Shellshocked Mansfield boss Paul Cox made no excuses for his side’s 3-0 home defeat by Kidderminster Harriers today, saying: “We never turned up – it’s as simple as that.
“I never saw that coming but there are no excuses. We have just got to take it on the chin and get back to basics. We need to remember who we are and what got us where we were with that good run.
“It’s easy to get carried away when everyone is praising you and patting you on the back. But I told everyone not to get carried away and today has proved that.
“We were awful today and I include myself in that as I picked the side. We were second best all game and every second ball that dropped there was a red shirt there and not a yellow one.
“It was a penalty and another example of while we were thinking about, Kidderminster were doing it. They passed the ball better than us too. We were beaten by the better side.
“But there’s no panic. Stronger sides than us have had worse scorelines. The mark of a good side is what you do in the next three or four games after that.
“It could be the best thing that’s happened to us. We will only know that in a few games time.”
On a red card for Louis Briscoe, he added: “It was right in front of me and I though both players went in over the ball with some malice and it was only that Vaughan stayed down that the referee thought it was only Louis who had gone in high. Both went in with intent.”
Defender Ben Futcher said: “Going 2-0 down so early, you give yourself no chance.
“We had been on a good run and enjoy playing at home. So I can’t put my finger on what went wrong today.
“We can only apologise to the fans who were brilliant again today and still clapped us off at the end.
“It was the end of a fantastic run and now we have to start another one.
“We started slowly and, if you don’t defend as a team, that’s what happens.
“But one defeat in nine isn’t the end of the world. We have taken the plaudits, now we have to take this on the chin and work hard in training. We will probably learn more in the next couple of weeks than we have in the last four or five.”
Midfielder Paul Bolland added: “The lads are down. We let ourselves down.
“It was a bad day in the office but we are not a bad side. It just didn’t happen today for us. We have to hold our hands up and say we were not good enough.”
Harriers’ boss Steve Burr said “You probably wouldn’t want to come to Mansfield on the back of losing at Fleetwood with the way Mansfield were going.
“But overall I thought we were excellent today. Sometimes you can score too early but we scored three in the first half and defended when we had to.
“I can remember coming here in my first year with Kidderminster and being 3-0 down and it ending in a draw, so I told my players at half-time, don’t think it’s won yet. It was important we carried on showing the same work rate and commitment in the second half, which we did.”