Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray believes his side were well deserving of at least a point after their narrow 1-0 defeat to Northampton this afternoon.
Despite dominating the possession stats, the Stags couldn’t make it count in the final third with striker Matt Green coming closest with a header which flicked off the crossbar.
“A draw would have been a fair reflection on the game,” Murray said after the match.
“I think we created enough opportunities without being ruthless. We got into great areas and the minute we do that we end up defending within a few seconds which has to change; when we get these chances we have to take them and score.
“What shows you that we’re in the game is the amount of defensive changes they made to their team and structure because, for large parts, we were getting the better of the game.”
Pin-pointing where his side lost the game, Murray feels that a razor sharp edge in the final third of the pitch may have done the trick – saying that his side need to show more of a killer-instinct in front of goal.
He said: “Decision making let us down, I think we don’t know how to be ruthless in both boxes. We spoke about Northampton’s strengths all week and a big part of their game is crosses and Richards in the box, and after however minutes it was, a cross came in and Richards was in the box.
“We had large parts of the game but we didn’t know what to do with it. We had chances and opportunities and we didn’t take them. You can’t come away to a team that’s in the form Northampton are and not take your chances.
“It was frustrating, but it was our first real test this team has had after 17 games which is good. It’s a new challenge so we ‘get back on the horse’ as quickly as we can.”
Despite having more of the ball, Murray believes his side faced a solid outfit in Chris Wilder’s men this afternoon, with the Cobblers grit and ability to take their chances a reason why they are near the summit of the SkyBet League Two table.
“Sometimes the game doesn’t allow you to carry out your game-plan to the tee, but you have to try and get back on track and try to implement that,” Murray said.
“I think we did get our game going and caused them problems, but you have to give credit to Northampton because they’re a very, very good team. They showed why they are in the top three of the league as they had one chance and they scored.
“Between the two boxes we were brilliant, but in them is really where you make things count.”
With some difficult fixtures coming up for the Stags, Murray has thrown the gauntlet down to his players with many teams in the division creeping towards the play-off spots.
He continued: “I said to the boys if we take away the FA Cup game, in the next three games we have to put points on the board if we’re going to be serious about staying in the top seven this season.”