Nigel Clough hailed his matchwinner Stephen McLaughlin after his two goals helped Mansfield stroll to a 3-0 win at Port Vale.
The left-back scored two fine goals from distance – and came close to completing his hat-trick – either side of Stephen Quinn’s effort in a dominant performance by the visitors.
And it left Clough delighted by the Stags’ fourth win in five as they ended the season on a high note.
“We dominated for the vast majority of the game and, as has been a feature all season, we should have scored more goals,” said Clough. “They had a few chances, a few situations, but not many and we should have won the game more comfortably, but I can’t complain too much at a 3-0 win away from home.
“Stephen’s a brilliant ball striker. Goalkeepers hate those that come through bodies low and hard into the bottom corner like the first one. There’s very little the opposition can do about that.
“He’s very good on those free-kicks too. When you’ve got him and Tyrese Sinclair on them you’ve got a left and a right-footer and it puts doubts in the mind of the opposition goalkeeper and either one of them can take it.
“He’s a bit upset with Ty as well – he hit a screamer from about 25 yards late on and Ty got in the way of it. He thinks he should have left it because it had a chance of going in.
“But it sums up how we want to play, get forward and look to score goals, even if you’re a full-back.”
As for Port Vale, manager Darrell Clarke slammed his side’s dire showing as they closed the campaign with back-to-back defeats and no goals.
Clarke admitted he cannot wait to make changes and overhaul his squad, with a number of players to be shown the door this week.
“It’s always about the result but that was a shocking performance” he fumed. “It was a really bad one individually and collectively as a group, and it takes a bit of the gloss off the run of form we’ve had to end with a couple of defeats.
“As I’ve said to my players, ‘what have you done over the course of 46 games to think you warrant a place here next season?’ because I’m excited, I really am.
“There might be one or two tears shed by some genuine boys that might not make the cut on Monday.
“For me, being a professional footballer is about living your life right every single day, doing all the things right. And we’ve got a few in there, quite a few who have done quite well for me in the last 18 games.
“But there are a few for me who don’t do it justice. And I’m excited, I can’t wait to get rid of the dead wood and start building for the future.”