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Dominant Stags deserved more from cup tie - gaffer

6 December 2017

Stags' boss Steve Evans believes the best side bowed out of the Checkatrade Trophy following this evening's 5-4 penalty shootout defeat to Blackpool.

The Tangerines progressed to round three after scoring five of their six spot kicks, whilst Stags' winger Alfie Potter and midfielder Jack Thomas both had their efforts saved.

The match went straight to penalties after a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes, midfielder Calum Butcher equalising two minutes from time for the Stags after Blackpool right-back Kelvin Mellor had headed the hosts into a first half lead.

And after seeing his side dominate their League One opponents for much of the match, the gaffer admitted he was disappointed not to create more opportunities in the final third.

"We've had to score late but I think we were dominant. In the first half hour, we were totally dominant," the former Leeds United manager said.

"After the goal, we had a little spell for 10 minutes where we lost our composure. In the second half, we were the only team trying to make chances and trying to score a goal.

"We don't look at Alfie and we don't look at Jack for the penalties for the simple reason that we had enough entries into the final third and we don't do enough with those final entries to create opportunities and that's what's disappointing because we certainly had enough of the ball.

"If anyone is sat here as a neutral, the best team by a country distance has lost the cup tie."

Steve Evans, manager

"We don't lose the cup tie on the penalty shootout; we lost the cup tie because we never did enough in the box in the final third in both the first 30 minutes or the last 30 minutes. If anyone is sat here as a neutral, the best team by a country distance has lost the cup tie."

Defender Krystian Pearce had a second half header hacked away from the goal-line which would've drawn Stags level in the 51st minute, and although Stags appealed for a goal to be given, the officials ruled that the entire ball hadn't crossed the line and the manager admitted he would need to watch it again for complete clarification.

"We didn't know from where we were. Our analyst thought it was a goal – I don't know if his eyesight's gone 'wonky-wonks' but I think the other TV company here says it's not quite in so I'm going to go and have a look at it.

"At the end of the day, it'll make no difference; we're out. I thought the referee had a good game tonight, no complaints. The best team on the night lost, on penalties, but we have to take it.

"I just said to the boys, we get back on the coach, we've got bigger things to look after. We'll go back in the early hours and prepare for Saturday."

Defender David Mirfin limped off in the 82nd minute following a clash with Blackpool striker Armand Gnanduillet but the gaffer believes the knock to his knee will only keep him out for Saturday's trip to Crawley, at most.

"That was the knee that David was out with for a couple of weeks and he just felt he'd got a bang on it again, so he iced it up. If he's out for Saturday, it'll be Saturday, there's no major concern."

Supporters will be able to view the manager's post-match interview on iFollow Stags on Thursday.


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