Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray hailed his side’s ‘ridiculous spirit’ to secure a late point at promotion-chasing Oxford United this evening.
Striker Matt Green marked his return from suspension with a goal to put the Stags ahead in the first half before a Danny Hylton brace sent the Stags heading for defeat for the first time in four games.
However, substitute Jack Thomas popped up with a late header to ensure the Stags made the trip back to One Call Stadium with a point.
With Stags yet again showing their never-say-die attitude to grab the late point, Murray says it shows the belief among his players in the dressing room.
“The boys showed the ridiculous spirit we’ve got in the camp to come back and nick a point.
“These are the best team in the league for me, and to be disappointed that we haven’t come away with more than a point, it speaks volumes.”
The gaffer says both sides had chances to win the match and he believes that a draw was a fair result, on the balance of play.
“We did have chances to get more out of the game but they had chances too in the second half so it levelled itself out so I think.
“We’re very good defensively and to concede goals like that, it hurts a little bit. Both teams had chances; they hit the post, we’ve had a couple of scrambles and a point is a good result here.
“At times, it was a case of we had to be more ugly than we like to be. But we knew they had certain weaknesses and if we could exploit them then we would get chances and we did.
“They’re very good at what they do. They play a great style, they’ve got some great players and a very good manager so we knew it was going to be our toughest challenge.”
Murray continued: “But I thought [in the] first half, we deserved a little bit more than what we got, but our gameplan and some of our performances were superb.”
With striker Matt Green scoring his tenth goal of the season at the Kassam Stadium, Murray says the striker will be looking forward to scoring his next goal and also lauded the impact of his substitutes.
“It’s great for him (Green) to come back here and score and I thought his performance again was top drawer.
“I thought Chris (Beardsley), when he came on, changed the game. Dan (Alfei); great debut, [he was] superb when he came on and Jack Thomas, again, made the impact.
“I think our subs, through the season, have come on and played a massive part in our performances so I’m chuffed to bits with that.”
Tonight’s point saw the Stags draw level with their entire points total for the Sky Bet League Two 2014/15 season but the boss admits it isn’t something that interests him.
“Equalling the points tally doesn’t really mean anything to me because the team last year wasn’t my team, so I can’t really compare it to that.
“In my head, this is my first season as a manager. Last season, I was just trying to save a ship. This season, this is my team and to be where we are, in the group’s first season, never mind my first season, we’re chuffed to bits with where we are.”
You can watch Murray's post-match interview on Stags Player.