Stags boss Cox continues striker hunt but asks fans to stick with his players

Stags v Plymouth Argyle.'Sam Clucas.
Stags v Plymouth Argyle.'Sam Clucas.

Mansfield boss Paul Cox agreed he needs to bring in another striker, but called on fans to stick with his side after criticism following today’s late 1-0 home defeat by Plymouth Argyle.

A depleted Stags side were excellent for long spells of this game until they ran out of steam late on when Argyle stole an unlikely 93rd minute winner.

Some fans vented their spleen at the manager before the end and at his players as they left the field, having now not won in five games or scored in 338 minutes.

Cox said: “There is a bit of frustration out there and one or two supporters shouted things at the end which were not warranted. People have to understand where we are and where we’ve come from.

“It’s all right getting behind the boys when they are winning, but we also need to get behind them when things are not going well.

“Any neutral today could see we’ve not played badly. We just didn’t finish them off.

“I thought we played some good stuff and moved the ball around well, and we created some good chances. Then we fell to a sucker punch.

“The chances we had we should have put away. But if we are not going to score then you keep a clean sheet and take a point.

“I never thought we looked in any trouble and I never saw that coming.

“We switched off for a second and you do that at this level and you get hurt.

“It was frustrating and I am gutted for the lads to be honest.

“We need to get a balance back, play some attractive stuff but uncomplicate the game. Sometimes we overdid it. But no one could question out ethics and application.

“I have never had a season where everything has been rosy since I’ve been here. But in the past, in the face of adversity, we have always come strong.

“You’d think there is a crisis, but there isn’t. We just need to start putting out chances away. We are not being ruthless enough in both boxes.”

Stags had to make five changes today with their keeper Alan Marriott and three of the back four ruled out with injury and suspension.

Cox said: “I could go on about the changes we had to make and make excuses. But the lads that came in were brilliant and Liam in goal has had nothing to do until he had to pick the ball out of the net.”

On the lack of goals, he added: “People say we need a striker and we do. I wish I could go out and get one, and I am working hard to try to get us one.

“But everybody want them and they cost a lot of money. Being Second Division, we will always be at the end of the queue for them too.”

Plymouth boss John Sheridan said: “We knew we were in for a battle today and we defended well as a team, I thought we created one or two problems ourselves, too, though they had chances.

“We worked hard, though we didn’t play well. But we ended up with a scrappy 1-0 win and sometimes they are the best results.

“I want us to believe in ourselves a bit more and pass the ball. We go into a scrap today and I was pleased with the way the lads dealt with it.

“We have not had the breaks this season, but everyone was in the right place at the right time for the goal today.

“We are not getting carried away but I know sometimes a win like that gives you the kickstart you need to get back on a run.”