COX, O`NEILL, CONNOR, ROB SCOTT REACTION
post match interview with Paul Cox, Luke O'Neill, Paul Connor from Mansfield 103.2--->
Stags boss' home-truths half-time teamtalk proved decisive
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox's angry half-time team talk did the trick on Saturday as Stags came from behind to beat Grimsby 2-1 at Field Mill.
Luke O'Neill and Paul Connor netted inside six second half minutes to wipe out Michael Coulson's first half opener and Cox said: “I was delighted by that second half but absolutely disgusted with the first half.
“I had to tell them a few home truths for the first time in a long time at half-time. There were a few bruised egos in there.
“But, all credit to the lads, they rammed it back down my throat in the second half which I didn't mind as will do anything to get a reaction and a result.
“We have won. But it's frightening we didn't turn up for the first 45 minutes and expected to win as match at this level.
“With players returning to their old club, there was a bit of a derby atmosphere about the game and a lot of local pride. But we lacked urgency.”
The stop-start game was dominated by the whistle of referee Rob Merchant, who booked seven players and made many poor decisions.
“I don't want to be too hard on referees but I don't know what some of them see some of the time,” said Cox.
“We should have had a blatant penalty on Matt Green and he found five minutes from somewhere at the end. I tried to talk to him from the sideline but he wouldn't speak to me.
“But, if we'd lost today, I wouldn't have been blaming the referee, it would have been down to the players.”
Mariners' joint boss Rob Scott said: “It's the same old story, we win one, we lose one. We just can't seem to get on a run.
“Our second half performance fell well short of the first.
“All we had to do was up the tempo for the second half. But we had a few too many players letting things happen instead of making things happen which is not acceptable.
“We have players in there saying 'he did this and he did that' but they should be concentrating on their own jobs first and foremost.
“They need to take things on board and quickly or they will be out the door.
“Mansfield just raised the tempo and got the ball into good areas. We couldn't handle it. We gave away too many stupid free kicks and sloppy corners.”
Stags open negotiations to sign Green on permanent deal
MANSFIELD Town have opened negotiations to sign Matt Green permanently, boss Paul Cox revealed today.
The eight-goal striker has been a constant threat for the Stags since joining on loan from Oxford United in the summer.
But Green's deal only runs until January, leading to some fans to fear the former Torquay man may not be around for the second half of the season.
Cox is keen that does not happen and confirmed talks are already underway to make the 24-year-old a Mansfield player.
“Matt has been superb for us and won us a number of games with his goals,” said Cox.
“It was not the best of games for him on Saturday (a 2-1 win over Grimsby) and he missed a chance near the end that would have sealed the game and made it more comfortable for us.
“But he sticks most of his chances away and he never stops running – he has a terrific work ethic.
“Both chairmen at Mansfield and Oxford are talking to each other about making it permanent.
“That would be great news for us because we need players like Matt Green at this club if we are going to be successful.”
Cox was delighted with his team's second-half response in recording a first win in six games against the Mariners that took them up to sixth in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
The Stags trailed 1-0 at the break after Michael Coulson's strike but hit back through Luke O'Neill and Paul Connor.
He said: “I told people a few home truths at half-time but to be fair to them they rammed those words down my throat in the second half.
“We showed passion, commitment and endeavour – all the things that wins you matches – and I thought we deserved it in the end.”
Match-winner Connor delighted with Mansfield character
MATCH-winner Paul Connor was delighted to see Mansfield Town show they have the strength of character to bounce back from going a goal behind.
On the previous two occasions the Stags had gone a goal down before Saturday's clash with Grimsby they had gone on to lose 3-0 against Gateshead and Kidderminster.
But this time Mansfield battled hard and ran out 2-1 victors, with Connor coming off the bench to net a winner and keep his team in the pack with the Blue Square Bet Premier front runners.
"It was good to show that we have the resilience to get a positive result if the other team scores first," said Connor. "You are not always going to start well, as was the case with us in this match, but you have to pick yourselves up.
"It is what Crawley and Stevenage have done in winning this league in the last two years.
"When they have gone a goal behind they have come back and sometimes they have not played very well but nicked a 1-0 win."
Both Mansfield goals came from set pieces, which comes as no surprise to Connor, who believes he has seen a significant improvement in that area on last year – at both ends of the pitch.
He said: "Set pieces are always important in any league because so many goals are scored from them.
"If you can score a few from them it helps and it is something we work regularly on in our Friday training sessions.
"It is an area where you need to be organised and was something that let us down last year.
"But this year I think we have looked a lot better from them, both attacking and defending."
Connor was happy to make an impact with his second goal in three games as a substitute.
"All you can do is stay sharp so that you are ready when your chance does come," he said. "Sometimes it's hard to get into a game straight away, but I managed to on this occasion.
"I should have scored before I did but the ball ended up hitting me in the face!
"For the goal it was an excellent delivery from Luke and I just managed to get a yard on my marker and get my head on it.
"It was a nice feeling, especially as we went on to get three more points."
Grimsby Town: Boss blasts Mariners' 'soft underbelly'
GRIMSBY Town joint boss Rob Scott slammed the 'soft underbelly' of the team as they capitulated to a 2-1 defeat at Mansfield after leading.
Scott labelled the Field Mill display as 'Jekyll and Hyde' and criticised a woeful second-half display in stark contrast from a fluid first period.
Pulling no punches, Scott admits it was a collapse both he and Paul Hurst won't tolerate from their side.
The joint boss said: "In the first half I thought we were excellent. But that doesn't mean very much when you come away losing 2-1.
"You say all the right stuff at half-time and we are sick to death of saying it.
"The players are either not listening or not willing to do what we ask of them.
"We said to go out in the second half and play with the same tempo and pass the ball like we had been doing.
"We didn't do it and wayward passes put us under pressure. We also gave too many cheap free-kicks away. I'm fed up with it, as I'm sure the fans who made the journey are.
"They saw us play really well in the first-half but at the moment we are Jekyll and Hyde.
"We had this mentality last year and thought we'd got rid of it. I think it runs deeper.
"We won 5-2 last week and started well and then we were so poor in the second half and you can't legislate for that."
Scott felt his side lacked fight and only midfielder Anthony Church showed the spirit both he and Hurst want throughout the team.
Church put in a hard-working display and Scott says that is the example for others – especially when Town are behind and looking to fight back.
The co-manager added: "I said on the bench that Nobby Stiles won a World Cup winner's medal from running around and tackling and that's what Churchy does.
"He doesn't do something he can't do. He does what he's good at and did it well.
"Do we need ten of him? I certainly think we need a few more like that because at present we have a soft underbelly.
"That really sticks in our throats because our teams have never had that.
"We have always worked our socks off for each other to get results.
"At the moment we go behind and it looks like they just accept it and we won't tolerate that.
"It's not acceptable for us, the staff and the fans who travel and pay good money to watch them.
"Maybe we have brought in too many young players but you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.
"The criticism last year was too many older players, ex-league pros.
"We changed it around but maybe we do need more experience and need to be a bit more physical."
Latest | October 2011