COX, MARRIOTT, ANDY MORRELL REACTION
video interviews with Paul Cox and Alan Marriott
audio interviews from Mansfield 103.2
Stags boss Paul Cox says TV win over Wrexham has no bearing on Play-Offs
STAGS boss Paul Cox believes Friday night's comprehensive victory over Wrexham will have no meaning if the two sides face off during next month's Wembley play-off final showdown.
Mansfield Town extended their impressive unbeaten home run, which stretches back to 5th November, with a superb display which saw them outfight and outplay the faltering Welsh outfit.
Goal-getting midfielder Anthony Howell set the confident home side on their way after nodding home an Exodus Geoghaghon long throw during what was an increasingly dominant first half display for the Field Mill men.
Wrexham's misery was then compounded in bizarre fashion on 61 minutes when a clearance by veteran goalkeeper Alan Marriott skidded off the drenched surface and over the head of Joslain Mayebi into the empty net.
In truth there was only ever going to be one winner as Wrexham failed to get to grips with the heavy downpour as well as the battling spirit and creativity of Mansfield.
It could have been more for Stags, with Lindon Meikle unlucky not to double Mansfield's lead when he hit the side netting shortly after Howell's opener.
Dyer, Sutton, Stevenson and Briscoe all saw good chances go begging as Mansfield, who secured third spot in the BSP and home advantage in the second leg of the play-offs continued to put the Welsh side under stern pressure either side of half-time.
At the other end all Wrexham could muster up was a wild shot from former Stag Jake Speight on 16 minutes and a long range effort by Harris on the hour mark as Mansfield's rock-solid defence stood firm.
But the notable win boss Paul Cox is refusing to get carried away.
“This was a great result for us but it has no bearing on the play-offs,” said Cox.
“We are not bothered who we play in the play-offs. We have to just keep our feet on the ground and go into each game working hard. If we keep doing that then we will go into the play-offs in good shape.
“The lads were excellent tonight as always and deserve full credit. I had had words with them this week because I felt they were easing off in training and this was the perfect response by them.
“At times I thought we lacked an end product, but we were missing players like Matt Green and Gary Roberts tonight.”
“Wrexham are still a great team. You have to feel sorry for them that they are in this position with their points total.
“Wrexham have to be considered the favourites, for me they are still the team to watch.”
Stags finish their BSP season next Saturday away to Kidderminster, in a match which could see Paul Cox rest a number of his big names
Cox calls for Mansfield Town players to stay hungry
PAUL Cox has called on his Mansfield Town players to show how hungry they are for success when they end their regular season at Kidderminster on Saturday.
The Stags were already assured of a play-off place when they took on second-placed Wrexham last Friday but produced a fantastic performance to win 2-0.
It confirmed third place in the Blue Square Bet Premier and Cox was delighted with the desire shown by his players when it would have been easy to lose focus.
Now he wants a repeat at Kidderminster, ahead of the first leg of their play-off semi-final the following Wednesday.
He said: "Our desire and hunger really impressed me and if we can keep that mentality, that hunger, then it will be an interesting play-off.
"It was a tremendous effort against Wrexham in atrocious conditions. That hunger is what I want to see again.
"The team spirit is second to none and if we keep our feet on the floor, we will go into the play-offs in a positive mental state."
Victory against Wrexham extended Mansfield's record to 11 wins and a draw from their last 13 games, the only defeat coming away at champions Fleetwood
Mansfield Town keeper Alan Marriott relives his goal to beat Wrexham
FOR Stags goalkeeper Alan Marriott Friday night's 2-0 victory over Wrexham will live long in the memory after he amazingly bagged the first goal of his career.
Shot-stopper Marriott embarrassed his opposite number Joslain Mayebi when a long clearance from his own box skidded off the drenched surface and over the Wrexham goalkeeper's head and into the unguarded net.
The bizarre goal capped a miserable night for the faltering Welsh outfit, who are now without a win in five, and secured the coveted third spot and home advantage in the second-leg of the play-offs for the Field Mill club.
Speaking after the game delighted Marriott said: “It was just one of those you don't expect to score. I just kicked it and thought it had gone too far. I thought I' get told off by the boss.
I saw it boumce and skid. You don't want to see their goalkeeper embarrassed.
“If you make a mistake it tends to be a goal and I've got every sympathy for him.
“That was a great performance today. The backline played the best they have all season. Howell does so much hard work and pops up with the goal. He took stick earlier in the season and I 'm over the moon for him
“We are on a roll, its a fantastic run and we have to make sure we don't get carried away. Play-off games are one of occassions and you never know what might happen.”
Stags keeper Alan Marriott seeking a first promotion
MANSFIELD Town goalkeeper Alan Marriott scored the first goal of his career to help sink Wrexham – but has now turned his attention to achieving a first promotion as a footballer.
The 34-year-old joined a rare band of goalkeepers to get on the scoresheet when his kick out of his hands caught out fellow No.1 Joslain Mayebi, bouncing over him and into the net.
It put the Stags 2-0 up at the One Call Stadium on Friday night, adding to Anthony Howell's opener, and it stayed that way against the Blue Square Bet Premier's second-placed side.
The victory means Mansfield have secured third place with one game to go, at Kidderminster on Saturday.
But despite reaching the play-offs five times on the spin at Lincoln City, Marriot has never won promotion.
Now he hopes to end that with Mansfield, by going back into the Football League via the Wembley route next month.
He said: "I know what it is like to lose in the play-offs and when I look back on my career I want to have had success.
"My trophy cabinet is empty. I have never been promoted and never been relegated.
"If I can get promoted with Mansfield it will be absolutely fantastic."
As for his goal, Marriott added: "I kicked it and was on one knee and thought I was going to get a rollicking off the gaffer. But it was wind-assisted, it hits a puddle, skids and it was unfortunate for their goalkeeper.
"I will get a few DVDs of the goal and post them out to friends for Christmas presents.
"They know what they will be getting now. And I'll be waking the kids up to tell them, don't worry about that."
Morrell: Not good enough
Wrexham player-manager Andy Morrell had few positives to take away from his side's performance in Friday night's 2-0 defeat to Mansfield Town.
Anthony Howell headed the Stags ahead on 13 minutes before goalkeeper Alan Marriott found the back of the net with a long punt from his own penalty area.
The result extends Wrexham's winless run to five games at a crucial stage of the season with the play-offs set to take place next month.
And Morrell has urged his charges to raise their standards and get back to doing the things that propelled them to the upper reaches of the Blue Square Bet Premier standings.
Speaking to the club's official website after Friday's disappointing result, Morrell said: "I know the standards these lads have set themselves and I believe we are very good side when we are on our game and at it.
"If we do that, then we are a match for anyone, but tonight we weren't and it's just not good enough.
"We have to be better all the way through, so everyone will have to take a look at themselves and then we go again.
"It was a real tough game for us and we got bullied by a side that played the conditions better than we did.
"Not many positives to take out of tonight. We do have a couple of games to turn round and that is what we have to do.
"If you don't hold it up at the top end, then it comes back on defenders and we get stretched.
"They were winning headers at both ends of the pitch, so we were under pressure.
"We need to make sure that we get back playing football in their end of the pitch. We seem to be getting caught in two minds about what to do.
"So it's back on the training pitch and some hard work ahead."
Andy Morrell back Wrexham FC to bounce back
by Mark Currie, DPW West
WREXHAM player-manager Andy Morrell reckons his players face their biggest test of the season in bouncing back from last Friday's 2-0 defeat at Mansfield Town which extended his side's run without a win to five matches.
Although secure in second spot and heading into the play-offs, the Dragons are going through their roughest spell of the campaign and, with a visit to Newport County in prospect tomorrow, the Racecourse boss insists his players owe it to themselves and their supporters to rediscover the winning touch.
“I know the standards these lads have set themselves I know how good they are,” he said. “I believe we are very good side when we are on our game. If we do that, then we are a match for anyone, but against Mansfield we weren't and it's just not good enough.”
Wrexham barely registered a shot on the home goal at Field Mill, where their abject performance was summed up by the home side's second goal, scored by goalkeeper Alan Marriott whose long punt forward took one bounce and went over Dragons' keeper Joslain Mayebi.
“It was a really tough game for us and we got bullied by a side that played the conditions better than we did,” added Morrell.
“There were not many positives we could take out of the game, but we do have a couple of matches (before the play-offs) to turn it round and that is what we have to do.
“We have to be better all the way through, so everyone will have to take a look at themselves and then we go again.
“If you don't hold it up at the top end, then it comes back on defenders and we get stretched.
“They were winning headers at both ends of the pitch, so we were under pressure.
“We seem to be getting caught in two minds about what to do. They won headers and second balls at both ends of the pitch, which is exactly what we were doing to teams two months ago. We've got to find it within ourselves, all of us, to be better. It's as simple as that.”
Morrell, who clearly had plenty to say to his players immediately after the final whistle, claimed Mayebi's misjudgement was merely incidental to the eventual outcome of the game.
He said: “We started the second half all right, although our quality inside their box was poor, but we didn't have too many problems.
“Jossie didn't read it at all and that goal summed up our night, but he has been fabulous for us this season, so it was a freak goal that took the wind out of our sails a little bit and it was an uphill battle from then on,” Morrell added.
“But there's no point in pointing the finger at each other because you have to look at yourself. If you believe you've done the best you can, fair enough, but if there's something else you can give in training or in games then you need to make sure you give it.”
Challenging his players to pick themselves up at Newport tomorrow, Morrell added: “There were big positives from both the Grimsby and Fleetwood games and then you have a setback like this.
“It will be a test to see how we come back so we need everyone to stand up and be counted and we need everyone to take responsibility and get on with it. If we believe in the team and in each other we have still got a chance. We are not down and out.”
Latest | April 2012