Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans was left bemused by referee Tom Nield’s decision to change his mind over giving the home side a goal during Stags’ comfortable 1-0 home win over Stevenage.
Kane Hemmings had already punished young visiting keeper Joe Fryer for spilling the ball on 24 minutes with an easy match-winning finish.
But when that was repeated on 57 minutes, the referee seemed to give the goal and then, as the celebrations continued, changed his mind.
“I have seen the strangest decision I have ever seen in football today (Saturday),” said Evans.
“The referee gives a goal and then changes his mind. The assistant referee said he didn’t cancel it and the fourth official said he didn’t cancel it. So we can only assume it’s the Stevenage players that have got into him as he changes his mind.
“When people look back at the highlights they’ll see the referee’s definition of giving the goal. He was pointing clearly to the centre circle.
“You look back at the replay and it’s a Stevenage player that has fouled his own goalkeeper. It was a superb finish by Kane Hemmings from an angle too.
“That would have been game over and perhaps we could have gone on and won by more.”
On the game overall, he said: “It was a strange afternoon. First 10 minutes we were not in the game and for the next 75 minutes we should have won seven or eight nil with the chances we’ve missed again.
“But it was the quality of our play that really pleased. We had some superb inter-linking play.
“In the last few minutes Stevenage were playing with seven giants up front and throwing the balls in.
“But we got another clean sheet and once again we know we need to punish teams.
“We had a late sucker punch against us against Exeter so you’re always wary. But today they didn’t create a chance in the while game.”
Evans added: “Last week we didn’t get a clear cut penalty and today we had a goal chalked off – strange business football isn’t it?
“We had such dominance in the first half that my concern was we should have been three up and game over.
“Second half Kane should have scored and Will Atkinson should have scored.
“But I won’t criticise my players – they are all working so hard. We played some wonderful football today. People thought we played well at Coventry but in terms of quality of passing and movement today was much better.”