Cox unsure if McGuire red card was deserved as Stags crumble to Oxford

Mansfield Town's Paul Cox  -Pic by:Richard Parkes

Mansfield Town's Paul Cox -Pic by:Richard Parkes

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Stags manager Paul Cox wants to look again at Jamie McGuire’s straight red card which proved so costly as Stags sank to a 3-1 home defeat by table-topping Oxford United this afternoon.

His first reaction was to disagree with referee Charles Breakspear that his midfielder deserved to go for the tackle with Sean Rigg, which saw the visiting players surround the official and try to influence the decision.

It was a sixth red card for Stags already this season by mid-November and McGuire now misses three tough games against top seven sides.

“The game changed with the dismissal,” said Cox. “It’s hard enough to play with 10 men against any team, let alone a team like Oxford, who have been in the top three all season and have a great away record.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

“I will have to see the red card again on DVD. I thought both boys went in for a full-blooded tackle.

“The referee said it was a two-footed tackle.

“With Jamie you are always going to get incidents like this as he wears his heart on his sleeve and gives his all for the club.

“We have to learn from this. Referees have a hard job and if you go in with two feet or any kind of foul play you are going to be shown a straight red.

“With 10 men we worked hard and kept our shape. And we probably created the three best chances in the second half.

“But all three of the goals we gave away were sloppy.”

He added: “We are missing some of our best players and the spine of a side, but I am not bleating about that. We are going through a bad patch as all sides do and the team I put out there today was good enough to win a football match.

“We have to be realistic and say the way we started the season was probably a rod for our own backs.

“Our supporters are not stupid and the vast majority are 100 per cent behind us. They know we are having bad luck with injuries and suspensions.

“We have no divine right to be in the top three. We have to earn the right to win any game and it helps if you keep 11 men on the pitch and don’t gave away sloppy goals.”

Oxford assistant manager Mickey Lewis said: “Some of our football today, especially going forward, was probably the best we’ve played this season. Everyone played a part.

“When teams go down to 10 men it’s never that easy and Mansfield still put us under pressure and got the ball forward early.

“Ryan Clarke in goal has still had to be at his best a couple of times, too.

“How many times have you seen 10 men go on on to win a game or get a draw? But we stayed disciplined.

“We said at half-time and 2-1 up, if we could score a third you would hope that would kill the game off.”