PAUL Cox paid tribute to his players tonight as Mansfield Town finally clinched a spot in the BSBP play-offs with a 3-1 win at struggling Hayes and Yeading.
“We were not at our best today by a country mile but I am chuffed for the players as they have worked hard all season,” he said.
“It was a strange game and a strange atmosphere and we have crept over the line today really.
“We were not at our best by any stretch of the imagination but they have done the job and that’s all I asked them to do. Credit to them they’ve been on a hell of a run.
“We knew Hayes would be dangerous and in the first half I was a bit disappointed with our finishing. The game could have been put to bed. Then we got done by a sucker punch.
“There wasn’t a lot in it in the second half, but we put our chances away. I am just happy to mathematically be in the play-offs.
“Now we can start the mental side for what is needed to be successful.
“Credit to Hayes, they threw everything at us and there was some hesitancy in the box at times which we need to eradicate.
“If I am going to be totally ruthless we need to improve our performances on today. We were very sloppy all over the pitch.”
Cox said he didn’t care who Stags faced in the semi-finals, saying: “The play-offs are a lottery. The scenario is we have to beat someone over two legs and then win a one-off game at Wembley.
“As long as we give a good account of ourselves and play to what we can play, we will give anyone a game. “Sometimes you also need Lady Luck over a 90 minute period.”
Ross Dyer grabbed a peach of a goal that put Stags 2-1 up and said: “It just came to me in the box, I swivelled and hit it on the half-volley with my left foot. It was a nice one to score to be honest.
“We have now confirmed our play-off place so it’s been a good day all round. It was bouncing in the dressing room afterwards.
“Now we don’t fear anyone, whoever we play we will take it by the scruff of its neck and do well.”