Boss Cox happy with derby night draw

Happy Stags manager Paul Cox
Happy Stags manager Paul Cox

STAGS boss Paul Cox was delighted with his side’s reply to the criticism fired at them in the wake of Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Southport as a late Matt Green equaliser earned them a deserved draw at Lincoln City last night.

Cox was also full of praise for an army of almost 1,000 Mansfield fans who travelled to Sincil Bank.

“I asked for a response after Saturday and I thought I got one,” said Cox.

“I heard at the end their keeper got man of the match, one of he pulled off was Gordon Banks-esque out of the bottom corner.

“But we gave away a sloppy goal away – they’ve not had to work for that. We had quite a few arguments about that afterwards which I like as they were honest arguments and show the players are passionate.

“The ball travelled 70 yards from their keeper and yet you could have driven bus between our two centre halves – the defending was atrocious.

“It was a mistake by Martin Riley. I know there was a strong wind in that direction, but we have two boys back there who have played in the Football League and if ‘Riles’ doesn’t head it properly then ‘Soots’ (Ritchie Sutton) should have been in the right place at the right time to cover him.

“I expected a lot more from those two for the goal. But this isn’t a witch hunt. We just need to tidy up on things like that if we are going to be successful.”W

He added: “We will take a point as it’s something we can build on.

“It was one of those nights at the office and the ball didn’t drop for us.

“I thought the lads worked extremely hard. They took some stick on Saturday and rightly so. I told them to go out there and put it right with a better performance. It has been a bit quiet in training since the weekend.

“The fans were absolutely magnificent. They came out in force and I wish we could have got them three points to go home with tonight.

“We could easily have been in front with the chances we had. I thought it was going to be one of those nights when Lincoln scored. It would have been very easy for the players or me then to have sit back and feel sorry for ourselves. But we are made of sterner stuff and got the equaliser.

“Our appetite looked back tonight. I thought Paul Bolland was excellent in midfield and Paul Connor deserved a goal. He got into great positions and worked hard.”

Stags now face another local derby with struggling Alfreton on Saturday, looking to end a poor run of form at Field Mill.

“Now we need to start performing at home – that’s the big one,” said Cox.

“I can’t put my finger on why we haven’t been. We are like a Jeckyl and Hyde side. Tonight we passed the ball really well and created some good chances.

“We need a ‘Newport performance’ on Saturday to get rid of a few demons and the crowd can help us do that.”

Anthony Howell will return from a three-game ban on Saturday and Ben Futcher may also be fit again.

Stags will have to see how Lindon Meikle is after he limped off at Lincoln. It seemed like cramp, but the club are concerned there may be a tweaked muscle too.