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Nigel Clough bemoans Mansfield errors in draw with struggling Sutton

Nigel Clough pulled no punches after Mansfield’s disappointing draw (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Nigel Clough pulled no punches after Mansfield’s disappointing draw (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Mansfield boss Nigel Clough was frustrated to see his side gift struggling Sutton an early goal in a 1-1 draw that cost them the chance to go second.

Lewis Brunt’s loose pass in the box allowed Lee Angol to smash Sutton ahead in the eighth minute, the Stags needing a 35th-minute equaliser from George Maris to take a share of the spoils in a game largely ruined by the winds of Storm Jocelyn.

“It was perfect conditions for an away side like Sutton,” said Clough.

“So what you don’t do in those circumstances is give a goal away, which we did after a few minutes.

“It was a pass that never should have been made in those circumstances by an inexperienced player.

“All you can do is keep going on about it and some people will take it on board and some won’t. But the team will be picked accordingly.”

Will Swan missed a great late chance to win it for Mansfield as he headed wide from close range.

“We pressed for a winner and the great chance fell to Will Swan with 10 minutes left – that was the game right there,” said Clough.

“Sutton defended very well, credit to them. They were very spirited and a very different proposition to the side we faced before Christmas under their new manager.

“We have to get back to how we were a month or two ago when we were keeping clean sheets – that is the foundation. We can’t stress it enough.

“We can’t keep giving these goals away. Teams who are trying to get promoted in the top three don’t give those goals away.”

After Oliver Sanderson missed an early chance for Sutton, Angol’s early blow against his former team was wiped out by Maris as he got on the end of a superb low Stephen McLaughlin cross from five yards at the near post.

But Lucas Akins headed over from close range after the break and Swan’s late miss meant the points were shared.

New Sutton boss Steve Morison said: “That was an excellent point. We scored a good goal and were in the game all the way.

“I am frustrated with Mansfield’s goal, but they are a good team and we have gone toe to toe with them and it’s another point in the right direction.

“We are a really good team with good players. They just need to believe they are good players. We are working extremely hard to give them that confidence and belief.

“They are working on things and taking the information on board which I think you could see tonight.

“We can go toe to toe with anyone and we are going to be a proposition for anyone in this league for the rest of the season, and hopefully start turning these points into wins and closing the gap.”