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Manager backs underfire Cox

Posted onPosted on 4th Oct
Manager backs underfire Cox

Under-fire Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox, booed by sections of Stags fans at half-time and full-time in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Accrington Stanley, found an unlikely ally after the game.

Cox, lambasted by some supporters all season over his tactics, style of play and team selections, was again the subject of vitriol as Mansfield lost to a 10th minute penalty and had assistant manager captain Adam Murray controversially sent off eight minutes from time.

But in his post-match interview, Stanley boss John Coleman, unprompted, leapt to the defence of Cox.

Coleman, celebrating three wins from his third three matches in charge of Accrington for a second time, was shocked at the abuse directed at his opposite number at half-time.

He said: “Mansfield are a very, very good side, who at home put you under a lot of pressure and who had won four of their five home games. We were hanging on a bit at the end, so to come here and win is a great achievement for the players.

“On another day Mansfield wouldn’t have lost and I feel for their manager. He was taking abuse from a section of their fans as we walked off the pitch at half-time.

“He doesn’t deserve that. He has done a terrific job. I know myself sometimes football can be a cruel mistress.

“They did respond. They showed more urgency after half-time and made more of a game of it in the second half.

“For the first half hour we looked like a top of the table team. Give Mansfield their due, they reacted to that.

“We rode our luck at times towards the end and might not have won the game.”

Both managers agreed that Sascha Studer’s 10th minute foul warranted the matchwinning penalty. They also agreed that the decision to send off Murray when he was trying to retrieve the ball and caught Atkinson was “harsh”.

Cox admitted: “We were poor in the first half, we looked lethargic. It’s probably the first time this season a few harsh words have been said in the dressing room. The first half will not be tolerated.

“We’ve built our success on our desire and application and the way we go about things. So that wasn’t us first half.

“We improved in the second half and huffed and puffed. It felt like we were encamped in their half for the full 45 minutes without putting them under any pressure.

“Their penalty was a penalty but there were a few strange decisions in the second half when Adam Murray got sent off. It seemed a bit harsh and I was surprised.”