Stags’ boss Steve Evans was left frustrated after his side were denied an 89th-minute penalty in this afternoon’s 1-0 defeat to Doncaster Rovers.
Rovers’ midfielder Tommy Rowe headed home substitute James Coppinger’s corner to seal Rovers' promotion to League One, but Stags will feel like they should have left the Keepmoat Stadium with at least a point after striker Danny Rose and midfielder Alfie Potter both had efforts cleared off the line.
However, the most contentious decision of the afternoon came in the 89th minute when Potter was pushed to the floor by Doncaster defender Mathieu Baudry, but referee Dean Whitestone waved play on, much to the frustration of the Stags’ manager.
“Well if last week’s is a penalty, this week’s is assault. There’s no intention [to get the ball]. Alfie’s gone by him, he’s got wonderful low trajectory, he’s twisting inside the guy and I’ve just watched it back on the video – let the Stags’ fans judge it,” the gaffer said.
“I think they thought last week we could understand maybe why the ref gave it (the penalty for Exeter City) [but] there was double hand full contact today.
“Alfie’s got just pushed over in the box and, interestingly, about a minute later he (the referee) gives one to them for a push in the middle of the park and I said to the fourth [official] ‘what’s the difference?’ and his reply was ‘none’.”
Despite being understandably disappointed with today’s defeat, the Stags’ chief offered his congratulations to opposite number Darren Ferguson and everyone associated with Doncaster Rovers for sealing promotion to League One.
“They deserve to be promoted, Doncaster Rovers, and my personal best wishes go to Darren, his staff and of course his players.
“I’ve had them (the celebrations) a number of times and they’re very, very special when they come and so is the manager who’s just had that today. They’re a wonderful side, we take nothing away from them, we’ll let them enjoy their promotion and we’ll just continue to be frustrated by decisions.
“I don’t want to take anything away from what Doncaster Rovers have achieved today. If that’s the benchmark, then this football club will be in and around it next year.”
After sides in and around the Sky Bet League Two play-off places also dropped points this afternoon, Stags remain four points away from the top seven and the boss says the hard work will continue ahead of next week’s trip to Wycombe Wanderers.
“I think I said to the chairman (John Radford) in the meeting yesterday that if I come away from Doncaster with the same points differential, I’d be quite happy.
“It’s not where we finish; it’s seventh or it doesn’t matter. We’ll go to Wycombe and the good thing is if we go to Wycombe and get a positive result and you tell me it’s still four points, I’ll be a little bit happier going home.
“I’m still not happy with the decision in added time – we could’ve come here and drawn today and reduced the deficit which would have been a major boost for us.
“We’ll just continue to work hard on the training ground on Monday. You’re never out of it until you’re out of it. At Rotherham a few years ago we needed to win the last five to get promoted and we won the last five. The aim now is to win next week and we’ve got another difficult one down at Wycombe but we’ll go there and we’ll certainly work hard but nothing changes.”
Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager’s post-match interview in full.