STAGS STUCK IN THEIR RUT

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Stephen Thirkill

MANS­FIELD Town boss Paul Cox says his play­ers must use this goal­less draw with Ex­eter City as a spring­board for the rest of the sea­son af­ter his mid­week tirade against his squad saw him threaten to show a num­ber of play­ers the door.

The Stags picked up their first point since re­turn­ing to the Football League fol­low­ing rel­ga­tion in April 2008 in an en­ter­tain­ing en­counter.

And it could have been even bet­ter for the home side, who saw new sign­ing Calvin An­drew come close to break­ing the dead­lock in the sixth minute when Ar­tur Krysiak saved his weak ef­fort.

An­drew then saw his bul­let header cleared off the line by Craig Woodman on 24 min­utes as Mans­field con­tin­ued to threaten.

Liam Ser­combe brought the best out of Alan Mar­riott in the 35th minute with a sweetly hit free­kick for Ex­eter.

Mans­field en­joyed good sec­ond half chances through Sam Clu­cas and John Demp­ster in the 51st and 58th min­utes re­spec­tively.

Jamie Reid had the last chance of the match for Ex­eter in in­jury­time, but his weak free-kick was eas­ily saved by Alan Mar­riott en­sur­ing a share of the spoils

Af­ter the game Mans­field boss Paul Cox said: “Their goal­keeper made two ex­cel­lent saves and we had one cleared off the line.

“On an­other day this could have been a win. We de­fended well and we now need to use this to build upon.

“We need to be­lieve in our­selves more and if we do that we will not be a bad side.

“The boys have worked very hard and it was a good per­for­mance. It is a point and a clean sheet and there are plenty of pos­i­tives out of the game.

"It is the first time Ol­lie Palmer and Calvin An­drew have played to­gether and I thought they were a hand­ful. Once the ball falls to Ol­lie I have no doubt he will score.”

Ex­eter boss Paul Tis­dale called on his side to dis­play more con­vic­tion and be­lief in the fi­nal third.

“We did ok, but at times there was not enough co­he­sion in our play," he said.

“Mans­field changed their for­ma­tion for us and I changed ours as a re­sult. Our goal­keeper has made two very good saves as did Alan Mar­riott.

“It was a game of high en­ergy, but we needed to link play up bet­ter and show more be­lief. We have got a bit of a lack of depth in se­nior play­ers in our squad at the mo­ment.

“We were one di­men­sional at times and there was not enough flow in our play. We needed to show a bit more cre­ativ­ity in the fi­nal third.

“Their keeper has made some good saves, but I would have liked to see us make bet­ter de­ci­sions when it mat­tered. It was a day where it didn't quite work out for us.”

Both sets of fans joined in a spe­cial round of ap­plause in the ninth minute in mem­ory of for­mer Ex­eter striker Adam Stans­field to mark the third an­niver­sary of his death. To comment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

FLY­ING FIST: Mans­field keeper Alan Mar­riott punches away. Inset: Lee Beev­ers clears the ball

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