Stags boss Evans praises fans after late victory

Mansfield Town v Crawley Town.
Stags' new manager Steve Evans.

Mansfield Town v Crawley Town. Stags' new manager Steve Evans.

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Mansfield Town’s new manager Steve Evans thanked Stags fans for their noisy backing as a late Danny Rose goal tonight made it two home wins in four days for the perfect start to his tenure.

A crowd of 2,801 took the roof off as Rose broke Blackpool hearts with his 92nd minute finish and Evans smiled: “The wonderful thing is they’ve gone right to the end tonight. And what a fantastic support.

“My players have got every incentive to go to the end.

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“There might have been just a touch under 3,000 here tonight but it felt like 20,000 when the goal went in. That’s how noisy it was.

“The Stags fans deserve enormous credit and I am just pleased we’ve had a couple of wins as we know how hard each and every one of them is to get.

“We aimed to get six points and we got six points so it’s been a good three or four days.”

However, he warned: “We are not going to get carried away.

“I said to the players it was a really competitive game tonight.

“But we didn’t get the ball down and play when we needed some quality. So we have to keep working hard and that will come.

“Particularly in League Two and League One you have to earn the right to play and my talk at half-time was that it might take until 90 minutes just to earn the right.

“Someone had to make a mistake, which was unfortunate, but we took full advantage.

“So we’ll celebrate the win. The boys will go home and rest up tomorrow and we’ll get back on the training ground to focus on Carlisle.”

Evans added: “Because it came so late it probably feels twice as good. But it’s fine margins. There was nothing in the game.

“The players had been made well aware since Saturday that, for me, Blackpool are one of the better sides in the league. Their current form demonstrates that.

“They are big, strong and physical. If you’re not 6ft 2ins you don’t even get a trial. That’s how Gary (Bowyer) shapes them up and he does a wonderful job.

“We had a bit of good fortune at the end, but I am delighted for the young man who got the goal as he’s had a difficult time here and our job is to embrace everyone and give them a chance.”

Stags once again had to put out a makeshift defence due to injuries and suspensions, and Evans said: “Their front two are a handful, but I challenged (Rhys) Bennett and (Krystian) Pearce tonight as I know we are a little bit light.

“We focus on the players we’ve got and I asked them just not to be intimidated, not to be bullied and stand strong and I thought the two centre backs and the goalkeeper were outstanding.”
Evans also had praise for Blackpool stopper Sam Slocombe.

“To be fair their keeper has made two wonderful saves,” he said.

“He is a young man who has certainly picked up his wages this week and has been in outstanding form for Gary.

“I thought he’d almost got to it, but it gets over the line and we get the win.”

Evans admitted Blackpool probably deserved a draw.

“I can’t stand here and say we deserved to win the game as I think a point each might have been a fair result,” he said.

“Listen, I have been on the wrong end of so many decisions that we’ll take the win.

“They are a better side than Crawley and the league table at the end of the season will dictate that.

“Three points is three points, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in the Premier League or non-League, any manager will tell every three points is hard to get.

“The most important thing is we looked after them (the players) between Saturday and today. It’s my job as the head coach to make sure the medical team are doing their job and my players are fit and ready.”

As his six game unbeaten run was ended, Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer said: “It’s a cruel game sometimes isn’t it?

“I thought we came here tonight and matched the fight and their goalkeeper pulled off a wonderful start in the second half.

“We needed to just see it through and we’ve not been able to do that.

“I think a point each would have been a fair result. There wasn’t much quality in the game and there wasn’t too much goalmouth incident.

“We made two mistakes on the trot, they’ve not meant to do them, but it’s ended up costing us a point.

“We put a good little run together and showed how we can play. Tonight we’ve come here and shown we can fight.

“Now we’ve got to go again, regroup and start another run on Saturday.

“We haven’t time to feel sorry for ourselves. The beauty is we’ve got a game again so quickly on Saturday.”