Paul Cox questioned the decision to award Oxford United a penalty, but hailed his injury-ravaged Mansfield Town side’s character for bouncing back to win.

The Stags were only able to fill their bench by naming several players who were struggling with niggles.

After leading at the break through Ryan Tafazolli’s header, they were pegged back when the centre back was adjudged to have fouled Danny Hylton in the box.

Hylton scored the resulting penalty, but Cox was thrilled to see substitute Adam Murray make it 2-1 late on.

It gave Mansfield a first league win of the season, and inflicted a second straight defeat on United.

He said: “I thought we dictated the game for long periods.

“Coming in 1-0 up at half-time was what we deserved.

“To then get to a certain period of the game and get a big decision going against you – you start to think that (the result) is going to go against you.

“But the boys showed tremendous character and what’s pleasing is that we only had 18 fit players and on the bench four of those weren’t 100 per cent fit, so the boys showed tremendous character to beat a very good side.”

Murray, who made 92 appearances for United before leaving in 2010, said: “I thought we dominated the first half, they’re a good team and we knew after watching them this week on DVDs, that we’d have to be at our best.”