PAUL Cox was happy and relieved to see his Mansfield Town side overcome a potential banana skin FA Cup tie at Workington 2-1 today to make the draw for the first round proper.
Jake Speight’s brace had Stags all but home and dry until keeper Shane Redmond conceded a needless late penalty to leave a nervy finish.
Cox said: “I thought the game as a spectacle was horrendous. But it was what we expected. It was billed as their biggest game in 30 years and they had a group of players running on adrenalin from the first minute to the last.
“It was an horrendous pitch and looked like it could be a cup upset from the first minute.
“The last thing I said to the lads before the game was just to make sure we were in the draw for the next round tomorrow.
“We came here and did a job in difficult circumstances. It is a hard place to come and play.
“Credit to Workington. They threw the kitchen sink at us for 90 minutes. I don’t know what their players had for pre-match but they were unbelievable.
“In the FA Cup you need things to bounce for you. We scored two goals and then it seemed we tried to commit suicide a bit and invited them onto us.”
Cox defended his goalkeeper, adding: “Shane is a bit down in there. But the penalty was just one of those things. It was a rush of blood and panic stations at the end. But I am not going to start picking holes when we have won a game. We should be celebrating and I think Shane has made one or two decent saves today and taken some good catches when they pumped the ball into our box.”
And on two-goal hero Speight, he said: “Jake’s goal ratio is very good and he deserves all the accolades coming his way today. His work ethic is immense. He absolutely worked his backside off for us today.”
Speight said: “Before the game the gaffer said it wouldn’t be a pretty game or a footballing game so being in the hat tomorrow was the most important thing.
“Workington had their chances and made it hard for us near the end. Take nothing away from them, they passed the ball well.
“They started on the front foot and it took us a while to settle down. I think my first goal settled us a bit
“I was pleased to get two. It’s been hard for me since the start of the season but in the last three or four games I have felt back to myself.
“I scored 10 before Christmas last year and anything more than that this year would be a bonus.”