Graham Coughlan relieved Mansfield halted trend of conceding late goals
Mansfield boss Graham Coughlan believes the 0-0 home draw with battling Stevenage laid a ghost to rest despite going eight games this season without a win.
There were few clear chances in a poor game, but Marek Stech made two vital first-half saves to deny Inih Effiong, one making amends from his own error, while Harry Charsley volleyed against the post for Mansfield.
Elliott List poked an effort against the home bar after 74 minutes while goalkeeper Jamie Cumming denied Nicky Maynard with a save and was relieved to see George Maris’ stoppage-time strike come back off the bar.
Conceding late goals had proved costly in recent weeks, and Coughlan said: “We have laid a ghost to rest today as in the last couple of games we have leaked one or two goals and made one or two errors.
“Like it or not, that will be playing on players’ minds.
“One or two of them looked a tad nervy but they have come through that and got themselves a clean sheet.
“We have shown we can hang on and don’t necessarily concede late goals. It gives us a platform and something to build on.
“Stevenage deserve a pat on the back. They put bodies on the line and got eight/nine men behind the ball and challenged for everything.
“I thought we were the better team – the dominant team. At the end they were celebrating which gives you a mark of how we are thought of in this division.
“It was always going to be a tough, stodgy affair and they actually changed their shape to nullify us and kill the game.
“Late on you could see there was only one team wanted to win it. We’ve hit the post, hit the bar and had the better chances. We just needed one of those magic moments.”
Delighted Stevenage boss Alex Revell said: “That was definitely a point gained.
“After two tough losses in the league and one in the cup it’s so important next game to keep a clean sheet and that was our focus today.
“I was really pleased with the way we defended as a team.
“On the flip side you hope that when we break you can get a goal. That was all that was missing really.
“Mansfield are a good side with good players, so to come away from there with a point is a really strong performance.
“We do want to be better but we have to remember we have come a long way.
“We still have a long way to go but we have changed our way of playing and the whole culture of the club.
“So the togetherness we are showing in such a short space of time is really pleasing.”