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Manager hails youth star

Posted onPosted on 26th Apr
Manager hails youth star

NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD debutant Liam Marsden earned the man of the match award and his manager’s praise in Mansfield Town’s 3-1 defeat to Torquay United in their final home match of the season.

The Drezden Colts product, who has starred for the Stags’ youth team this season, grew in confidence during the defeat as the Stags trailed 2-0 at half-time and then failed to build on scoring within 36 seconds of the re-start.

Boss Paul Cox, who saw his side struggle after Matt Rhead was dismissed in the first half, said: “The one bright spot was the debut of Liam Marsden, who was excellent.

“I thought he was hung out to dry out there as he needed a bit of mindset around him on his debut and I feel for the kid.

“He deserved man of the match as he was outstanding to say how the game panned out.

“He gave a lot of heart which was something we were lacking today.”

Marsden said: “It was a big thing to make my debut having come up through the youth ranks. Hopefully this is just the start.

“I found the tempo was quicker. Hopefully I can get used to it and kick-on. I was a little nervous in the first half but kicked on from there.”

Cox also warned some of his players that he would be making “big decisions, some of which will hurt me, ” over the next few weeks.

He said: “With where we have come from since Christmas time, the last two performances are unacceptable and I was very disappointed with our attitude today to say the least.

“But everything happens for a reason and I am a bit philosophical about the last two games.

“To think we were closing in on the play-offs two games back seems laughable now.

“Part of me is glad the last two games have materialised how they have as it is as plain as the nose on your face what needs doing here.

“These two results were all about mindset and attitude and now how good they are as players.

“I get the feeling some of them are ready for the beach and holidays. Well they might be staying there for a while. I don’t want to stand still.”

“But, despite the two defeats, thinking with my head, I have to say we have had a very good season. If anyone had said we’d finish mid-table in our first season back in the league we’d have bitten their hand off.

Torquay, applauded off the pitch by Stags fans, were relegated because of wins by Northampton and Bristol Rovers, but Cox said: “It is heartbreaking for Torquay to go down as I thought they were excellent today.

“My heart goes out to them. They fully deserved their applause from our fans at the end and I am glad our supporters clapped them. Torquay showed desire and hunger.

“Our fans were brilliant again. They were different gravy after Monday’s game and then today when they had every reason to be disappointed with us.”