PAUL Cox was a happy man to see Stags’ end their three-month away league hoodoo with last night’s comprehensive 3-0 win at Macclesfield Town.
And was also delighted to see out-in-the-cold centre half Luke Jones come in and prove a point with a solid display and bonus goal to stake his claim for a shirt for Saturday’s FA Trophy clash with Matlock Town.
Mansfield boss Cox was running out of patience with his side’s displays away from the One Call Stadium, where they have the best home record in the league, and said: “Our away performances have been questioned – and rightly so.
“So this was a very good performance by the lads and a great result, especially in the second half when we were very patient and took our chances clinically when they came.
“Our away record has been absolutely abysmal and we have had some stick for it. Our home form is the best is the division, but the away form has been our Achilles heel due to a bit of anxiety and expectation.
“Tonight we looked more like we were last season. We soaked up pressure, kept our shape and broke quickly.
“The spirit is now getting strong in the dressing room and, with that, you can move mountains. We are not getting carried away as it is only one win and we have got to do it consistently.
“But I am just over the moon tonight with our performance and the desire we showed to try to win. Our desire to compete was immense.
“Some of them were treading water for the last 15 minutes as we’ve barely had 24 hours rest since we had to play Luton on Sunday, which I still think was a disgrace by the league. The lads showed true grit and desire tonight and played some great football.”
Matt Green bagged his second goal in as many games to put Stags on their way, then Stags’ goal of the season, a top class series of passing and moving topped off by Lindon Meikle’s finish, made it 2-0 before Jones headed the third near the end.
“Matt got his goal again and the second goal was just excellent,” said Cox. “Some of the football leading up to it was out of this world.
“And I was pleased for Jonah to get on the scoresheet. He has not been training with the main group of late but I thought his professionalism tonight was immense. He didn’t put a foot wrong.
“I have had to trim the squad down and work with a smaller group of players. But I have always said the door was not closed on anybody and tonight he was one hell of a man.
“He could have sulked and moped but he’s come in and done what I love players to do. He has now earned the right to keep his shirt.
“We had two or three missing tonight and the squad is coming into play. Now they have given me food for thought for Saturday.”