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Mansfield boss Nigel Clough bemoans ‘schoolboy’ errors in defeat to Salford

Mansfield manager Nigel Clough saw his side beaten at Salford (Mike Egerton/PA)
Mansfield manager Nigel Clough saw his side beaten at Salford (Mike Egerton/PA)

Mansfield manager Nigel Clough was frustrated by the way his side performed in their 2-0 loss at Salford on the opening day of the new League Two season.

Two first-half strikes put the game firmly in Salford’s favour against last season’s beaten play-off finalists, but Clough believes that both were ‘schoolboy’ goals to concede.

“The result was extremely poor; our performance wasn’t much better,” Clough said.

“The two goals we conceded were schoolboy goals, as I would call them. We had opportunities to get back into the game and we didn’t manage to take at least one of them.

“We didn’t do very much of what we’ve been doing for the last three or four weeks in pre-season. We played more long balls in the first 20 minutes than we have done in the last three weeks.”

Stags keeper Christy Pym was making his debut after joining on loan from Peterborough and his performance helped prevent Salford scoring more.

However, Clough was not pleased with the rest of his team.

“Apart from Christy Pym, I wouldn’t say there was anybody who covered themselves in glory today,” he said.

“I think our top goalscorer from last season Rhys Oates didn’t play very well, certainly, but he’s not alone in that.”

In Neil Wood’s first competitive game in charge of Salford, the Ammies took a fifth-minute lead when debutant Callum Hendry latched on to a Brandon Thomas-Asante’s ball to slot home.

Thomas-Asante then turned goalscorer in the 27th minute when he fired past Pym after being put through by Conor McAleny, and there was no way back for Mansfield after that.

“I think Brandon’s got a lot of energy and both him and Callum did a lot of good work,” Woods said of his forwards’ performances. “They were very good out of possession. I’m very pleased, they were very good goals.

“Callum took his goal very well and then Brandon’s was an excellent finish. Very pleasing to see those two get off the mark.”

Woods was also pleased by the way in which his side stayed resilient to hold on to their lead throughout the second half against a side who were among the best in League Two last season.

He added: “We’ve looked strong all pre-season defensively, we’ve looked really solid. We knew what we needed to do to stop them playing. We knew we were going to have to defend crosses which we did very well.

“I’m not sure if it’s a statement win but when you look at Mansfield last season, they had a really good season last year, if you look at that then it’s a good win.

“It’s one win at the moment so we won’t get carried away.”