Stags boss Cox defends three consecutive red cards

Happy Stags manager Paul Cox

Happy Stags manager Paul Cox

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ANTHONY Howell was shown Mansfield Town’s third red card in three games in the hard-earned 1-1 draw at Forest Green on Saturday – but he isn’t in hot water with manager Paul Cox.

Howell went just before the half-time whistle for showing studs in a tackle on Keiron Forbes.

But Cox said: “Stop Anthony tackling and you take away from him as a player.

“We have brought people in to make tackles and, while it probably was a sending-off, there was no intent to hurt the other lad.

“Louis Briscoe’s red card two games back was just clumsy and Tom Naylor’s was never a sending-off at Wrexham.

“So I don’t think we have a disciplinary problem. These boys are too honest for that.

“They are hungry players with fire in their bellies and the only way I will have a go at them for red cards is if they are for stupid elbows or moaning at officials.”

On the result, he added: “I would have definitely taken the point at half-time with 10 men in that heat.

“The lads really put in a shift in that second half and we even created one or two good chances and, on another day, might have nicked it.

“It is another sign that this side is evolving. The build-up to the goal was out of this world – one touch football. But credit to Forest Green for making a game of it after that.

“After half-time I decided that Matt Green was getting a bit too isolated so I pushed Ross Dyer up with him and we created some great chances. Both front men ran themselves into the ground.

“It could be a massive point at the end of the season. Not many will come here and get a point or three with 10 men.”