Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft was full of praise for centre half Hayden White, who risked missing his wife giving birth to help Stags to a hard-earned 0-0 draw at Tranmere Rovers tonight.
While lamenting missing a handful of great second half chances, Flitcroft was delighted with the clean sheet and the contribution made by White.
“A big shout out to Hayden,” said Flitcroft. “It was touch and go if we’d have him. His missus has gone into labour tonight.
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“I wanted us to win for Hayden as he’s travelled here three hours from the hospital – his phone has been with us all the time – and we are hoping she will give birth tonight and everyone is safe and sound.
“Not many players would do that in the modern game.
“Hayden didn’t travel with the team. He travelled on his own.
“I am immensely proud of him. He has grown up and become that leader I knew he could become. His performance was colossal.
“For a couple of weeks we’ve been worrying if we’d have him and we’d put young Lewis Gibbens in the set pieces this afternoon.”
On the game, he said: “The second half was really open.
“The first half was a cagey affair where they sat off.
“But they came at us in the second half and that seemed to suit us and the game became stretched.
“We had five phenomenal open chances we created second half. But we just didn’t have that ruthless edge tonight.
“In a one v one the only person you want on that ball is Tyler Walker with his finishing quality. I thought we’d see the back of the net rippled.
“We had to work really hard for our opportunities. Davo (Craig Davies) has had two chances, it was just his connections and executions.
“Then we had Otis (Khan) 12 yards out with the keeper to beat and his technical ability, but he just lost his composure a bit going inside the goalkeeper.
“We didn’t score, but it’s really important you don’t concede and keep that clean sheet.
“Tranmere epitomise their manager’s qualities and have momentum from their promotion last season.
“This place starts rocking – it’s loud. But our young players not only coped with it but dealt with it really well.
“This would have been a fantastic away point if we’d won on Saturday.
“But we are still unbeaten so all credit to that group of players.”
One big talking point tonight was the dropping of first choice keeper Conrad Logan, at fault for Colchester’s equaliser on Saturday, and the inclusion of Bobby Olejnik between the posts.
Flitcroft said: “We have quality in this squad and I don’t mind making big decisions.
“They will always be footballing decisions – never personal, always professional.
“I knew there would be a lot of crosses in the game tonight. Tranmere throw it in early and it rains in.
“Collecting crosses is a strength of Bobby’s. The save he made second half was phenomenal.
“He has been waiting patiently in the wings and supported and respected Conrad.
“I thought tonight we’d give him the chance we’d give an outfield player and he’s done the club proud.
“Conrad supported him too and it shows the respect we all have for each other.”
Stags substitutes and other fringe players will make up a side to play behind closed doors at Doncaster Rovers tomorrow in a friendly to keep everyone match sharp.