COX, GREEN, ASHLEY WESTWOOD REACTION
post match interviews with Paul Cox and Matt Green from 103.2
Kettering Town caretaker manager Ashley Westwood tells BBC Radio Northampton:
VIEW FROM THE CHANGING ROOM
Kettering Town caretaker manager Ashley Westwood tells BBC Radio Northampton:
"We could've had a bit more luck [in the season] but we can't dwell on that. You've got to get your own house in order and we haven't done that.
"Relegation is bitterly disappointing. I've given it my all and it wasn't meant to be. It's not good on a CV, having a relegation, and we'll do our best to bounce back.
"In the time I've been here, we've been competitive and not got hammered in any game. You can take credit from that, but in the end, it wasn't good enough.
"The red card was embarrassing."
Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox hails 'absolutely magnificent' fans after 3-0 win at Kettering
STAGS boss Paul Cox was relieved to see his play-off chasers skip over another potential banana skin and relegate his former club Kettering Town with a 3-0 away win today.
“We knew it was going to be tough coming down here and I thought we stuttered in our performance,” he said.
“But I was over the moon with the result. We stuck to our task. It wasn't pretty and the pitch made it a bit of a non-entity as a spectacle. We were sloppy in both boxes.
“But we came here to try to win it – and that's what we did.
“We were quite average at times in the first half, but we did up the ante after the break.
“And this looks a very important three points with the way the other results went for us.
“We had some tired legs and tired minds out there today but they still gave me 100 per cent for 90 minutes against a side fighting for their lives.”
He added: “We are nearly there, but nearly can leave you flat at the end of the season. I don't want them taking their foot off the gas until we are there.
“The fans were absolutely magnificent again. The vocal support was superb and I can't thank them enough.”
Cox also said: “It was sad to see Kettering relegated as I have quite an affinity with the club.
“I am not gloating over this, but I had to be ruthless today as we are chasing our own dream and something had to give.
“It is a great club and I hope they bounce back at the first opportunity as there are too many good people here.”
Matt Green took his season's goals tally to 28 for Stags and said: “That was a difficult game though the scoreline says something different.
“They were defensive and in the end it was a great result and we're moving in the right direction.
“We missed a couple of chances early on and the boys were getting impatient. But then we took our chances and credit to the boys for sticking at it.
“This is my best season ever in my career and I am relishing it.
“I am being well looked after by the club but I would like to play in every game left if I can. The fans are coming out and it is a great atmosphere, so it's a great time to be playing every game.
“But I am sure the gaffer knows what's best for me and it will be up to him.
“Everyone is hungry and we are all looking forward to Monday now.”
Murray left out of Stags team to avoid a ban
PAUL Cox revealed he left skipper Adam Murray out of the team to face Kettering to avoid him picking up a two-match ban.
Skipper Murray is on nine bookings for the season and another on Saturday would have triggered an automatic suspension.
But with that directive now ruled out by the FA from yesterday, it means the 30-year-old and his team-mates are no longer at risk of bans from yellow cards in the run-in.
Given his ankle problem, Stags boss Cox said it was an easy decision to make given they face Stockport today, in a game that sees kids enter for a quid at the newly renamed One Call Stadium.
Cox said: "Adam Murray we left out because of the booking situation. He has to have an injection before every game and we thought it was better to have him for the home game.
"Had he been booked on Saturday, he would have missed two games but from yesterday, the whole thing is wiped clean, the bookings do not count towards bans. We used our head with him a bit and we have a fresh body back for today's game."
On the 3-0 win, he added: "We stuck in there, stuck to the task given and the pitch did not make it easy. We came to win and that's what we did. I hope the fans that came down went home happy."
Rhead in line for Stags call
STRIKER Matt Rhead is in line for his first start for Mansfield Town today against Stockport County.
The burly striker, signed from Corby in February, came off the bench against Kettering and scored in the 3-0 victory on Saturday.
His second goal for the club helped to keep Stags in third place in the Blue Square Bet Premier, seven points clear of sixth-placed Southport.
With four games remaining, starting with Stockport at home today, Mansfield are on course to make the play-offs.
And after making 11 appearances from the bench, former Eastwood Town striker Rhead stands by for his first start today.
Manager Paul Cox said: "The crowd gave him stick when he came on. He gets that wherever he goes but you know what, that lad is brilliant.
" It was a great header for his goal and I know what the lad is about. He is close to a start against Stockport.
"He is a handful and when the ball goes in the box, he usually gets on the end of it.
"There are not many better than him around and when he gets it, it does not come back and he keeps it. He is a big strong unit, gets on with it and he was excellent when he came on."
Lindon Meikle scored the opener before Matt Green netted his 28th goal of the campaign in the win at Kettering, with Rhead adding the last five minutes from time.
The result relegated Kettering and as a former Poppies player, Cox added: "It is sad and I have an affinity with the club. They have great supporters and I just hope they bounce back at the first opportunity."
Green learning with every game at Mansfield
I HAVE started every League game and I wanted to come here to Mansfield (last summer), work hard and play and it is taking care of itself now.
I have played on the wing, up front and consistently I am now playing every game up front and I have learned so much. I know I am an out-and-out striker, a goalscorer and once that clicks in the brain, it is great.
It was great to score my 28th goal and I would love to get to the 30 mark and I had a couple of earlier chances.
Maybe two or three years ago I would have snatched at that chance and not taken it. But now I have a lot more experience and I am a lot calmer in front of goal.
I was looking where the goalkeeper was, how much space I could get and then luckily it went in the back of the net.
It is a great feeling and it was a difficult game. They were very defensive and it was a great win. We are heading in the right direction and the lads are buzzing.
We have a really tough couple of games coming up, with Stockport today and if we can get maximum points, it could make the difference.
We are not getting too excited but it is pedal to the metal and see what we can do.
We had a couple of chances early on in the game that did not go for us and the lads get impatient but it will be like that, teams will look to frustrate and defend.
But we stuck at it, took our chances and got the win.
I got my chance in the end, we got the three goals so it could not be better.
I am loving this season, it is the best I have had in my career. I am relishing it and I just want it to keep going. If it ends with a massive success it will be brilliant.
I have a few knocks but I am fine, I live my life well, we have a good physio and they wrap me up in cotton wool and I am being looked after to help me enjoy my season.
I just want to play all the time, every game. I am stubborn like that.
Westwood believes Poppies did their best to avoid relegation
by Jon Dunham
ASHLEY WESTWOOD believes his Kettering Town side did their best to prevent relegation.
But the caretaker-boss admitted it wasn't enough as the Poppies finally succumbed to the drop from the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Westwood's side were well beaten 3-0 at home by play-off contenders Mansfield Town at Nene Park and their relegation was confirmed thanks to Stockport County's 4-0 win over Lincoln City.
But Westwood, who was sent off for a second bookable offence in stoppage-time, expects his team to show pride and passion in the remaining four matches – the first of which is at Cambridge United this afternoon (3pm kick-off).
“We have had factors against us but you can't make excuses. It hasn't been good enough,” Westwood said.
“You can't get relegated and then show no pride or passion.
“We have to go out there and play every game as if it is our last and try to get some good performances and results.
“We didn't lie down in front of Mansfield and we fought hard.
“We have done our best but it's not been enough.”
Westwood, meanwhile, launched a scathing attack on referee John Hopkins as he branded the official as “arrogant” after he saw red late on.
“The day was made even worse with a diabolical referee,” he added.
“You couldn't speak to him, he was arrogant, rude and shouting in players' faces. He clearly had a personal problem with me.
“With the first booking, I just pointed to the grass and said the free-kick was there and he shouted at me in my face and booked me.
“And as soon as the foul happened, you knew what was going to happen.He had the chance to send me off and took it.”
Meanwhile, Paul Cox is hoping Kettering Town will be able to bounce back at the first attempt.
The former Poppies defender watched his Mansfield Town side record a 3-0 win and said: “It's sad because I have an affinity with the club.
“The support they always get is incredible and the fans were fantastic to me when I was here.
“It's certainly not something I am gloating over but we had to be ruthless because we are chasing our own little dream.
“But I am not taking any pleasure in it whatsoever.
“It's a great club with great support and I hope they come back at the first opportunity because there are too many good people at Kettering.”
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