Nigel Clough delighted with Mansfield’s display despite late Colchester leveller21 November 2020
Mansfield boss Nigel Clough was delighted with his new charges in his first home game despite a late Luke Norris equaliser stealing a 1-1 draw for Colchester. Revitalised Stags looked set for a fourth win in a row through Nick Maynard's sensational 67th-minute strike until a late error by goalkeeper Marek Stech saw him lobbed by substitute Norris in the 85th minute. "I thought we looked comfortable and restricted them to few opportunities throughout the evening," said Clough. "But one misjudgement from Marek near the end and they've got a lifeline they didn't look like getting. "If Marek had stayed he would have made it very difficult for the striker to score. He knows he made a slight misjudgement and the lad put a good finish in. "But it was another good performance. We have just played two top-six sides and we've got four points which should have been six. So I thought there were a lot of good things out there again tonight. "It's now a six-game unbeaten run and when a team had hardly won a game I think that is extremely encouraging. "Nicky's was a brilliant strike. He just turned and hit it instinctively. "I thought we responded well after they scored. I've seen teams crumble in those situations and then lose the game 2-1 at home. "We didn't do that and we went pressing to see if we could get the winner."
An unmarked Noah Chilvers headed the best chance of the first half at Stech from six yards, though Dean Gerken did well to parry a firm Ollie Clarke strike. Maynard finally broke the deadlock of a tight game in the 67th minute when he smashed Harry Charsley's square pass over Gerken and in off the crossbar from 20 yards. But when Norris won the race for a loose ball with Stech near the end, his lobbed finish was accurate. Colchester boss Steve Ball said: "I thought we dominated the first half but didn't show conviction in the final third, though we looked good on the ball and had lots of possession. "It was a bit of a freak goal to concede but I thought we really got to grips with it in the last 20 minutes and thoroughly deserved a point in the end. I thought there was only one team likely to win it. "Nigel Clough has really got Mansfield going and they have been picking up results which gives confidence. "But I believe we were the better side over 90 minutes and should have won. "I think the new subs rule really helped tonight. The four I brought on all made a positive contribution and Luke Norris showed composure to lift it over the keeper for the equaliser."