Stags had never beaten Harrogate but were cruising 4-0 up with a host of other chances missed before the home side pulled one back 10 minutes from time.
“It's about time after seven games against them without a win and it was nice to do it in style,” he said.
“After 10 days without a game you're never quite sure what will happen. We told the players to go out and show they'd had a rest at the weekend and I thought they did that.
“A 4-1 victory away from home is a brilliant result, but there were a couple of things I was unhappy with as I don't think we started the second half well and I don't think we should be conceding.
“As a team we have to take more pride in keeping clean sheets. We have a brilliant defensive record so far this season and it should have been another clean sheet tonight.
“As a team collectively we have got to do more to earn that.
“As delighted as you are going in 3-0 up at half-time I thought it should have been more. You don't get the opportunity too many times away from home like tonight. There were too many over the bar tonight.
“We told the players Harrogate they would come out and have a go in the second half – they had to. You have to deal with that and I don't think we started anywhere as near as well as we did in the first half.
“But we kept Harrogate at arm's length tonight which we have not been able to do here in recent seasons. Christy Pym was largely a spectator.”
A brace for Lucas Akins took him to 100 league goals and Clough said: “To get to three figures with being such a team player, it is a wonderful achievement and they were two good finishes.”