MANSFIELD town manager Paul Cox’s half-time tongue-lashing of his players did the trick as they upped their game to smash home four second half goals and destroy Dartford 5-0 at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.
Stags had not played for two weeks and looked ring-rusty against an excellent Darts side until they kicked into life after the break and Cox said: “If I am honest we were lucky not to come off at half-time losing, let along winning it.
“We looked like we hadn’t played for a while and were a million miles off the pace all over the park. No one, apart from Adam Murray, could come off with any credit.
“Dartford were excellent and my players needed a kick up the backside.
“A few honest words were said at half-time, not just by me, and I told them to go back out and ram those words back down my throat which they did.
“I thought we were excellent in that second half and could have scored a few more.
“We kind of reinvented ourselves and played some good stuff. The lads got back to the standard they have set of late and we got three points and also improved our goal difference which might be important at the end of the season.”
Darts boss Tony Burman said: “I am shocked by the 5-0 scoreline but that’s what happens at this level. We have played well today, yet we’ve got beat 5-0.
“Our first half performance was outstanding, it was just a case of putting the ball in the net.
“That was the story of this game – in the two boxes. They were better in our box than we were in their box.
“We had chances at crucial times but didn’t score them. That’s the difference between part-time and full-time sides as, once we went two or three goals behind, heads started to drop a bit. It’s hard.
“We have been beaten a strong side today that did the basics well.
“Our supporters were absolutely fantastic again. They don’t mind getting beat as long as we’ve given our all. Today it was just about the two 18 yard boxes in the second half.”