Boss pleased with players’ performance in 2-1 win over Oxford United.Manager Paul Cox was delighted with how our players ‘dug in’ to grind out their first victory of the new Sky Bet League Two season against Oxford United.
The Stags opened the scoring courtesy of an instinctive close-range header by Ryan Tafazolli just before half-time, but the visitors looked to have earned a share of the spoils when Danny Hylton equalised from the penalty spot on 78 minutes.
However, our players had the last laugh as midfielder/assistant-manager Adam Murray came off the bench to smash home a winner just two minutes from time.
“I thought we dictated the game for long periods,” said our boss. “Coming in 1-0 up at half-time was what we deserved. To then get to a certain period of the game and get a big decision [Oxford being awarded a penalty] going against you – you start to think that [the result] is going to go against you.
“But the boys showed tremendous character and what’s pleasing is that we only had 18 fit players and on the bench four of those weren’t 100% fit, so the boys showed tremendous character to beat a very good side.”
Cox continued: “Psychologically, every manager of every team wants to get that first win under their belt – especially at home in front of our own supporters.
“It’s good that in our first home game we’ve got a win. We’ve [kicked] on from our performance against Sheffield United on Wednesday where I thought we were excellent and probably deserved to finish on level terms.
“So credit to the boys. They dug in today and I think they’ll want to donate the three points to Liam Hearn.”
Regarding the injury to Liam Hearn, who will be sidelined due to a cartilage tear until close to Christmas, our boss said: “Liam is down. It was a ‘nothing challenge’, there was nothing malicious in it or anything,.
“It’s not the old injury, but the boys feel for him. The boys have really taken to him [since he joined the club] and he’d have loved to play out there today.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday night’s home game with Newport County, our boss added: “We’ll get ‘Rheady’ (Matt Rhead) back from suspension, ‘Jonah’ (Luke Jones) will be another two or three days into his rehab, so we’re slowly getting bodies back.”
Paul Cox’ full post-match interview will be available to watch on Stags Player later tonight. To subscribe, click here.