We ran out of steam today admits Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan after home defeat by 10-men Grimsby Town

Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan said the busy Festive period had caught up with his new charges today as they slipped to a 1-0 home defeat by 10-men Grimsby.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 9:53 am

Mal Benning's own goal gave all three points to a Mariners side that had defended superbly since the 10th minute dismissal of Luke Waterfall.

“It didn't come as a shock as I knew the players were going to empty at some stage,” he said.

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Mansfield's CJ Hamilton battles with Grimsby's Moses Ogbu

“I knew they were going to hit a brick wall. It was maybe a bridge too far to ask them to keep going today.

“We have hit them hard since we came in and today they looked as if they had run out of steam.

“They didn't look sharp or fit and as if it was a real toil and a real slog for them. They looked like they were running in treacle, probably to be expected after five games in such close proximity.

“Their tanks were empty. We knew it was going to come and it's a shame it had to be here after a couple of decent home performances.

“I was bitterly disappointed. We looked flat from the off and the sending-off didn't help either team to be honest. But they are circumstances and obstacles we should be overcoming.

“No excuses, overall, the display was not good enough – it lacked a bit of quality.

“I wanted to see a bit more bravery. We needed a bit more guile and experience.”

Waterfall was dismissed for his late lunge on Jacob Mellis, but former tough-tackling defender Coughlan had sympathy for Grimsby.

“I was a centre half so I don't mind putting challenges in,” he said.

“Not every challenge is a red card. But we are where we are in the modern day game. It was a strong aggressive challenge and they get punished these days.

“If I was a referee I would not punish strong, aggressive challenges. I'd understand the game and that tackles can be made and mistimed. I would feel aggrieved if one of my players was sent off for a slightly mistimed tackle.”

Coughlan now can't wait to up side's fitness levels in his first full clear week in charge without a midweek game.

“I am looking forward to it but I don't think the players will be looking forward to it to be honest,” he said.

“But it will benefit them going forward so they have to trust in that and buy into that.

“It will be tough. But I have to be careful as I have to leave something in the tank for next Saturday when we go again.”

He also hinted he may bring in new faces sooner than later in the current transfer window.

“At the end of the day I have inherited a squad of players that needs help and maybe needs shaking up,” he said.

“I just want people on board who can handle this arena and I want people to do a little bit more than they're actually doing – and that's not a big ask.

“I can't hang around. One manager has lost his job with this group of players already and I don't want to be the second one.”