by Dan Westwell
Mansfield Town Manager Steve Evans with assistant Paul Raynor behind Picture by Dan Westwell
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Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans slammed his normally reliable defence for a shocking display in tonight’s rip-roaring 4-4 home draw with Accrington Stanley.

The Stags had only conceded one League goal since the turn of the year and had just enjoyed three clean sheets on the bounce.

But struggling Accrington, for so long Mansfield’s bogey opponents, twice opened out two-goal leads before a spectacular late Yoann Arquin strike shared the spoils.

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“You score four goals you should win the game, anywhere in the country, home or away,” said Evans.

“But if you defend like that you deserve to concede 20 goals in a game. My back five were shocking from start to finish.

“My two centre halves have been magnificent but tonight they were as weak as powder. It was as bad a back five performance as I’ve seen. They didn’t get much help in front of them either.

“We have huffed and puffed but lacked a lot of quality and it’s a little wake-up call.

“Some of these players might end up playing at clubs like Accrington if that’s how they want to play – and that’s no disrespect to John Coleman at Accrington as he does wonders there.

“But there were two very committed teams out there that have gone toe to toe. I am not questioning commitment or effort or energy.”

Evans continued: “When we went 3-3, I wanted us to calm the game down but then Hayden White jumps into the guy and there is no disputing it’s a penalty.

“It took a special goal from Yoann Arquin, who has been fighting off a groin strain, to get us a point – it was a wonderful goal - and it may just be a point that counts at the end of the season.

“I thought we were going to win. We were famous at Rotherham United for getting late goals.

“It’s never easy to beat a John Coleman side as you know the minimum they are going to give is a real battle. We go away thinking a draw is a fair result but we were unfortunate perhaps not to win it.”

Evans’ opposite number at Accrington, John Coleman, said: “It was a smashing game and a great advert for League Two.

“It was two good sides playing football the way it should be played with loads of thrills and spills and some great goals.

“The disappointing thing for me tonight was that there were 10 bookings and I don’t think there was a bad challenge in the game. I don’t think that reflected the intensity the game was played at and the ability shown by both sides.

“At 2-0 and 3-1 I think Mansfield fans would have bitten your hand off for a draw.

“But we are disappointed we let a two-goal lead slip twice and we had enough chances to add more goals and put more daylight in between us.

“But fair play to Mansfield, they kept plugging away at it and scored a great goal to level it.”

Coleman concluded: “We have got to be pleased with the performance we showed and we’ve got to maintain that form now to the end of the season.

“If we show that kind of intensity and level of ability we’ll get out of trouble.”