COX, JUSTIN EDINBURGH REACTION
audio interview with Paul Cox http://www.mansfield1032.co.uk/xtra
Newport County defeat may bring players back down to earth, says Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox
ON Pancake Day, Mansfield Town produced an appropriately flat display in the 2-0 defeat on a dreadful surface at promotion rivals Newport County last night.
But manager Paul Cox said he hoped it was just a blip in what has been an excellent run of form in recent weeks, which had culminated in them firing home 13 goals in the previous two games.
However, the Stags' stuttering promotion rivals took the points with two goals inside 12 second half minutes, the first from the spot on 66 minutes, as they denied Mansfield the chance to leapfrog them into the play-off spots with the Welsh side's best display since Christmas.
“I thought we were flat all over the pitch tonight,” said Cox.
“It was the right result as I though Newport ground it out while we never really got going.
“I thought we had weathered the storm before the penalty and it probably had 0-0 all over it.
“We were sloppy and this result may have brought one or two back down to earth.
“We looked a yard off the pace and I thought Newport played the pitch and the conditions better than us.
“In the middle third of the game we started to put something together. But the penalty put us on the back foot and then we had to go for it.
“It was a penalty. The referee gave it. We had two given to us on Saturday and were patting the ref on the back so we can't complain tonight.
“Both the goals were poor defensively. The second we tried to play a silly offside trap in the top third of our own half when Lee Beevers was 15-20 yards behind the two centre halves.
“At one stage I never thought we were going to lose the match though I couldn't see us winning it either.”
He added: “This sometimes happens in football. We'd been doing well and everyone was blowing raspberries about us and patting us on the back.
“Tonight we were way off the standards we'd set in the last 10-12 games. But there is no panic. We've done well of late and hopefully it's a blip and a bad day at the office.
“We don't want to fall into a lull now so maybe I will need to freshen it up a bit as we have a lot of good players sat on the bench or that haven't travelled tonight.”
Stags now prepare for the visit of Cambridge United on Saturday
No knee-jerk reaction to defeat, says Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox
MANSFIELD Town boss Paul Cox insists there will be no knee-jerk reaction after his side's good run of form came to an abrupt end in south Wales.
The Stags headed to Newport on Tuesday night on the back of four straight wins and had collected seven victories from their last nine league games – scoring 13 in their previous two outings.
But, with a chance to leapfrog their opponents into the play-offs with victory, they came undone.
Two second-half goals saw them put to the sword 2-0 at Rodney Parade, following what was a very disappointing performance.
But, with Cambridge United the visitors on Saturday and with Mansfield still three points off the top-five, Cox said: "What I don't want to do is panic.
"We have been putting in some excellent performances of late and winning a lot of games. It might be a bad day at the office.
"I don't want to make a knee-jerk reaction (in the loan market) and we have good players on the bench, also who did not travel.
"It might need freshening up a little, but nothing more.
"It is my job to make sure we don't go into a lull now and we will hope this is just a blip and we can get back to the kind of level we have set ourselves."
Mansfield now have two games in hand on fifth-placed Kidderminster, who they trail by three points, while Newport moved up to fourth in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
But Cox was just disappointed by the way his side never looked like winning at Newport.
"They ground a result out and we never got started," he said.
"We were sloppy all over the pitch and it brought one or two back down to earth.
"We were flat all over. At one stage I thought we were not going to lose the game but at the same time, I never felt like we were going to win it.
"We have been on a crest of a wave and getting all the plaudits and getting the pats on the back.
"We kept the same side, didn't prepare any differently but it was just flat and we never threaded three or four passes together.
"The standards we have set of late, we fell well below. We were way off the pace and I will have a look at the DVD and it might be a time to freshen it up to make sure we are back on track on Saturday."
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VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Newport County manager Justin Edinburgh told BBC Radio Wales: "I'm not sure many people would have expected that [win], but I am delighted.
"We deserved to win, there is no doubt about that. I thought we were worthy of the win. We had a strong mentality, looked very accomplished at the back and had good work-rate.
"We have been in the top three or four all season, we are a good side, and we have had a little bit of a rough patch of late but to maintain where we are during it shows what a good side we are."
“A lot of people looking from the outside thought we'd get well beaten by Mansfield” explained boss Justin Edinburgh afterwards; “But we thoroughly deserved to beat them. For what ever reason, a lot of people think we're going to fall away, there's no doubt about that and I think it includes one or two of our own supporters as well. But I know this group and I think they'll stand the test of time, it was a big, big result for us – a statement – and I'm absolutely delighted.”
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