Stags hit top form to shock boss Cox
THE LEAGUE Two form guide was turned upside down as Mansfield Town saw off Southend – much to the delight, and even surprise, of Stags boss Paul Cox.
The Stags went in to the game without a win at home since September while the Shrimpers had yet to suffer a league defeat in 2014.
But goals from Sam Clucas and James Jennings meant that Mansfield came out on top against a Southend side who had substitute Conor Clifford sent off nine minutes from time.
And Mansfield boss Cox was thrilled to have ended a run of 11 games without a win at their own ground.
“I would be lying if I said it hadn’t been playing on our minds so it was great to get a good result, especially against a very strong side,” said Cox.
“For two-and-a-half years we had made this place a fortress and had some magnificent games in front of our own fans but it just hasn’t happened this season for some reason.
“It’s important we turn it around and we deserved it because we played some good stuff in the appalling conditions and passed and defended well when it was needed.”
Mansfield went in front in the 36th minute when a fantastic first touch from Clucas put him through on goal before he fired home a low, left footed shot from 12 yards.
The Stags then doubled their lead with 65 minutes on the clock when Southend goalkeeper Daniel Bentley fumbled a header from Matt Rhead and Jennings was on hand to fire the ball home from close range.
Southend then suffered a blow in the 81st minute when Clifford was sent off against Mansfield for the second time this season after making a two-footed challenge on Rhead.
The Shrimpers were still able to net a late consolation with Ryan Leonard firing home from long range.
But that did little to improve the mood of their manager Phil Brown, who aimed his tirade at referee Simon Hooper.
“We didn’t win the game because we weren’t good enough but I’m baffled by some of the referee’s decisions, especially for the red card,” fumed Southend boss Brown.
“The fourth official is standing about a yard away from the incident and is telling everyone he didn’t think it was a red card so why can’t he say that to the ref as well?
“We also had two blatant penalties turned down and I wish the ref could come out and explain those decisions to us.
“But we haven’t lost the game because of him, we’ve lost because we played poorly.”
STAR MAN SAM CLUCA