Manager Paul Cox believes the dismissal of midfielder Jamie McGuire was the turning point in today’s match with Oxford United at One Call Stadium.
McGuire was shown a straight red card by referee Charles Breakspear, following a strong tackle on Danny Rose in the 22nd minute.
“I think that the game changed with the dismissal,” said Cox.
“Both boys went in and it was a full-blooded tackle, and the referee has said that it was a two-footed tackle, so I’ll have to look on the DVD.”
Cox continued: “It’s hard against many teams, but when you’re playing against a team with a great away record that has been locked in the top three all season, [the red card] gave us a mountain to climb.
“But it even with 10 men, we kept our shape and the disappointing aspect is that we had probably the three best chances in the second half.
“At 2-1 down, I thought we still had a chance of getting back into the game, but the third goal killed us and left us chasing the game.
“It was only really in the last 15 minutes when we tired, that Oxford kept the ball a bit better.”
Our boss also admitted that he was disappointed with our defending in three goals which the visitors scored.
“I thought all three of their goals were really sloppy on our part,” said Cox.
“I’ve said to the boys that if we keep giving away soft goals, then it’s going to be a long season. We can’t keep defending [the way we did today] and hope to win matches.”
On Sean Rigg’s 12th minute opener, which put Oxford ahead, he added: “[Oxford] shouldn’t have been able to get the ball to where it got.
“[The move for] their goal was started near the corner flag, following our throw-in and these are little things, which, if we don’t get to grips with, we’ll be punished for.”
The full post-match interview with Paul Cox will be available on Stags Player later tonight. To subscribe, click here.