MANSFIELD manager Paul Cox delivered his first verbal volley of the new season at his under-performing team as they slumped 4-3 at home to Newport County in today’s opener.
“You can’t concede four goals at home and expect to win a football match,” he said.
“If we can’t defend set pieces it’s going to be a long, long season. But the buck stops with me and I am going to do something about it.
“We have not been pulled apart or opened up. They were just balls into our box. A few home truths have been said.
“We have performed over pre-season and our fitness levels are good. That just wasn’t us today. It wasn’t what we are about and there were no positives.
“If you score three goals at home, you don’t expect to lose the game. Goalscoring is not going to be a problem for us. It’s just keeping them out at the other end. The standards were not there.”
Two-goal Stag Jake Speight added: “It was a good start for me personally but it’s more about the team and today we were disappointed with the result.
“We must defend better from set pieces. We need to get things nailed down and everyone knowing what job they are doing.
“I thought the referee and officials were poor today but I don’t blame them for the result.
“They missed a lot of decisions. I was booked for diving but I got my touch and his leg was out so I don’t think that was a dive.
“I was disappointed with my first half finish but scored two after that. I scored 21 last season so I am looking to better that this season if I can.”
Exiles boss Justin Edinburgh said: “We had fantastic support today. They lifted the boys in our time of need and got us over the finishing line.
“We will enjoy this as we didn’t win many away games last season. We are excited as this is a new era at the club and we need to keep this momentum going.
“From being in control at half-time, at 2-2, to be rocked as quickly as we were, you do wonder if you will fold.
“But as manager I am learning about this group of players and today I learned we can show a bit of character and togetherness.
“I though Ismail Yakubu and Tony James held us together at the back.
“I did think Mansfield’s first goal was well offside and that gave them a real lift. But what pleased me most was some of the football we played and how we stuck to our task.”