Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox last week called out for an ugly 1-0 win – and he got just that with today’s narrow victory over fellow draw specialists Forest Green Rovers.
After a run of just one win in 12 games and some decent recent showings not producing wins, Lindon Meikle’s 64th minute strike did the trick against a side who have drawn 11 games this season – Stags drawing 12 - and only conceded 10 goals in 13 away trips.
A relieved Cox said: “It was an ugly game and an ugly win which is not great for supporters to watch – but I’d take another 19 of them now this season.
“So I was pleased the supporters came down to clap the lads at the end. It was testament to the lads that they had ground out a result.
“All credit to Forest Green – even with 10 men they threw everything at us near the end.
“Conditions were awful with the wind and the heavy pitch. I had to change to a 4-4-2 early in the second half as we couldn’t get out of our own half.
“I sent Anthony Howell on and his physical presence helped the other lads out.
“In the back of my mind I thought we had lost the chance to score at half-time with the wind against us in the second half.
“It wasn’t our best performance but recently we’ve played some great football and not won.”
He also paid tribute to a superb home debut in midfield by new signing Gary Roberts, who was again shown the door by a manager for disciplinary reasons at Port Vale and has a history of drink and gambling issues.
“Gary makes passes that few players see at this level and he is a significant part of the jigsaw,” he said.
“He does need managing and he knows I will come down hard on him if I need to but will also put an arm around his shoulder when he needs it.
“Sometimes you have to meet these players halfway. As long as he comes in here and does the business, I will support him all the way. He is still only getting back to full fitness.”
“It was close today but I don’t think there are too many teams in this league better than us,” said Roberts.
“I felt this was the right club for me and the right manager for me to play for.
“This is a club that doesn’t want to be in this league for long and I hope I can help get us out of it.
“I had a falling-out at Port Vale which was partly down to me. But the manager there (Mickey Adams) helped me through some hard times there and I can’t knock him.
“I am just going to keep my mouth shut now and let my football do the talking.”
Rovers boss Dave Hockaday said: “I am stunned we haven’t come away with a victory. Out keeper has been virtually unemployed and he is cold and blue! We have dominated vast portions of the game without scoring a goal.
“It was frustrating as, apart from putting the ball in the net, we’ve done everything we could do, especially away from home. We have dominated chances and territory, even when down to 10 men.
“I have got to be happy with the effort and quality of the players today, especially first half against the wind.
“We had some unbelievable chances inside 12 yards but either didn’t hit the target or didn’t get enough on it.
“We seemed better, in my humble opinion, in every department except putting the ball in the net, which we need to sort if we are going to make the play-offs.”