We spent the game chasing shadows, admits beaten Stags boss

Mansfield Town V Bath '1st game of season
Mansfield Town V Bath '1st game of season

MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox may bring in new faces in time to face Lincoln City on Tuesday after today’s latest home flop, a 3-1 defeat by in-form Southport.

“From start to finish we were not good enough today. We didn’t do the basics, we didn’t win battles and didn’t play any football,” said Cox.

“We spent the game chasing shadows and kicking the ball up into the air and that is not going to win football matches.

“I haven’t shouted at them this time as I know one or two things need to be done.

“I think this has been coming. Last week’s win over Grimsby just papered over the cracks and I think we need to freshen things up. We are missing some ingredients and that could mean new faces.

“I am speaking from the heart now but will go home and have a think over the weekend.

“I have irons in the fire and if I want to bring certain individuals in I know they are going to be there. We could even have some in by Tuesday. But I won’t make rash judgements.

“The nitty gritty of the season is coming now, pitches will start to deteriorate and teams will come here and make it uncomfortable for us. If we can’t do the basics and deal with it, then it’s going to be a long season. We never turned up today.”

Stags suffered an additional headache in that defender Tom Naylor, unluckily sent-off twice this season, limped off with a hamstring strain.

“We might have caught it in time but you can’t play on with a hamstring pull,” said Cox.

“I don’t know what Tom has done this season, I think he might have killed a few black cats with his bad luck so far.

“Tom has had a stop-start season but it opens up a chance for someone else.”

“I thought we deserved to be in front at half-time and the third goal killed it off,” said Southport manager Liam Watson.

“But it also killed us off a bit as I think we took our foot off the pedal a bit, gave Mansfield a lot more of the ball and, to be honest, we have got to learn to shut the game off a lot better.

“Maybe I am being too harsh, though, as we had a very tough game with York in midweek when we played with 10 men for an hour so they had every right to feel tired in the last 20 minutes.

“The first was an own goal but the second was Shaun Whalley’s all day. It was a great team goal.

“We haven’t mentioned Mansfield all week. We have just spoken about the confidence we have been showing. We are scoring goals freely way from home.

“After 16 games the table starts to take shape, but we are not getting carried away. We have made a lot of changes but the lads have bought into what we are trying to do and are reaping the rewards.”