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Missed chances frustrate Stags' boss

29 April 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans was left frustrated after seeing his side miss a number of good opportunities during this afternoon's 1-0 defeat Portsmouth.

The Stags created at least three clear-cut chances at One Call Stadium this afternoon, but saw them go begging as our hopes of a top seven finish began to slip away. 

Pompey got what turned out to be the winner in the 57th minute when Carl Baker’s deflected effort found the back of the net from inside the box. 

The main moment of controversy, however, arrived in the 48th minute when striker Danny Rose was hauled down by Matt Clarke on the edge of the Pompey box and, despite being the last defender, referee Lee Swabey decided to show a yellow card instead of a red. 

And speaking post-match, the gaffer said the Stags’ missed chances makes the defeat hard to take. 

“[The defeat] hinges on we miss good chances to win the game. It hinges on the fact that we dominated the second half against a good team," the Stags' manager said. 

"I think we all knew if we had a goalscorer when we walked in to the football club, we’d be automatic, not fighting for the play-offs or out the play-offs. 

“You always look at reactions and I look at the centre-half (Clarke) throw his arms on his head [after the foul on Rose]. 

“Myself and Cookie (Paul Cook, Portsmouth boss) are very passionate and very honest with each other - I love him to bits - and when he says at the end of the game ‘that’s the worst decision I’ve seen in my career’, I think I join him. 

“It’s hard to take but I’m proud of the players, I’m proud of the supporters – what a fantastic atmosphere they’ve created today. They’ve done their bit. I think my players have done their bit, [it was] a fantastic performance and we don’t take chances.”

Despite ultimately slipping to a defeat which makes the chances of a top seven finish now look more challenging, the former Leeds United boss commended his players for the way they limited ‘a great team’ to only a couple of chances. 

“They’ve had two chances today; one they score from, it gets a little deflection, and we’re unlucky on that front. 

“They have another chance late on when we go something like six up front. Other than that, they’ve not made a chance, they’re not in the game, they’ve been totally outplayed and I think their manager will be the first to say that.

“I think I invented the saying 'you’ve got to find a way to win a football match'. Portsmouth Football Club have found a way. They’re a great team [with] a great manager. I cannot pay them enough plaudits.”

With just one match of the Sky Bet League Two season remaining, the boss says Stags will continue to work in a professional manner in order to attain the highest league finish possible. 

“We’ll apply ourselves properly and we’ll travel early [to Crawley next week] and do it all right and we’ll be professional until the end of the day. I’d rather finish eighth than ninth. I’d rather finish ninth than tenth, that’s the way I am. 

“I said to the players: it’s no good losing to Portsmouth at home and being unlucky, it’s silly points we gave away at Yeovil and Cheltenham and stuff like that.”

Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the gaffer’s post match interview in full. 

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