Paul Cox frustrated after Mansfield Town fail to take chances against Portsmouth

Stags manager Paul Cox in deep thought  -Pic by:Richard Parkes
Stags manager Paul Cox in deep thought -Pic by:Richard Parkes
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Frustrated Mansfield boss Paul Cox says his players must learn to take their chances if they are to be a threat in League Two.

He made the comments after watching his side draw 2-2 at home to Portsmouth after substitute Lindon Meikle had levelled for the Stags on 71 minutes.

But Cox felt Mansfield should have wrapped up all three points after Meikle, Martin Riley and John Dempster all failed to take their chances as Stags pressed well in the closing stages.

It is the second successive time Mansfield have drawn at home after they spurned decent chances to turn one point in to three during a 0-0 draw with Exeter.

Said Cox: “We played well in the second half and were unlucky not to win.

“Seven minutes of sloppy defending cost us and that is something we need to eliminate.

“We got ourselves in front and we have to learn to go into the break leading in situations like this.

“If you make mistakes then good teams will punish you and Portsmouth are a good team.

“We got better in the second half and the switch to a 4-4-2 formation worked well. I thought Rheady and Palmer were a real handful when they came on, but we did not take our chances and football is all about taking chances.

“There are positives to take from the game and we just need to keep learning as we are doing.

“If we can start taking our chances then we will be a good team at this level.”

Portsmouth boss Guy Whittingham was also left feeling frustrated at his side’s failure to turn a 2-1 lead into three points.

“The lads are a bit dejected in the dressing room that we did not win,” he said.

“We are a big scalp for teams at this level and Mansfield put us under pressure. They do not make it an easy place to come

“The second half was frustrating for us. We felt we defended set pieces very well, but one error has cost us. We should have held on to our win.”

Mansfield hit the front on 32 minutes when striker Ben Hutchinson smashed home a volley from 25 yards.

But Portsmouth fought back well and levelled when Andy Barcham drilled a sweet finish past Alan Marriott on 39 minute, before veteran stiker David Connolly put the visitors ahead on 43 minutes.

Meikle then levelled for Mansfield on 71 minutes after Phil Smith fumbled a knock-back by Ollie Palmer into his path to claim a share of the spoils.

Stags will be looking to record their first home win since returning to the Football League when they entertain Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday.