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Luke Hannant reflects on Mansfield defeat

18 November 2018

Despite expecting a difficult test against Mansfield Town on Saturday, Luke Hannant insists that the performance had plenty of positive elements, but he knows that the attacking players have to create more chances.

Bobby Olejnik wasn't required to make too many saves in the Mansfield goal despite plenty of Vale possession in the final third, and CJ Hamilton's curled effort just before half-time was enough to end the Valiants' four-game unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two.

Vale could've been awarded a penalty inside the opening 15 minutes as Tom Pope went down inside the area, but despite feeling slightly hard done by, Hannant acknowledges that he and his teammates must do more to trouble the opposition goalkeeper.

He said: "We need to create more opportunities. We got into a few good positions today to maybe put the final ball in, but it just hasn't been there.

"We were a bit sloppy in the final third, but that's not just down to the strikers, it's the people around them too. Everyone has got to pull together to create the chances.

"We've been very good defensively recently, but it's got to work at both ends and that's something that we'll work on in training.

"There's a good group of lads here with some experienced heads in there too, so they will help get around the younger players and help get our heads back up. 

"We have a strong enough mentality and character within the team to put it right next weekend. I'm sure everyone will work hard in training this week and put this performance behind us."

Although the Valiants were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half when Manny Oyeleke received his second caution, Neil Aspin's side kept themselves in the game and they applied plenty of forward pressure during the latter stages

With the 459 travelling supporters offering encouragement behind the goal, Hannant and his teammates didn't give up searching for an equaliser and several long throws from Leon Legge caused real issues in the Mansfield area.

Despite the goal proving to be elusive, Hannant was quick to praise the fighting spirit of the Vale squad and he believes there were plenty of plus points to take away from the fixture.

He said: "In the first half we penned them in pretty well and we knew they would pose a threat with the quick lads down both sides. They play wing-backs as well and that allowed their midfielders to get on the ball, so we expected it to be a tough game.

"We did well enough to keep it at 0-0, but then a lack of concentration has allowed Hamilton to cut in onto his left foot and put one in the top corner.

"We came out fighting in the second half, but it was similar to the first half in the fact that we didn't create too many opportunities.

"The sending off was a bit unlucky and there were a few decisions that didn't go our way, but we kept working hard until the end and the boys showed great character.

"It's a frustrating result as we came here on an unbeaten run and we wanted to keep that going. Maybe Tom Pope's penalty should've been given, but it just wasn't meant to be."


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