Stags’ boss Steve Evans believes crucial decisions didn’t go in his side’s favour as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Coventry City at One Call Stadium this afternoon.
Frontman Kane Hemmings put the Stags ahead in the first half after Coventry’s Jordan Willis received his marching orders for a foul on Danny Rose, before midfielder Alex MacDonald conceded a second half penalty for allegedly bringing down Jonson Clarke-Harris, who duly stepped up and thumped the spot kick home.
After the equaliser, Stags had two strong appeals turned down for penalties of their own, with a free-kick being awarded for handball right on the edge of the Sky Blues’ box, before substitute Ricky Miller was booked for simulation.
And after saying he can’t fault his players’ effort at One Call Stadium, the boss believes his side came out on the wrong end of a number of major decisions.
“We’ve had enough entries into the box and good possession, good chances, half-chances, full chances but why don’t we win the game? Because the referee gives a penalty, which he’s entitled to do and I’m speaking with the benefit of watching it back, it’s not a penalty,” the gaffer said.
“And if he gives that, he must give the one on Ricky Miller. We’ve just looked at it and there is a push. The handball is in the box by half-a-yard. I’m not going to fault my players today.
“I think we had enough good possession and we had enough quality play. We didn’t take our chances and that can happen. Nothing really fell for us in that little bit where there are ricochets in the box.”
However, regardless of the penalty decisions, the boss believes his side created enough goalscoring opportunities to win the game but couldn’t find the killer instinct required.
“I think we had enough good possession and we had enough quality play. We didn’t take our chances and that can happen."
“It should have been over in 60 minutes, we should have been three or four up. I’ve just said to Kane and Danny Rose – we can’t have the entries into the box we’ve had week after week now and come in here with one goal to show for it.
“They’re both disappointed. It’s very hard for Ricky to come on. His touch lets him down a couple of times but he earns us a penalty that’s not given. If we get the penalty there in added time then we probably see the game through and we get the points.
“Credit to my players, we’ll bounce again. The quality of the football was stunning again, but I just said to the two strikers: you take the plaudits at the football club when you score the goals, our two strikers didn’t perform today.”
Over 1,500 Coventry City fans made up a crowd 6,105 at One Call Stadium and the boss lauded the atmosphere created by the two sets of supporters.
“Credit to the Coventry players; I’m not faulting their players. Their players have run to the end for their team, they’ve put their bodies on the line and the supporters were tremendous.
“The atmosphere was like a play-off game. The home support was brilliant and we just didn’t get it over the line today.”
Supporters can login to iFollow Stags to view the manager’s full post-match interview.