Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans was left disappointed as his side dominated for 90 minutes against in-form Colchester United, but failed to find a winner in today’s 0-0 draw.
Matt Green came the closest, twice missing the target and forcing a save out of Sam Walker.
United had won their last two games 4-0 and 3-0 and so Evans said: “It was a hard-earned point against a team in good form.
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“But did we have the quality to open the door? The evidential answer is no. But you can’t miss the two big chances we had, one in each half.
“We have dominated from start to finish against a side that have scored seven goals in their last two minutes. We know what they are about, but I think we took the game to them.
“We just lacked a bit of quality in the final third and maybe the passing from central areas of midfield was not where it should be today.
“We said to the boys you have to earn the right to win matches and we reiterated that point at half-time.
“We knew by then we should be 1-0 up. You don’t expect Matt Green to miss the type of chances he missed today.”
He added: “I think if we’d got a goal we might have got more. But it wasn’t to be. We go away disappointed.
“But the players were a credit and they gave us absolutely everything. What we lacked for in a little bit of quality, we can address that when the window opens.
“What we are trying to do is make sure whoever we bring in has the same application as that group in the dressing room.
“I am looking to bring in three or four players. But they must be value for money. And they need to be starting or the chairman will ask why I am spending his money for players to be sitting on the bench.
“If we’d won today we’d have been eighth in the table – that’s the fine margins it is – four points off the play-offs.
“If we are there four points off the play-offs in January then we will have a big part to play in the second half of the season.
“My memory of today’s game is that we have had all the ball, all the play and all the chances.
“We restricted them to the odd foray up the field. I don’t know what the percentages were on the pitch today but it may have been in the eighties for us in their half.
“If it was a boxing match the towel might have come in after 75 minutes, but it’s not boxing and you have to find that knock-out blow.”
Stags were delighted to see a crowd of 3,398 on a day they put on the Evans’ 11s ticket deal and the manager said: “The crowd numbers were up today and they were right behind us today.
“I though the atmosphere in the second half was great when we had a little passage of play and balls across the box.”
Danny Rose was booked for a stoppage time dive, but Evans believes it was a penalty or at least a free kick as there was confusion if it was inside the box or outside.
“I think there was contact,” said Evans. “I’ve looked at the DVD and there was minimal contact, but it was a free kick or a penalty.
“A couple of lads have said it was slightly on the edge of the box and a couple have said it was inside. But I don’t think we got a lot from the officials today.
“We have won three and drawn one out of five and that is acceptable form. But we are capable of so much more.
“It was important we defended right at the end and we got a little break when when the ball came off the top of our bar.”
Colchester boss John McGreal said: “We would have loved to have gone three wins on the bounce, but we will take what’s next, which is a clean sheet and a point.
“It keeps the unbeaten run going, which we are craving at the moment.
“It wasn’t the best of games or a great spectacle – and they had chances to win it late on, but it would have been unjust if they had nicked it.
“I am made up for the fans. They made themselves heard and we have come away with a good point.
“The three central defenders were excellent. We had done our homework and we knew what was coming.
“ We have done a lot of analysis on Mansfield over the past few games (since Steve Evans took over) and we knew it would be physical.”
He added: “Steve Evans does a terrific job wherever he goes and had already got two wins from two matches here under him, so to come away with a point, we are happy.
“We would have loved to have been three from three, but we will take the draw.
“The system (three central defenders) is working ok at the minute.
“The strength in depth with the centre backs, who were outstanding, held us together. A couple of weeks ago we might have gone under.
“Even though we have got the clean sheets, we do look as though we can nick goals at the other end as well.”