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League Two

A long way to go - Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox

22 February 2014

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox stressed there was still a long way to go as his relegation-haunted side picked up three vital points with a 1-0 home win over promotion-chasing Fleetwood Town.

It was a superb start to a potential make-or-break spell with four of the next five home games for the Stags as Matt Rhead's 31st-minute header won the day.

He met a Chris Clements corner with a firm header that keeper Chris Maxwell parried with his right hand but couldn't prevent it crossing the line.

Cox said: "We still need to be a bit more ruthless. But I can't have a go at them. I thought our work-rate was impressive and the way we coped with the conditions on a windy, blustery day was excellent.

"We are not shouting from the rooftops as it is only one win and consistency is the key. A nine-point gap from the bottom is nothing as there are a massive amount of points to play for.

"They are all big games now and it doesn't matter who we play as long as we stick to our principles. When we apply ourselves we are a force for anyone in this league.

"This result means nothing if we don't beat Bury on Tuesday. We must maintain our concentration levels and understand we can't be excellent one game and mediocre the next.

"Everyone looks at the table. It's human nature, But it's all about what we do now.

"I have a good set of boys who are learning what this league is all about."

Fleetwood had secured a late 5-4 win in a thriller at home to Mansfield back in November and arrived with five wins and two draws in their last eight Sky Bet League 2 matches.

But Mansfield dominated the first half and were good value for their lead.

It took the visitors until the 59th minute to seriously trouble home goalkeeper Alan Marriott when he had to tip over a dipping shot from Antonio Sarcevic.

That sparked a powerful last half-hour from the visitors who pushed Mansfield deeper into their own box.

But the Stags held firm and were grateful to see Jon Parkin turn Gareth Evans' low pass from a free-kick onto the near post from close range with just six minutes left.

Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander said: "We need to be more streetwise in games like this. We have played against all the top teams and not let ourselves down.

"But we have lost against a couple of teams at the bottom end in scruffy matches. Matches like this are important as it is very fine lines that decide our success.

"We were okay for the first 20 minutes, but we gave away a sloppy goal and it cost us.

"We were better in the second half when Matty Hughes came on. He had the right attitude and was the best player on the pitch. We just needed to take some of the chances that we created.

"It is disappointing that we have not built upon the momentum we created by beating Chesterfield in midweek.

"We plugged away in the second half and created some chances, we just couldn't take them."

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