STAGS manager Paul Cox was delighted with his side’s display as a team in this afternoon’s 1-0 win at hotly-fancied Stockport County on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
Luke O’Neill provided the second half winner, but Cox was even more delighted to see another clean sheet - his team’s second in two wins in three days - and a side working hard for each other in exactly the way he has been demanding.
“I am over the moon with that,” he said. “This is a place that not many teams will come and get a draw this season, let alone a win.
“We are now becoming a stubborn side and that’s another clean sheet. I can’t really pick out an individual as I thought the team in general was excellent.
“That’s the kind of performance I have been looking for from the lads. It is a learning curve and today we laid a few foundations down. That performance is what this league is all about – it was a proper team performance.
“It is always the best teams that win things and a 1-0 away win with the goal scored by a defender is something I will take any day.”
He added: “I keep telling the lads to believe in themselves. Then I can see us scoring a few goals.
“I thought we were a little tentative in the first half in and around goal. The front lads were excellent in their work ethic and movement but were a bit tentative with their end product.
“Stockport started strongly and one of the most pleasing things was how we well got to grip with that.
“We then created some good chances and once we scored I never thought they were going to break us down and equalise. I can’t remember Alan Marriott having a real shot to save.
“Luke deserved his goal after the way he has played since coming into the side and I thought Lindon Meikle frightened them to death today. He was dead on his feet when he came off. There is a lot of pace on that front four when they come at you. Then the opposition have to deal with the full backs getting forward too.”
However, Cox feels fans have plenty more to look forward to from his developing charges and said: “I do believe we can get better.
“We are building at the right sort of pace but I think there is a lot more to come from this side when they get more confident in the last third.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day. But we have laid some foundations in the last three days and we have got to build on that. There is still a lot of football to be played.”
Cox also had praise for the 436 Stags fans who braved the Bank Holiday rain on the open away end at Edgeley Park, saying: “There is no roof on there and the sound can dissipate, but they were very vocal for us during the game and applauded the lads off.”
Goal hero Luke O’Neill added: “Stockport are a great team so we are delighted with that.
“I saw Greeny (Matt Green) pull out wide and he pulled it back to me. I saw the goal open up and just had a go”
Full debut-making Richie Sutton said: “Stockport are a good team, so to win and keep a clean sheet here was good for us. We just kept talking to each other and it ended up a great away win.
“We are coming together as a team now.”
Martin Riley missed the game with a foot injury. He got through the win over Kettering on Saturday after a pain-killing injection but it was decided to rest him and let the injury heal rather than inject him again and he could be fit for the weekend trip to Darlington.