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Nigel Clough happy to see Mansfield break season duck

15 November 2020

New Mansfield boss Nigel Clough toasted his first league game in charge as the Stags bagged their opening win of the season. Town rocked Mark Cooper's promotion-chasing side as strikes from George Lapslie and Harry Charsley put Clough's side in the driving seat before Odin Bailey's late finish set up a nervy ending. An ecstatic Clough said: "It feels wonderful. It feels wonderful for the players to be 12 games in and get their first league win now. "I think it's a brilliant achievement for them. It's been coming over the last few weeks – could have won against Walsall, could have won against Bolton. "But to get it here at such a good team, I hope that will do wonders for our confidence." Clough lauded his team who had to show resilience to contain a second-half onslaught from Rovers despite having a Nicky Maynard goal chalked off for offside. "Forest Green at 2-0 down are always going to come out and have a go at you, that's why they're such a good team," the manager added. "I thought we were going to see it through with a clean sheet – bit unlucky with the corner and goal we conceded, but I thought from that point on we dug in and made sure we didn't concede. "Jordan Bowery is absolutely shattered with all the running he's done. but you have to get used to that. "Corey O'Keeffe makes a crucial tackle at the end. They're the sort of things you need to get results at the moment. "Winning's a good habit and it's good for the dressing room."

Cooper's side were caught cold on five minutes. Stephen McLaughlin skipped beyond Udoka Godwin-Malife and his ball across the box saw Lapsley's strike parried by Luke McGhee, but the Mansfield midfielder reacted quickest to rifle the free ball home. Charsley made it two to the Stags on 34 minutes. Rovers' Ebou Adams made a hash of his free-kick for Jordan Bowery to pick his pocket and find Charsley to plant a sweet finish beyond McGhee. Only a stunning Marek Stech reflex parry on 44 minutes denied Rovers' Jamille Matt after neat footwork from Jake Young presented the opportunity. Seconds later Stech was at it again – beating down a Kane Wilson shot. Rovers were quickly out of the blocks in the second-half – Young inducing two blocks from Stech and Farren Rawson headed against his own bar. Rovers were given a lifeline when Bailey stabbed home for Rovers with six minutes to go from a Cadden corner, but Clough's side held out. Frustrated Forest Green boss Cooper hauled his side in for Sunday training, but insisted it was not a punishment. "The players are in on Sunday, we have to do our work and stop conceding goals inside the first five minutes of the game. " I thought we were outstanding in the second half, but if you give two goals away from horrendous mistakes without them even trying to score, you give yourself a lot of work to do, but in the second half we had three open goals on the six-yard box and our centre forward should score. "We've conceded the most goals in the Football League in the opening 20 minutes and we need to address that. When we have scored first we've gone on to win."

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