Paul Cox refused to panic as the Stags missed out on a possible chance to take the BSBP title with a shock 2-1 defeat at Braintree Town which let Kidderminster Harriers leapfrog them into top spot today.
The Mansfield Town boss had been saying the title race will go the wire for the last few weeks, so he was not in any way shocked by the way his side suffered nerves in the second half today as they allowed the Essex club to fight back from behind to win.
In the end, it wouldn’t have been enough as Kidderminster pulled off a superb 2-1 win in Wrexham to reclaim top spot by a single point,
Stags now head for Hereford on Tuesday before ending the regular season with a home clash with Wrexham next Saturday when Kidderminster complete their programme with a home game against Stockport.
It means Stags now have to win their game in hand in Hereford on Tuesday night or risk going into to last day of the season with their fate not in their own hands anymore.
With Stags and Kidderminster level on goal difference, Stags are well ahead on goal scored, so a draw wouldn’t be the end of the world at Edgar Street. But a win would be the only way they would know that a home win over Wrexham on the last day would definitely secure the title.
Kidderminster are likely to beat Stockport and we could end up with a goals race on the last day of the season, the title decided by who wins by a greater margin.
“I personally think we became a bit anxious and tentative in how we played in the second half,” said Cox.
“In the first half we were on the front foot and we had one or two chances. We probably should have gone in more than one goal up.
“We looked very nervous and we probably gave Braintree a bit of impetus. Both goals were poor on our part and we never really got going.
“I said a few weeks back it was going to go to the wire and I have been prepared for it in my head.
“The players are only human and everyone gets nervous. Sometimes you have to play more with your head, it’s not just about working hard. Now we will see what we are made of.”
Cox added: “No one has ever given me anything in my life and I didn’t expect anyone to roll over and hand the championship to me. We have to go and earn it.
“Braintree looked much more relaxed in the second half and more free flowing so credit to them. Maybe a few of our players subconsciously took their foot off the pedal and thought we had won the game.
“We have just got to accept it now and move on. Now it’s all about characters. We are playing for a championship and I want everyone to relax and enjoy it.”