Boss believes sending off on the half-hour killed our chances of achieving a positive result.Manager Paul Cox was left feeling frustrated about Jamie McGuire’s red card as our 10 men went down 2-0 to high-flying Shrewsbury Town at the Greenhous Meadow.
The Stags, who slip down to 19th position in Sky Bet League Two as a result, were holding the hosts reasonably well until the half-hour mark when the incident occurred.
McGuire, who had already been cautioned after an incident involving ex-Stag Liam Lawrence, went in to win a tackle with James Collins, but was then sent-off for what the referee deemed to be a second bookable offence.
Shrewsbury then dominated proceedings with an extra man advantage and went on to win courtesy of second half strikes by Bobby Grant and Collins.
“I think the sending off killed the game as a spectacle for us,” said our boss.
“They had a lot of possession [early on] but I didn’t think there was any danger. They were not hurting us and the game was just starting to ebb and flow a little bit.
“It was a hard enough game to come into and to lose a man when we did and play the remainder of the game with 10 men, we were always chasing them.”
He continued: “We were playing against a side today who are good in possession and I think they’ll be in the top three come the end of the season, but the sending off killed us a little bit. It killed our shape – we had to re-organise personnel and it made it a tougher game.
“I can’t fault our work ethic today and the players are working hard, but as I’ve said a number of times now, we’ve got to work a little bit smarter.”
Reflecting on our team’s second half performance, Cox added: “We kept our shape well and were playing against a very good side. They made the extra man count. It was a tough game with 11 men and it becomes even tougher with 10, given the quality that they’ve got.
“The first goal was also a killer, because up until then I thought they had a lot of possession – went from right to left, but never really went through us. It was only after the first one went in that they really started to pop the ball about and play through the lines.”