Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray was happy to see his side play at ‘70 per cent’ and still come out of today’s tough home clash with Oxford United with a 1-1 draw.
The Stags could have been out of sight as they scored after just three minutes and were then awarded a penalty kick after eight minutes.
However, Matt Green, back from injury, sent his kick against the bar and United slowly but surely turned the tide, levelled with their own spot kick on 59 minutes, and looked the more likely winners in an entertaining match.
Ironically it was Mansfield’s first penalty in 86 games.
To read a match report click HERE
“I thought they were both penalties,” said Murray.
“Matt Green has just apologised to me and said he’d let me down today which shows how honest he is. He is someone who needs to be training and he can’t afford a week off.
“But he is a big player for us so we had to play him and the 90 minutes will have done him the world of good.
“It looked like the last month had caught up with us at times and we were a bit leggy. Before the game Nicky Hunt was struggling and Matt Green hasn’t trained all week and I think that showed.
“So to go toe to toe with one of the favourites for this league and come out of it with a point has to be pleasing.
“We wanted to win it of course and it should all have been over in the first 20 minutes when we might have been three up. But, sometimes that’s the way these things go and you end up grinding out a point.”
Brian Jensen made two important saves, one in each half, and Murray continued: “We limited them to playing in front of us and when they did get chances, you rely on your shotstopper. That’s what he gets paid for and he pulled off a couple of ‘worldies’ today.
“Oxford are one of the big hitters to get promotion this season and we should have put it to bed early.
“I wasn’t happy at half-time, even though we were leading and had the better of the chances as I thought we showed them too much respect and sat off them too much, allowing them to play in areas we don’t usually allow teams to play.
“In the end we had to be resilient against a very good side.
“We are a fit bunch, but we didn’t have that zip or energy today. “Fortunately we have no midweek game which will give us a bit of a breather that will help the boys regenerate.
“We are trying to make sure this season that we don’t lose games back to back as you can get in a rut.”
Worrying for Murray is the fact that six of his players were booked after the seven midweek yellow cards at Accrington Stanley, which will have earned the Stags a fine.
Murray said: “I want them to show fire and commitment and that desire to work hard. But we are getting into scuffles out of nothing and it is something I will be speaking to them about this week.
“I want fire but I also want some ice – if we don’t get that balance right there will be problems.”
He added: “We have got to be realistic and get the balance of the situation right. We are a new group and this is a building process.
“To be at 70 per cent and not get beaten is good and when we get to 100 per cent, and we will do, we will be a very good side.”
On Monday Murray is expecting winger Matty Blair to sign a new deal after recovering from a serious long term knee injury.