STAGS boss Paul Cox was relieved to see his Mansfield side grind out a crucial late 1-0 home win over resilient Ebbsfleet at Field Mill today to open a seven-point gap from sixth-placed Luton Town.
Matt Green’s 82nd minute strike saw them end a busy March with six wins and a draw from eight games and place one foot firmly in the promotion play-offs.
“I was delighted with the result but not the performance as I thought we looked lethargic from the first minute to the last,” said Cox.
“It’s been a tough month and we only played at 70-75 per cent of what we are capable of, so hats off to the lads, they kept pushing and got the win.
“Credit to Ebbsfleet. They are an awkward side to play against – big, structured, well-organised and hard to break down. It was a real grueller.
“At one time I thought it had 0-0 written all over it. We had a lot of territorial advantage but didn’t have that spark in the last third where we looked fearful at times.
“I tried to change things round a bit and it came up trumps.
“The most pleasing thing was how we stayed patient and took our chance when it came.
“Matt Green got us a goal out of nothing again. He is a lovely lad to work with and is writing his own story and winning us games. He is getting better and better and I think there is more to come from him still.
“I thought Exodus (Geohaghon) and (Martin) Riley were rocks at the back for us today and defended well against an awkward side to play against.
“Results today have gone for us but I am still planning for this chance to go right to the last game of the season.”
He added: “Credit again to our supporters. When it 0-0 near the end they could have got anxious and turned which would have spilled onto the pitch and made the lads anxious. Instead they rallied when we needed them most again.
“It has been a tough month but a good one. Now we will give the lads a couple of days off and start preparing them for Kettering next Saturday which again is now our biggest game of the season.