STAGS STUCK IN THEIR RUT
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/
FLYING FIST: Mansfield keeper Alan Marriott punches away. Inset: Lee Beevers clears the ball