Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox called on his players to steel themselves for 15 cup finals that could decide their promotion fate after last night’s 1-0 derby win at Lincoln City took them up into fourth place.
That was Stags’ eighth win in nine games, their seventh win in eight away games too and they are now five points adrift of leaders Wrexham with a gamne in hand and two games to play against the Welshmen too.
Said Cox: “We want to be top so we are still chasing. We are still within a decent points margin of the teams at the top and we need to keep winning.
“We have got 15 games to go which will be 15 cup finals.”
Stags fans made up 1,107 of the 2,734 crowd at Sincil Bank where Matt Green’s stoppage time winner earned a third away win in eight gruelling days, despite a tired display at times.
Cox said: “I must mention our supporters, who were magnificent again. When there was a lull in the game they really got behind us and helped us force the issue.
“It was a bit humbling to take that many away on a freezing cold night to support the lads. It was a bit special to see that and it really drives us on.
“It is better when you play well and win. But credit to Lincoln. They battled throughout the 90 minutes and I thought the game had 0-0 written all over it, even though we tried to force the issue.
“I thought Lincoln were the better side in the first half. We were a million miles from the standards we have set of late.
“We didn’t really start and they put us on the back foot in the first half.
“There were a few rows at half-time between players in the dressing room and some harsh words. They didn’t need me to tell them. But the second half was a lot better. It was one-way traffic and we missed one or two chances.
“Then we went and scored probably the hardest chance. Never write off Matt Green. He taps one in at the end and we win the game.
“When you win a game in injury time there is always that adrenalin rush. But it was too close for comfort.. You can’t afford to turn up for 45 minutes and expect to win a lot of football matches.”
He added: “But we have had three tough away games and come back with nine points. So, overall, I am over the moon with them. I keep raising the bar. But its players who win football matches, not managers. Football managers only lose games.
“There were a few tired legs out there tonight which I am going to have to have a look at for Saturday.
“It’s been a tough three games for us and I must now make sure we are fresh and mentally prepared for Saturday.”
Bottom club Telford United provide the potential banana skin at the One Call Stadium on Saturday.