COX, BRISCOE AND ***new*** KEVIN WILKIN REACTION
Nuneaton put up a brave fight at title chasing Mansfield despite manager Kevein Wilkin making six changes. To rub salt in the wounds, relegation rivals Lincoln City and Hyde both won again on Tuesday.
Wilkin says his players should not be downhearted by that though.
“I hope the players aren't deflated by other scores. There are seven games left,” he said.
“There's still big games against teams around us. If we can achieve in those games we should be OK.”
The Boro boss was pleased with the efforts of his players, although he admitted the fantastic form of goalkeeper Lee Burge kept the score respectable.
He made countless saves, including a penalty, and was only beaten by Louis Briscoe's deflected free-kick.
“It was a brave effort. We've rejigged it at half-time and given a better account of ourselves,” he said.
“We lived a charmed life in the first half at times and Burge has been fantastic throughout, yet again.
“We've not had quality in the final third when we've needed it. You are asking lads to go in with so many changes and it can make it difficult.
“They all went in and did well though.”
Wilkin rested Gaz Dean, Aaron Phillips, James Armson, Wes York, Simon Forsdick and Andy Brown with tonight's game against 10th placed Woking in mind.
All six are set to start, but Wilkin says those that came in did their chances no harm.
“Although we lost the game we've got to look further afield to other games,” he said.
“I'd have liked to have played Woking on Saturday to let us rest, but that's not the case. We need to keep those players that have been doing well as fresh as possible.
“I knew those lads that came in wouldn't let us down and they didn't. They are all in the reckoning to play against Woking.”
audio interviews with Paul Cox and Louis Briscoe:
Cox delighted with vital victory
Manager Paul Cox was pleased with the resolve, fight and spirit that his side showed in tonight's 1-0 win over a spirited Nuneaton Town at One Call Stadium.
Substitute Louis Briscoe netted the winner midway through the second half, which sealed our tenth successive league victory – a feat we last matched during the World War I.
“I said to the lads at half-time, it wasn't about how many goals we scored tonight, it was about us making sure that we won the game,” said our boss.
“When we missed the penalty, you feared the worst, but the lads dug in and nobody can say we didn't deserve to win the game.
“It was frustrating that we didn't score earlier, but it was a horrible game. We didn't look as sharp mentally as we have done and that's probably due to such a long lay-off.
He added: “I was quite glad just to get this one out of the way.”
Cox has also revealed that James Jennings was substituted as a precaution, after the left-back complained of a tight hamstring.
“He's got a slight pull in his hamstring, so we'll find out tomorrow how bad it is. He thinks it's a quick healer, so hopefully it won't be too long,” added Cox.
Our next Blue Square Bet Premier game is this Saturday when we make the short trip to Tamworth (kick-off 3.00pm).
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox told BBC Radio Nottingham (AUDIO INTERVIEW):
"We created that many chances and we found a goalkeeper in inspired form.
"We found a team that wanted to block everything and throw their bodies on the line. You can tell why Nuneaton have had some good results.
"It was one of those nights where I thought the ball wasn't go in the back of the net. Their keeper made some great saves - the one from the penalty was out of this world.
"It was a big result for us. We looked fit in terms of our physical fitness but our mental sharpness was a little bit off key."
Stags manager Cox awaits full details of Jennings' injury after Nuneaton win
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox will wait for more detailed news of James Jennings' hamstring injury before deciding whether to dip into the transfer market before the loan window closes on Thursday night.
Jennings limped out of tonight's hard-earned 1-0 win over Nuneaton Town – a 10th successive win for Mansfield – and Cox will weigh up his next move once he knows how long he may be without his left back.
“At the end of the season I don't want to look back and think I should or I could have acted, but I will wait to see what the news is and then be professional about it,” said Cox.
“JJ went off with a bit of a pull but he says he is a quick healer so I hope he won't be too long.
“To say that George Pilkington would be an adequate replacement is an understatement anyway. I will just wait and digest the news.”
Cox was delighted with his side's efforts tonight in a game in which they wasted many chances and rarely hit the heights against a Nuneaton side scrapping for their lives.
Matt Green missed a penalty and had another effort disallowed, but Louis Briscoe came up with the winner midway through the second half to close the gap on leaders Kidderminster to just one point.
“The lads gave me and the club their all tonight and I am very proud of them,” he said.
“After the last two games were called off, you feared they may lose some of their mental sharpness. And we didn't look as sharp as we had been.
“It was a horrible game. I thought we looked a bit nervous at times. I told them at half-time to just enjoy themselves. It is a waste of time getting uptight just because there is now expectation.
“I want them to put a smile on their face and enjoy these last eight games and not fear them. They are eight cup finals.
“I said at half-time it wasn't about how many goals we scored, it was just about winning the game.
“I lost count of how many chances we had in the first half. The second half was the same. And when we missed the penalty you feared the worst. Then we went and scored probably the hardest chance of the match.
“I don't think anyone could deny we deserved to win the game. It was just a bit frustrating we didn't score earlier in the game.”
He added: “There were some strange decisions tonight. But I won't have a go at the referee as it's the hardest job in football.
“I thought for Matt Green's goal that was disallowed that he came from onside.
“Their keeper deserves a special mention. Some of the saves he pulled off were on a different level, though it's what he's paid to do.
“He got his body in the way and it was a great penalty save. I thought he had an excellent game.”
Latest | March 2013