New Mansfield Town boss Graham Coughlan thanks fans for helping his tired side hold on for a point against in-form Northampton Town

Mansfield's new manager Graham Coughlan
Mansfield's new manager Graham Coughlan

New Mansfield Town manager Graham Coughlan believes the Stags supporters were the reason why his side hung on for a 1-1 draw under a late onslaught by promotion-chasing Northampton Town this afternoon.

Coughlan looked set to mark his first game in change with a victory after Andy Cook put them ahead 16 minutes from time.

But Harry Smith levelled with six minutes to go and the Cobblers pushed hard in the seven added minutes to shred the nerves of a bumper 4,496 crowd.

“I would have loved three points but all round I have to be relatively pleased with a point against a promotion-chasing team,” said Coughlan.

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“I actually think the crowd got us over the line at the end of the game. The crowd got us the draw.

“They could see the lads were getting tired, you could see they were sinking. The reaction of the crowd after the goals went in, it was like we'd scored it.

“They got up and clapped the lads as they could see they were leaving everything out on the pitch. I thought the crowd was absolutely immense.”

He added: “The reception I got was great and it's my responsibility to make sure I get that the week after and the week after. That was brilliant. My missus and kids were here today and they would have felt that too.

“The fans were spending their money, which is hard to come by these days. They were willing to come out five days before Christmas to support these lads and that was immense.”

On the game, he added: “First half I think we might have paid them a bit too much respect because they are a promotion-chasing team.

“I just wasn't getting enough from three or four individuals that can do it – they showed it in the second half – and now I just want a bit of consistency.

“We defended manfully and wore our hearts on our sleeves. CJ and Macca did well and Andy Cook was different class up front.

“They were all excellent today and can feel bitterly disappointed tonight they didn't win the game. But it is something to build on.”