Stags’ boss Nigel Clough lamented wasteful finishing as his side created a hatful of opportunities but were unable to find the net at Brunton Park, Carlisle, this afternoon.
Mansfield, especially dominant in the first half, were also denied a legitimate goal when Jamie Murphy’s 41st minute strike hit the underside of the bar and crept over the goal line, only for the match officials to wave play on.
Speaking to the local media post-match, the manager said: “We can set the team up to play in a certain way, but we can’t provide that final pass for them.
“We can’t provide the final finish, it’s very difficult to do that. We set up as how we’re going to play, dominate the game away from home which we did, certainly in the first half.
“Then you’re relying on your players to get you a goal.”
The Stags looked to have taken the lead in the 41st minute when attacker Jamie Murphy saw an effort go over the line, but it wasn’t seen by the officials.
“Well, it’s [the shot from Murphy] well over the line,” the boss said.
“I think everybody, certainly over on that far side [and] anyone anywhere near it [the incident], knows it’s well over the line.
“Unfortunately, there was nothing impeding the assistant at all in his line of vision.
“I think it has certainly affected the result today, having said that we wasted a host of chances and situations, so that’s down to us.
“The best one [opportunity] we did create was certainly a goal.”
The Stags’ chief says his side started brightly after the restart, despite conceding on the 57th minute.
“I thought we restarted for the second half really well,” he said.
“I thought [for] ten or fifteen minutes we were on top and pressing.
“Their goal actually comes from our corner; I’ve talked to young Matty Longstaff since he’s been here about if he’s going to take set-plays do not put the ball in the ‘keeper’s hands.
“Within fifteen seconds [of a Stags’ corner] it’s in the back of our net.
“It was good going down the left-hand side again, [there were] lots of [positive] situations.
“Stephen McLaughlin [was] especially [affective].
“Him [McLaughlin] and George Maris have been unwell and that’s why George didn’t start, and Macca can’t last [the full game.
“[He was] Absolutely spent after 70 minutes.”
“I think more than anything; Rhys Oates was a massive miss for us.
“I thought in the first-half with the pace [Oates has] he would’ve caused problems today, he’s a massive loss for us.”
When asked if Oates would be fit to face Crawley, the manager said: “We hope so, [we will] just see how he is and try and get him out there as soon as we can.
“George Lapslie is certainly available, he might have nicked us a goal today, getting in there from midfield.
“They’re [Oates and Lapslie] two as big a goal threat as we’ve had.
“O’Toole was injured today. When you miss your good players, it certainly affects things.”
The Stags have an opportunity to return to winning ways on Saturday against Crawley. The boss was asked if he’d need to boost the morale of his players after two consecutive losses.
“I’m not intending to do that [pick up the squad] at all.
“If they can’t pick themselves up for the last four games of the season then they shouldn’t be there, I’ve told that to them.
“If they don’t think they can still get promoted, don’t come in to work next week.”
Watch the manager's interview in full by clicking here.