Stags’ boss Steve Evans says missing a number of good opportunities in the first half led to his side’s eventual 3-0 defeat away to Grimsby Town this afternoon.
A first half goal from former Stags’ midfielder Chris Clements, followed by a second half brace from Calum Dyson, meant Stags tasted defeat in Sky Bet League Two for the first time in 2017.
However, the gaffer says his side should have been ahead before the deadlock was broken and bemoaned their ruthlessness in front of goal.
“Grimsby get a goal and we go in 1-0 down at half-time but we should be 2-1 in front,” the Stags’ chief said.
“Greeny (Matt Green) misses two big chances, that’s where it lands. Then the best chance is early in the second half, Shaq (Coulthirst) should certainly do better and so should Greeny on other occasions, so you’re going to get punished.
“I think we should be leading at half-time. You can’t miss the quality of those chances. I don’t think they get missed by many strikers in the league.”
The manager was sent to the stands by referee Seb Stockbridge in the second half and he explained the situation which led to his dismissal, as well as clearing up defender Hayden White’s red card following the award of the Mariners’ penalty.
“I asked the fourth official if he could ask the referee a question during the game and he said he wasn’t prepared to do that. I said: ‘well I’ll phone your boss on Monday and see if he’s prepared to do that’ and he didn’t answer it.
“There was no verbal, no foul [language] and he just said 'I’m not being threatened, you’re going up [in the stands]'. I have to do that but we’ll see what the people say and I think there’ll be a little bit of empathy for me with those people.
“They offered me the opportunity to sit with the Grimsby press, which I didn’t think was fair really. I asked to go in the far side, which I was refused to do, so I took the opportunity to take myself away from the situation and sat downstairs waiting for the players to come in.
“I obviously saw Hayden in the dressing room and he said that he said to the referee on the penalty that his view was that Mal Benning slipped and it was a shocking decision. For a referee then to give somebody a second yellow and send him off for that is hard to take.”
After a superb nine-match unbeaten league run came to an end at Blundell Park this afternoon, the boss has now challenged his squad to go on another run of similar calibre, beginning with next week’s home clash against Newport County.
“The difficulty is having to accept that we didn’t let ourselves down losing at Blundell Park at Grimsby, that’s always a tough place to go - we let ourselves down by drawing at home on Tuesday.
“The One Call Stadium should be a bit of a fortress but what do you do? You get back on the training ground and you work hard and smarter and you get prepared for the next one.
“Those that continually look back end up with nothing at the end of the season. I understand, looking at the results today, we’re very much still in the hunt.”
Supporters will be able to view Steve Evans’ post-match interview on Stags PlayerHD later this evening.