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League Two

Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox praises team effort

25 January 2014

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox was full of praise for his players and supporters as the gusty Stags came from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Wycombe Wanderers.

In horrendous wind and rain, substitute Ollie Palmer was the hero as he bagged an 86th minute equaliser to complete a deserved comeback for a Mansfield side that has now not won any of their last 11 home games.

On another day the Stags might have won this with something to spare but Wycombe scored two excellent goals to take control and their goalkeeper Matt Ingram was in fine form with a string of top drawer saves.

"That was reminiscent of last season when teams came down here and got men behind the ball," said Cox, relieved that for once he and his side were not booed from the pitch at home.

"We were so on top and playing on the front foot from start to finish. That was probably the most one-sided game I've never won.

"I thought it was a miskick and it killed us as the momentum we were creating was incredible.

"But the boys have done something, they've got over a hurdle. From 2-0 down, instead of shrinking, we have grown in stature.

"That's only one defeat in six now and we are building a bit of momentum. We now need to carry this on when we play Bury on Tuesday and use it as a building block.

"The players' mindset is back in that dressing room and I must say a massive thank you to the the supporters. The majority really got behind the boys and really gave them a boost and deserve a massive pat on the back."

Wycombe must have thought they had only their second win in 14 League Two games in the bag early in the second half.

Ingram had already denied Matt Rhead when Wycombe scored from their first shot at goal, Stuart Lewis leaving Alan Marriott rooted with his unstoppable 25-yard shot.

Ingram then superbly kept out efforts from Rhead and Ross Dyer before the visitors went 2-0 up in the 48th minute when Scowen sent a rasping right-foot volley high past Marriott from 12 yards from Nick Arnold's pulled-back cross from the right by-line.

But the Stags' response was quick as Anthony Howell's shot was blocked but broke nicely for Lee Stevenson to tuck a low, close-range finish under the keeper.

After Matt McClure lifted a finish over the bar from close range it was mostly Mansfield piling on the pressure.

That finally paid off in the 86th minute as Ingram superbly turned Chris Clements' 20-yard effort onto the bar only to see Palmer on hand to tuck the loose ball home with the keeper helpless.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth said: "I thought we could have got more out of the game.

"We had a couple of the better chances if I'm honest and we could have won it right at the end. They just seemed to lump the ball into our box and get bits off it.

"I do feel a little bit down. But I am proud of my boys as they ran themselves into the ground.

"The conditions were horrendous with the wind in our faces and they brought a lot of big lads on.

"Their equaliser came off the bar and we didn't react as quickly as Ollie Palmer. We have to react quicker than that. It's that second phase that kills us. If it was down to a bit of tiredness that I will address that.

"I was pleased with the performances of the new signings which was a real positive. They looked like they wanted to play for Wycombe Wanderers which I can work with.

"We scored two superb goals, Stuart Lewis has been working hard on his finishing and deserved that and Josh Scowen ghosted in well to score a superb volley.

"When you go 2-0 up and score twice away from home you expect to win a game. But they really came at us in that second half and rammed everything down our throats and then we conceded at the death.

"I was disappointed with their first goal as we didn't clear our lines and someone has put their hand up and taken the blame.

"If we had held onto our 2-0 lead a bit longer then I think panic would have set in. So to pull one back quickly was a big boost for Mansfield and 2-1 is always a dodgy score away from home."

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