Cox: Scoreline flattered Stags

Paul Cox: Backs Cobblers to shine

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Paul Cox admits the score flattered Mansfield after a 3-0 win over Northampton and feels the Cobblers can be a force this season.

The Stags manager celebrated 100 league games at the helm with another victory and a seventh game unbeaten after seeing off struggling Town with strikes from Ben Hutchinson, Sam Clucas and a Mathias Kouo-Doumbe own goal.

However, he said: "That was a great result, though it was never a 3-0. But you have got to be greedy in football and take everything that comes your way.

"With the ball we were a bit off the mark today and I don't think the game was a great spectacle. But we knew what we were up against.

"I don't think Northampton are a bad side and I can still see them being well up there later in the season. They are very hard to play against and probably a tweak away from being a top side. They just need something to click for them like we had last season.

"We won 3-0 but I was more pleased with our defending. We came under a bit of a bombardment today and we stood up to it.

"The way we train is the way we play and the boys are taking that onto the field. They never know when to give in.

"That was a great free-kick by Hutch. He does that in training all the time but he took the training ground onto the first-team pitch today.

"It's nice to be fifth but it's early days yet and there is a long way to go."

Had Clive Platt put away a free header on two minutes, the game could have followed a very different path.

But it was the home side who brought the game to life with two goals in as many minutes.

Hutchinson curled a perfect 25-yard free-kick over the wall and under the angle to open the scoring on 31 minutes and Clucas' fourth goal in as many games soon after, a low finish from Ryan Tafazzoli's pass, had the Cobblers reeling.

Home keeper Alan Marriott then made some crucial stops, keeping out two fine free-kicks from Darren Carter and beating away an Ian Morris shot.

And it was 3-0 on 65 minutes when Cobblers debutant Kouo-Doumbe volleyed a spectacular own goal as he sliced a Marriott clearance up and over his own keeper from 20 yards.

Still Northampton kept going and Marriott denied Jacob Blyth with his legs before seeing James Jennings head off the line.

Northampton's luck remained out as Blyth also hit the post with the last kick of the game.