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League Two

Paul Cox lauds Mansfield Town's late show

26 March 2014

Paul Cox hailed his Mansfield Town players as they recorded a 4-2 win at Hartlepool United after a late onslaught.

The Stags were trailing 2-1 with 18 minutes to go before they turned the game on its head in an unlikely fashion with James Jennings - with his second of the night - Matt Rhead and Jamie McGuire all on target.

Victory, however unlikely it seemed for the majority of the game, puts Cox's side seven points ahead of the relegation zone with seven games to play.

"It's the most enjoyable result of the season in terms of Hartlepool's results in the last few weeks,'' admitted Cox.

"We travelled all the way up there and their record at home is frightening of late.

"But the boys' work ethic was fantastic. I gave them a hard time at half-time - a bit of reverse physiology.

"We tinkered second half to freshen it up a bit and it was one-way traffic.''

Jennings had given the Stags a 20th-minute lead, which was cancelled out by Marlon Harewood's close-range leveller eight minutes later.

Harewood had a first-half stoppage-time penalty saved by Alan Marriott, but Luke James put Pools ahead on 53 minutes with his 15th goal of the season.

The visitors drew level on 78 minutes to give them a lift and a platform for victory. Jennings took a free-kick deep on the right side, slipped as he connected, and the ball curled high over the head of goalkeeper Scott Flinders and into the net.

And two minutes later striker Rhead headed home a Lee Beevers cross before McGuire broke away for the fourth.

Cox continued: "Half-time was a bit of fun. We had done really well first 25 minutes but took our foot of the pedal and let them back into the game.

"The boys - their spirit and desire to win games at this stage of the season is excellent and they deserve credit.

"We changed formation to go 4-4-2 and all the subs changed the game. I won't take the credit for it, they worked so hard all night and performed really well.

"We performed well second half. They deserve all the credit and accolades, but it's only one win. Now we prepare and recover properly for the weekend.''

Being unable to see the game out was a source of frustration for Pools boss Colin Cooper.

He said: "It's a result and performance we aren't accustomed to. The goals and the nature of them from our point of view isn't great.

"We've not conceded a goal here in a while and it's hard to take. There's lessons to be learned.

"The goals and the lead up to them isn't great. We need to sit down, watch it again, and make sure we don't repeat the mistakes.

"I think they will be surprised when they sit down and see them again. It happens sometimes and it's my job to analyse it. You learn more when you lose.

"Free-flowing football and goals in the last few home games are very nice, but....

"I've been keen to watch the goals again straight after the game. It's not good viewing.

"As a team we look at them. As an individual we ask what we could have done to stop them.

"For the younger players in particular it's a harsh lesson tonight. We have to make sure it's a one-off.''

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