‘KLOPP A LOAD OF THAT!’ SAYS VICTORIOUS STAGS CHIEF
Mansfield boss aims a swipe at Jurgen
STEVE Evans aimed a barb in the direction of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, claiming that he was a practitioner of ‘heavy metal football’ long before Liverpool’s German manager arrived in English football.
Evans’ League Two promotion-favourites raised the tempo after a low-key first 45 minutes as quickfire strikes from Danny Rose and Paul Anderson steered them to a comfortable victory over Forest Green Rovers.
Admitting he told his side to work harder after the break, Evans said: “Klopp thinks he brought the high-pressing game to Britain – I’ve been here for ten years.
“My teams have always played that way and we worked so hard after the break that Lee Angol and Danny Rose were always going to run out of legs.
“We needed to win the first balls, let alone the second, but when we have the ball, we have got people who can really play.
“There was a virus going through the club during the week, which I didn’t talk about. But we’re off and running now with three points and a clean sheet.”
The Stags had it all-too-easy against a side who began by knocking the ball around confi-
dently but didn’t have a real shot in anger until the 94th minute.
The explosive nature of Mansfield’s start to the second half suggests the pre-season hype may have substance to it – although they won’t often face such tepid opposition.
Mark Cooper’s men made life even harder for themselves by running up six yellow cards for a combination of niggly tackles, time wasting and retaliation.
But it was their lack of penetration in possession that should worry their manager most.
The visitors opened brightly with, right wing-back Dale Bennett finding space to drill over a dangerous early cross that was smuggled to safety at the near post. But they survived a real scare in the fifth minute when a slip by Lee Collins let in Lee Angol, who was denied as goalkeeper Bradley Collins raced to the edge of his box to smother his final shot. Collins partly made up for his error after 20 minutes when his excellent last-ditch tackle stopped Rose charging into the area Rovers were again indebted to their custodian on the half-hour when he got a good hand to push away a downward header by Zander Diamond from Joel Byron’s corner. Mansfield came out of the traps with a much higher tempo after the break and took command with two quickfire goals.
The lively Rose had already gone close as he stabbed Paul Digby’s cross just wide before he opened the scoring after 51 minutes.
Will Atkinson clipped a neat cross to the far post, where Rose timed his jump well to steer his header firmly beyond Collins.
Rose could easily have doubled his money within a couple of minutes, only for Collins to make another defiant save.
But more good play by Rose soon released Anderson, who rolled his shot into an empty net after Collins saved his initial effort.
More eye-catching work by Rose all but presented Anderson with a third as Mansfield threatened to run riot.
At least Rovers refused to crumble and they forced a couple of late moments of penalty area panic before Liam Noble belated- ly brought a save from Conrad Logan.
Rovers boss Cooper said: “The lesson we have to learn is not to concede soft goals.
“We made a mistake for the first one by allowing a free header and goals change everything.
“That gave them a lift after they didn’t have the same tempo in the first half.
“Then we lost possession for the second. Mansfield hugged and puffed but, apart from the goals, I didn’t think there was too much between the teams.”
MANSFIELD TOWN: (4-4-2): Logan 6, White 7, Pearce 6, Diamond 6, Benning 7, Atkinson 7 (Potter 89 N/A), Digby 7, Byrom 6, Anderson 7, Rose 8 (Spencer 71 5), Angol 7 (Sterling-James 60 6) Subs not used: Olejnik, Bennett, Mellis, Hamilton
FOREST GREEN ROVERS (3-5-1-1): Collins B 7, Fitzwater 6, Collins L, 6, Monthe 5, Bennett 5, Cooper 5, Noble 4, Traore 5 (James 65 ),Laird 4 (Wishart 81 5) Brown 5 (Mullings 55 5) Doidge 5
Subs not used: Russell, Marsh-Brown, Bugiel, Wishart, Evans
PARTY TIME: Paul Andersom (centre) celebrates scoring Mansfield Town’s second goal
PEPPERED: Mansfield Town’s Danny Rose heads home while, right, Forest Green keeper Bradley Collins makes a save STAR MAN DANNY ROSE Mansfield