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Stags deserved victory against Exeter

1 April 2017

Stags’ boss Steve Evans believes his side's performance in the 2-1 defeat to Exeter City warranted a victory at One Call Stadium this afternoon.

Left-back Mal Benning gave Stags a first-half lead with his first goal of the season before two late Exeter goals, including a controversial injury-time penalty from Grecians’ substitute Reuben Reid, turned the game on its head and sent Exeter home with three points. 

However, the manager believes his side did enough to beat the Grecians after dominating large periods of the game.

“Our performances have been great. We should have won today; we should have won in the games at Yeovil and Cheltenham and those types of games," the Stags' chief said. 

“We should win today; there’s no disputing the performance and a lot of players were on empty, as they were, to be fair to them. We got beaten by a good team, but the circumstances are cruel and I think they’ve had the rub of the green today and that’s hard to take.

“We’ve lost a big game but we’ll win some more games. If we play like that, we’ll win a lot of games. I’ve got no fear in the next six games.”

The gaffer says his side will continue fighting in the remaining six games of the season, despite suffering a setback to their play-off aspirations this afternoon. 

“We’ll keep fighting. We got into the play-offs with Rotherham by having a great run and we need to try and re-produce that.

“The goalkeeper (Exeter's Christy Pym) has the best save I’ve seen live for a while in the 93rd minute when he saves it from Ben [Whiteman]. 

“It’s a fantastic save and sometimes you do that and you go and get something. We didn’t deserve what happened today. 

“It’s real gut-wrenching for the players but what have we got to do? We’ve just got to get our heads down, work hard, go to Doncaster next week and we’ve got six games to claw back four points.”

Exeter striker Reuben Reid won what turned out to be the match-winning penalty in the 96th minute, with replays showing minimal contact from penalised defender Rhys Bennett.

“If you’re being professional, you say he's [Reuben Reid] used his experience and played it past Rhys Bennett and gone over but the referee should see that. 

“It’s just gut-wrenching when he gives a penalty so late and you think at first eye it’s not a penalty and then you look at it back and you see the evidence that it’s not a penalty, that’s gut-wrenching. 

“The defeat’s not difficult; I think the manner of how we got beat is difficult. If that’s a scythe down in the box and it’s a clear penalty and the guy sticks it in, you think ‘right, no complaints’. 

“But when on first sight you think it’s not (a penalty), the fourth official’s agreeing it’s not, from eye-sight, but you have to get the DVD. 

“The analyst came in and showed us the DVD – well you’d be giving penalties every week if you give that.”

Supporters can login to Stags PlayerHD to view the manager's full post-match interview. 

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