COX, STEVENSON, MARRIOTT AND DAVE BAYLISS REACTION
Cox: The mark of a good team
mansfieldtown.net 6th April 2013
As we approach undoubtedly the most important fortnight in the Blue Square Bet Premier campaign, boss Paul Cox believes today's vital win over Barrow is the mark of a good team.
Our side, who lost at Wrexham two days ago, returned to winning ways in fabulous style at Holker Street, with both Matt Green and Lee Stevenson bagging two goals apiece.
"It's a really tough place to come at the best of times, but I thought the hunger we showed in the second half was immense," said our boss.
"In the first [half] we looked laboured and it took us time to get into our rhythm.
"The lads got a [telling off] in the dressing room at half-time, but they shoved my words back down my throat with their performance after the break.
"In the second half, nobody could have questioned the result. A massive credit has to go to the players and the supporters, who again turned out in their droves.
"The mark of a good team is when you suffer a defeat and how you react. It was a strange scenario after losing at Wrexham, but these lads have mental strength."
He added: "The boys have been absolutely tremendous. We've come to a difficult place and got a good result against a hard, battling side."
Despite emerging as comfortable winners, both teams were evenly matched for over half-an-hour on a bright and warm afternoon in South Cumbria.
But after Richie Baker saw his spot-kick saved by Alan Marriott, Green struck twice in quick succession, one of which was a penalty, to dash the Bluebirds' survival hopes.
However, Dave Bayliss' men felt aggrieved that our team were awarded a spot-kick, as Danny O'Donnell's foul on Louis Briscoe was on the very edge of the area.
"It's the referee that makes the decisions," continued Cox.
"It was a foul, whether it was inside the box or not, but luck evens itself out over the season and I don't think it had a massive bearing on the game.
"In the second half, on what was a hard and bobbly pitch, we played extremely well, so I'll leave the decision-making to the referee."
Kidderminster Harriers' win over Lincoln City means the Worcestershire outfit stay top of the table, but Cox is hoping we can pressure on Steve Burr's men next week.
Cox added: "I said to the lads at half-time that we don't have time to be fatigued.
"We've got two weeks of the season left and some important games coming up. In some, we'll need to put on a real 'Mansfield Town' performance to win the match.
"Kiddy [Harriers] are still in the driving seat as they're still top. We've achieved nothing yet, but hopefully we can win our midweek game and start to turn the screw."
audio interviews with Cox, Stevenson and Marriott
Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox proud of his players after 4-0 win at Barrow keeps up title chase
Paul Cox said he was proud of his players as they bounced back from Thursday's defeat at Wrexham to win 4-0 at Barrow this afternoon and take another big step towards the BSBP title.
Kidderminster kept the suspense going with a 3-0 win over Lincoln, but Stags can go top by winning one of their two games in hand on Tuesday at home to Macclesfield.
"That is the mark of a good team after suffering a defeat we probably didn't deserve on Thursday and I am proud of my players," said the delighted manager.
"We have come to a place where very few teams get anything and everyone probably expected Barrow to cause an upset.
"But the boys were absolutely tremendous, especially second half. These boys have been on the road since Thursday and not seen their families, but they looked hungry and ground out a result.
"We've not just won the game, but we've scored four goals as well which is immense. The lads showed they have mental strength and we looked fit, strong and powerful.
"I did think we were going through the motions a bit until their penalty. They had a mouthful at half-time and shoved it back down my throat in the second half.
"But there is nothing achieved yet. Kidderminster have won again, but their games are running out and we are going to have to win our games in hand which takes another kind of mental strength."
Alan Marriott, who was seen to be at fault for one of Wrexham's goals on Thursday, made a great double save from a Barrow penalty with the score at 0-0 two minutes before Stags took the lead.
Said Cox: "Alan had the finger pointed at him on Thursday, but the man is an excellent keeper and, not only did he make an excellent save from the penalty, the save he made for the follow-up was out of this world."
Barrow were unhappy with Mansfield being awarded a penalty when they felt the offence was out of the box, but Cox added: "I am not sure if it was in or out the box, but I think we had some bad luck on Thursday and it does even out over a season."
Barrow manager Dave Bayliss bemoans penalty incidents
Barrow boss Dave Bayliss says he feels the penalty incidents in Saturday's 4-0 defeat by Mansfield sums up the season.
With the match scoreless, Richie Baker missed a spot-kick for the home side before Matt Green later won and scored a penalty for the visitors.
"To be honest, when the referee blew I thought their lad was getting booked for diving," Bayliss told BBC Cumbria.
"We miss one to go ahead then he dives, scores the penalty and it's a huge task at 2-0 - it just sums up the season."
The result kept Mansfield a point behind Blue Square Bet Premier leaders Kidderminster with two games in hand.
Conversely, Barrow are mired in a relegation scrap, 22nd in the table and three points behind fifth-from-bottom Stockport with only three games remaining.
"People say that when you're at the bottom you don't get the decisions and it's true, that one is really hard to take," he continued.
"Our lads took it personally and then lost their discipline for a short while after that too.
"It was a bad decision but the other goals were avoidable as we've just given the ball away cheaply. So in some ways, we've no one to blame but ourselves when you do that and you miss a penalty.
"Still, I don't know what I did in a former life as both penalties aside, we've now hit the woodwork seven times in seven games - it's ridiculous."
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