Although Mansfield Town picked up a superb away point in today’s 1-1 ill-tempered draw at Newport County, manager Paul Cox admitted a sense of disappointment that they had not taken all three points.
“I have mixed feelings on the result,” he said.
“We had some good chances in that first half, so to come in 1-0 down felt a bit strange.
“Before the game, coming away here, some supporters were telling me Newport were out bogey side, so we would been happy to take a point.
“But we worked hard, our defence looked solid and I thought we were worth more than a point.”
Stags fell behind in the first half to slack marking from a corner that let Chris Zebrowski have a free header before Sam Clucas levelled after the break.
“We are usually very strong at set pieces for and against,” said Cox. “Ritchie Sutton has held his hands up – he is an honest boy. Not many get the better of him in those situations.
“But I was pleased with the lads. Newport are a good side and are going to be hard to beat here on their own ground.
“It’s early days yet but I think this group of boys can get better. They are learning all the time.”
Cox was unhappy with some of the decisions of referee Dave Phillips who sent off Lee Minshull 15 minutes from time for an elbow in the face of Martin Riley but evened it up five minutes later when he showed Matt Rhead a second yellow card for what seemed a routine foul.
“I have to be careful what I say, but some of the decisions the referee made were surprising, though, for me, they do have the hardest job in football.
“It was a competitive game and I though Matt Rhead was being manhandled throughout. Yet, being a big boy, some referees think it’s not a foul when players plough into the back of him.
“Once he had sent their lad off I thought he definitely wanted to even things up.
“I thought theirs was a straight red. Lee Minshull is a good player, very competitive and only he knows if it was intentional. But the rules say if you lead with your arm then that’s going to happen.
“Riley will have a headache in the morning. I told him I had played on with worse than that and I think he took that as a challenge,” smiled Cox.