Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox was delighted to see his side chalk up their first Football League home win and end a tough August with eight points from their first five games after a 3-0 win over Dagenham and Redbridge this afternoon.
Jamie McGuire and sub Matt Rhead added second half goals to Sam Clucas’ first half strike and Cox said: “I was happy with that. It was a scrappy first half and we looked a bit uncouth. But a lot of that was down to the strong wind and I thought our defending was excellent.
“We were maybe a bit fortunate to go in 1-0 up. But our second half performance was excellent and we might have won it by a few more goals in the end.”
After a poor first half, a switch to 4-4-2 and the impact made by giant striker Rhead saw Mansfield take full control at last and Cox said: “We changed to 4-4-2 at half-time. But it was down to the players still. Systems are just systems but it’s footballers who win you matches.
“I don’t think there are many better second half impact players in the business than Matt Rhead.
“I now need to challenge Matt to become a 90-minute player. If he can do that for 90 minutes we will have a piece of the jigsaw that not many clubs have at this level of football.”
He added: “We knew today would be tough as they are a good side, so we are more than happy to get the three points.
“Eight points from our first five matches is a decent return, though there are still a million and one things I think we can get better at.
“But our team spirit is brilliant and we have some very good players champing at the bit to get into the side.”
Dagenham manager Wayne Burnett said: “They were better than us. In the first half we limited them to one or two chances. The crowd were even starting to get on their backs.
“Then they scored a goal and, it’s an old cliché, but it changed the complexion of the game.
“We had large parts of the game without creating too many goalscoring opportunities.
“We came out sluggish for the second half and they scored again. I don’t know if it was a wonder goal or a mistake, but I think my keeper might have expected to do better.
“Then they scored again from bad defending by us and it was all over.
We huffed and puffed without really creating anything and we could still be out there playing now and still not score.
“We have not started the season badly. But if you are going to be successful you have to come to places and maybe pick up a point. I have no complaints about the result at all.
“We knew Mansfield would be competitive and get balls into our box and, fair play to them, they did what they set out to do.”
Cox is waiting on the fitness of Ollie Palmer and James Jennings after both were injured today, bit doesn’t think either will miss out next weekend at Newport.
Cox is also waiting to see if assistant boss Adam Murray goes out on loan to get games on Monday.
Murray has found himself down the pecking order and, despite being assistant boss, wants to play football and, if he goes out, is likely to head for a Conference North side.
“I like to abide by my players’ decisions and Adam wants to play football.
“He and Jake Speight could go out on loan on Monday, though that’s not the end for them here.
“I’d expect them to come back and fight for a place. I want players to work hard when they are not playing and try to get in my first team.
“I have good relationships with both players, contrary to what has been written on some forums.”