Mansfield boss Paul Cox was delighted to see his side overcome all the odds to extend the club’s unbeaten run to six games with a hard-earned 2-1 win at York City today.
Stags’ coach did not arrive at the ground until 2.20pm due to heavy traffic, they went behind in 50 seconds and then lost Chris Clements to a possibly serious knee injury and Martin Riley to a red card when he and Richard Cresswell were sent-off near the end for violent conduct.
But they still won it with goals from Sam Clucas and Ollie Palmer and Cox said: “That was a good result.
“It was the first time today I have asked my players for character and they came at me in abundance. I don’t think it was an entertaining match and I don’t think we played particularly well which was down to certain aspects. But we ground out a very good win away from home.
“Arriving late did have a massive impact, I won’t lie to anyone. Footballers are human beings and very animalistic in what they do. Pre-match warm-ups are geared and everything has to be spot on. So that was hugely frustrating.
“If Sam Clucas had taken his chance in the second half that would have been game, set and match. We had to dig in deep at the end, but this group of players keep going the extra mile. Everyone can see we have heart and passion in abundance.”
On the loss of Clements and Riley, he said: “Chris injured his knee and it’s not looking a good one.
“It could be a medial ligament. I feel sorry for the kid as he has been patient and worked hard and been playing well for us.
“We will know more by Monday. But, as one door closes, another opens, and we have a squad of players champing at the bit.
“I couldn’t see what happened with Riles, but he says he didn’t raise his hands. We will look at the video and see if it’s worth appealing. If we can, brilliant, if not then we just have to get on with it.
“He has been a colossus for us this season and any club at this level of football would miss a player like him.”
York boss Nigel Worthington, now with just win in seven,said: “I honestly couldn’t fault my players today for their effort and commitment and, for a lot of the game, their quality. We just have to keep working hard as a team and keep producing performances like that and hope we can turn the corner. It is a fine line. We just need to fine-tune it.
“I can live with that today whereas I couldn’t live with the defeat last week.
“I was pleased with the overall effort and the shape of the team.
“We have got to keep plugging away. I have been in the game long enough to know you have to stick with it and keep doing the things you believe in.
“There were so many plusses today that the only thing I am disappointed with is the result.
“I thought the sendings-off looked harsh. If anything yellows would have sufficed.”