Steve Evans was delighted to see his players stand up to the pressure that Newport County’s very direct style puts the opposition under and take a point from today’s 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade.
Danny Rose gave Stags a first half lead only to see Shawn McCoulsky level from a huge Ben Tozer throw.
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“You’re never pleased when you don’t win a game, but we’ll take the point. It is a tough place to come,” said Evans.
“You can understand why they are sixth in the league.
“With those long throws as well they are the longest ball team I’ve seen in a long time, but it’s very effective for Michael (manager Flynn) and his players. They know their jobs inside out.
“It’s very difficult when you’re trying to be a footballing side and competing with that. But my players stood up brave today and if anything we probably go away disappointed we’ve not won the game.”
The wind and rain caused extra problems.
“In the first half the wind had subsided and the pitch had held up extremely well to the rain - credit to Newport for the job they’ve done,” said Evans.
“Second half, though, the weather changed and the wind and rain started going into our goalkeeper’s face. Credit to the players – they stood up to it.”
On Rose’s goal, the manager said: “He kicked part of the ground, but he’s found the finish.
“We played Danny a little bit deeper off Kane today and he found little pockets. A lot of that was caused by Kane Hemmings’ excellent movement.”
Stags’ hopes of taking all three points were wrecked from a long Tozer throw.
“We switched off for their goal which was the disappointing aspect as, other than that, my goalkeeper has only had to make a couple of saves,” said Evans.
“He throws it as far as many people can kick a cross and they play to it. It’s how they put you under pressure.
“We worked on defending it Thursday and Friday and said it’s not about dealing with the first ball – it’s the second phase that leads to the goal.”
Yet Stags could have been 2-0 up had Alfie Potter’s finish not hit the post.
“Alfie’s hit the inside of the post and any other time that goes in,” said Evans.
“You can never say at 2-0 your game is over, but at 2-0 we would have been in total command and make them change how they do things which gives you even more of an advantage. We knew that was a key moment.”
He added: “We have got lots of improvement to come. We need to be in that pack as we go into January as, if we are, we will affect it so positively that we’ll be in the pack at the end of it.
“But we are in a run of really tough games right now. We have to keep in contention.
“Credit to our supporters today. They’ve come along way and they knew conditions were going to be awful. I was so proud to see them applaud the players at the end as they knew they’d put in the effort.”