Stags’ boss Adam Murray was quick to emphasise the positives after nine-man Mansfield Town lost 4-0 to Portsmouth this afternoon.
The Hampshire side sealed maximum points after young Stags' defenders Kyle Howkins and Alex Iacovitti received their marching orders in the second half.
West Brom loanee Howkins picked up two yellow cards in the space of four second half minutes before 19-year-old Iacovitti was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Pompey skipper Michael Doyle.
The home side were leading just 1-0 until Stags went down to nine men thanks to Gary Roberts' first half penalty following striker Matt Green’s challenge on Kyle Bennett and Murray explained that he was pleased with his side’s performance until the brace of red cards.
“We ‘blew ourselves up’ because we came here and we carried on from Saturday, we carried on from Tuesday and to come to a place like this and be the better team for 60 minutes, this is going to sound really weird, but I’m taking a lot of positives from it," the Stags' chief said.
“We didn’t want to come here and hang on for a point, and [in the] first half I think we showed that. We put them on the back foot, we made them defend, we had chances that we should have done better with – we could’ve gone in 2-0 up.
“I think if you actually know the game and you’re watching the game up until 50 minutes or whatever it was, we more than matched them.
“I felt we were controlling the game, we were causing them problems going forward. They’re obviously a good side so they’re always going to cause you a couple of issues, but we felt comfortable.
“We’re comfortable at ten men. We’ve done it before, it’s something we actually work on because it’s 'the nature of the beast'.”
Despite seeing Pompey score three late goals thanks to a brace from Carl Baker and a tap-in from Noel Hunt, the manager said he was proud of how his depleted side fought until the end.
“To go down to nine men, it’s a kick in the teeth and it’s one of them where I’ve said to 95 percent of the lads: ‘look, you’ve got to take that on the chin today because for the most part of that game you’ve done yourself proud and you’ve come to a place and played our way.’
“I’ve watched the first hour and I was chuffed to bits with it; the last 30 minutes, they’re even trying to press and close down but we’re leaving ourselves open. It shows their endeavour and the passion just to do well and to do the right things, so I’m taking the 60 minutes from that (game).”
With Howkins and Iacovitti set to be suspended for a number of upcoming games, Murray revealed post-match that he hopes to have defender Lee Collins and midfielder Kevan Hurst available to recall next week after they both missed today’s match with their respective injuries.
Supporters will be able to view Adam Murray’s post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD later.