COX, MURRAY, JEZ GEORGE REACTION
Frustrated Stags boss says Mansfield Town need to be 'more clinical'
FRUSTRATED Stags boss Paul Cox says his side need to find a meaner streak in front of goal.
Cox was left counting the cost of his team's inability to convert good possession and territory into goals as his side slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Cambridge United on Saturday.
Mansfield, though, can count themselves somewhat unlucky after bossing virtually all the second half and creating a number of decent chances to get something out of the match.
But once again Stags were unable to convert their chances and were hit by two breakaway goals in the space of five second-half minutes to send third-placed Cambridge home with all the points.
Cox said: “We gifted them all three points today and switched off for their goals. Their first goal was a bit lucky with O'Neill slipping at the crucial moment.
“We worked very hard today but did not take our chances.
“We camped in their half in the second, but we switched off and we were punished for it.
“We have done that to teams ourselves this season. That is football for you.”
Striker Matt Green returned from illness to fire Mansfield ahead after 55 minutes.
But the Stags switched off at the back allowing Harrison Dunk to score a brace on 57 minutes and 62 minutes to seal the smash-and-grab success for the on-form U's.
Stags had a number of great chances throughout the 90 minutes with new wingman Nick Hegarty blazing over from close range when it was easier to find the back of the net with the score at 0-0.
Meikle, Dyer, Green and Howell all had opportunities to level the contest during a spell of sustained pressure as throughout the second half, but it was to no avail.
Cox added: “We need to be more clinical in front of goal. We were just missing some quality in the final third today.
“We had enough chances to win three games today. I thought we were solid at the back today. Apart from their two goals they did not create a lot of chances.”
Mansfield are now five points behind Southport in the last play-off spot with one game in hand
Cox feels his players deserve praise rather than criticism
PAUL Cox felt his players deserved praise rather than a rollicking – despite their disappointing 2-1 defeat to Cambridge.
The Stags boss had been left 'hurt' after his side crumbled to a 5-0 FA Cup defeat at Fleetwood in his absence through illness in their previous game.
He had asked for a positive response from his players and though they once again finished on the losing side he was much happier with what he saw.
"We had enough chances to win three or four games and it might upset people, but I went into the dressing room afterwards and gave them a pat on the back," said Cox.
"They gave everyone in the stadium their all and we were just missing that little bit of quality.
"Sometimes you go through these scenarios in football. We won against Alfreton when we didn't deserve to and we deserved to get something out of the game and didn't.
"We played some good football at times, especially in the second half, but I felt we were a little bit unlucky."
Cox knows that the margins between success and failure are slight and said Mansfield had come off second best in both boxes.
He added: "We had enough chances, even in the first half, but we didn't take them.
"They have probably had three chances and taken two of them, but apart from that I don't think Alan Marriott has had a serious shot to save.
"I think the miss of Ross Dyer's in the second half summed it up for us in front of goal at the minute. We just have to keep grinding away and I'm sure we will turn it around."
Cox was delighted with what he saw from left-back Kieron Freeman, drafted in on a month's loan from Nottingham Forest on Friday.
He said: "I thought he was excellent in everything he did and his attitude was immense.
"He's only a 19-year-old kid so it shows you he has a fantastic career ahead of him.
"Coming from a big club like Forest he could have come in and strutted around, but he was the true professional."
Jason Truscott has left his position as first team physio with a statement on the subject expected to be issued today
Skipper Murray attacks the 'minority' of Field Mill boo boys
ADAM Murray has attacked a 'minority' of Mansfield Town boo-boys who he insists are making it impossible for the team to produce their best at Field Mill.
The Stags skipper spoke out of his annoyance at what he perceives to be a lack of patience from some on the terraces after the Stags went down 2-1 at home to Cambridge United on Saturday.
?Matt Green's 11th goal of the season had given the Stags a 55th-minute lead, only for two Harrison Dunk goals in four minutes soon after to plunder the points for the Us.
It was Mansfield's third defeat in five outings and saw some of the home crowd turn on their team.
But Murray believes that is unacceptable and said: "People ask why we are better away from home and it's probably because playing here is like playing away sometimes.
"That's not looking for excuses, but the first wrong pass a player makes and they have 2,000 people turning on them.
"People say we have to give them something to cheer, but if we are trying to create a fortress at Field Mill, then we are going a strange way about it.
"Opposition players have told us that if they can keep us quiet for 15 minutes then the crowd will turn.
"But at the moment it feels like it is us against the fans – and it can't be like that.
"It is a minority, but the minority are more vocal than the majority and it is having an effect. But we are all in this together."
Jez: "I'm really pleased"
Character, courage and belief were just some of the words used by Cambridge United manager Jez George when he spoke to cambridgeunited.com following Saturday's 2-1 victory at Mansfield Town.
"It was a really resilient performance as well today, particularly in the second half once we had taken the lead and a really pleasing performance too. I have just said to the lads afterwards, the way we have achieved the result today really really pleases me because in the last few weeks, apart from at York, we have been able to score plenty of goals and play lots of nice football and look like an improved team in terms of possession and chances but today especially in the last 20-25 minutes it was really all about defending, being resilient and staying strong and I thought the players were absolutely magnificent."
Jez confirmed that left back James Jennings had missed the game due to a migraine but was full of praise for how his defenders had responded: "Jenno has had a really bad migraine overnight and had to have the doctor out so he was totally out of action.
"We just thought that today, with the threat that they pose, the most solid back four would be to shift Rory across and bring Michael Wylde back in who has been magnificent in terms of his attitude, his character. I can't speak highly enough of the guy, he epitomises what this squad is all about at the moment. When they're out of the team they show a willingness to work to do whatever is required to be ready for when he is needed, never a whinge or a moan."
Speaking about Rory McAuley's performance at left back Jez joked: "Rory has just found out how much more difficult it is physically to play at full-back than centre-half, getting up and down and their lad was quick but the one thing we all know about Rory is that he will give it everything and stick at his task, and he was one more header of the ball today at set plays which is one of the reasons we went that way and the result vindicates that decision."
Jez was pleased with the character his side had shown to get back into the game so quickly after falling behind: "It's a good quality that we have at the moment within the team, earlier in the season it always worried me, I remember against Kidderminster when we conceded one and lost our heads and conceded straight after but we have a composure about us now if we go behind and what happens when you do come back in games is it gives the team a belief that they can do that again and again and we are a more mature team now as well."
Jez was also happy with the character and spirit that his team have shown: "This is a difficult place to come and I'm really pleased with that resilience and the spirit that we've shown, it's been a difficult week for us and there have been one or two things that have happened away from the first 11 that has really tested the resolve of the group and I can't speak highly enough of the players. Every test that has been thrown at them they have come out and met the challenge and there is a great desire and work ethic in there and a great passion for this football club.
Jez finished by praising the travelling fans for the vocal support during the game: "The fans are just unbelievable also, they have come and turned this place into a home game for us, forget turning Hayes into a home game, we have come to Mansfield who used to be in the football league and all I could hear for the entire game was our supporters and it's great and all we want to do is make them happy."
Latest | November 2011