OPINION: Adam Murray will have been pleased with Mansfield Town response

Communication let Mansfield Town down a week ago, according to Stags boss Adam Murray, who was disappointed with a tepid first half performance in the 1-1 draw against Wycombe Wanderers.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 23rd October 2016, 9:46 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:03 pm
Mansfield Town's Kevan Hurst celebrates - Pic Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Kevan Hurst celebrates - Pic Chris Holloway

He said the players didn’t talk to each other enough on the pitch and promptly banned them from using mobile phones at the club.

So Murray must have been delighted with the response from his players, who did all their talking on the pitch in another 1-1 draw, this time against free-scoring Luton, on Saturday.

Their communication was put to the test as they defended well against the in-form home side, often restricting the Hatters to just long range efforts.

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In fact, you could argue the Stags were the better side in the first half, before coming under far more pressure after half-time.

As well as his decision to extend an already partial ban on the use of mobile phones, Murray also took the players away on a bonding outing in midweek.

Their trip to an escape rooms challenge was another effort to improve his side’s communication as the players plotted ways out of demanding situations.

And it seemed as though they would escape from Kenilworth Road with all three points after surviving a lot of second half pressure, before a late 25-yard strike forced yet another draw – their seventh in League Two this season.

However, once again Murray’s attention to detail – and determination to gain even the slightest advantage for the Stags from all situations – paid dividends.

His mobile phone ban and escape room experience clearly had a positive effect as the Stags defended extremely well under strong pressure in the later stages of the game – as they have for a lot of the season.

Mansfield’s terrific away form means they have lost just once on their travels, while their unbeaten run in all competitions was stretched to six matches.

Yes, the Stags will be disappointed to have conceded a late equaliser that denied them only a second win in 11 matches.

But it needed a fine goal to take away two of the three points they seemed set for.

And Luton, who are now unbeaten in seven matches, is always a tough place to go – so to get anything there this season is a notable achievement.

Who else but Matt Green scored at Luton. Restored to the starting line-up after astute man-management by Murray allowed the striker to rediscover his goalscoring form as a substitute in recent weeks , the striker poached his fifth goal in four games.

However, the lack of goals elsewhere in the side is becoming a bit of an issue and only three teams have scored fewer goals.

Yes, the Stags also have the second best defence in League Two, but that lack of goals is stopping their progress into the play-off positions.

It seems as though they have been just one point outside the top seven for many weeks, but they remain in a great position and the play-offs must still be a real achievable target.

Equally frustrating is the number of times that the Stags have taken the lead on their travels, only to be pegged back – the third time in successive away league matches.

As Murray admitted after the final whistle at Luton, it seems as though that little bit of quality going forward is missing for the Stags at the moment.

That means they are unable to find a matchwinning second goal on their travels or put together consistent results at the One Call Stadium.

Next Saturday Stevenage are the visitors and it will be interesting to see if Murray retains the Green and Pat Hoban combination up front.

There were a few signs at Luton that they were linking well and could be the way forward.