Nigel Clough laments poor first-half after Mansfield Town lose to Bradford City

Anthony Hartigan in action against Bradford. Photo: Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.mediaAnthony Hartigan in action against Bradford. Photo: Chris Holloway / The Bigger
Anthony Hartigan in action against Bradford. Photo: Chris Holloway / The Bigger
Nigel Clough felt a disappointing first-half display and the concession of a poor second goal were the key factors in Mansfield Town’s 2-1 defeat to Bradford City on Tuesday.

Goals from Richie Smallwood and ex-Stag Andy Cook gave the Bantams a two-goal lead, and despite having defender Matty Platt sent off on the hour mark, only a Will Swan goal 20 minutes from time threatened the visitors’ lead. REPORT HERE.

And Clough lamented the lack of a cutting edge throughout.

He said: "I didn’t think we did enough in the first-half and went in 1-0 down, and although we came out and played well in the second-half, we gave a ridiculously poor goal away and ultimately that’s what’s cost us the game.

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"We couldn’t quite get through them in the first-half. They’re a good, solid side and very organised and difficult to exploit through the middle, which is why we changed it a bit in the second-half and went for more width which gave us more joy, even before the sending off.

"But the second goal, just when we were trying to build up a head of steam, absolutely killed us.

"I don’t think we made good enough decisions when they had ten men, we should have got the ball wider a bit earlier and got more crosses in, especially with Oli Hawkins on for the last 15 minutes.

"They got blocks on everything and we need to go back to what we were doing and getting people in the box and balls in the box as well.

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"I think we’re a bit too patient and sideways at times and need a bit more impetus and urgency.”

City boss Mark Hughes, meanwhile, was thrilled to see his side grind out the win.

He said: “The ref played a part as I’m not sure anybody could see why Matty Platt deserved two yellow cards, and it changed the game at that point because we were in total control and in the ascendancy and that put us on the back foot.

"We then conceded straight away but from that point on we understood what was needed and what we had to do to protect the result that we certainly deserved and we got about our task, dug in and everybody played a part.

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"Even when we had ten men they didn’t create all that much as we kept our shape and desire and got our head on things and at times we were a threat going the other way.

"Credit to the players. I’m proud of them and proud of the fans who were magnificent in huge numbers and they helped get us over the line.”