SKIPPER STEVE Foster received the brunt of Stags boss David Holdsworth’s fury as he lashed his side for their poor showing in a 2-1 defeat at struggling Forest Green Rovers.
Foster was shown a straight red for violent conduct after a clash with Reece Styche, his second of the season and the club’s fifth, at a time when Stags needed him on the field.
But Holdsworth, who took his side down overnight to prepare them properly for the game, was bitterly disappointed with the overall showing.
He said: “It was a disappointing first half, extremely disappointing. We weren’t at the races in the first half to be honest.
“And going down to 10 men again, it certainly makes my blood boil when the captain has allegedly made a poor decision.
“Obviously the referee and the assistant have decided to send the captain off.
“Going down to 10 men again is not acceptable. We have spoken and spoken about it and for your captain to get sent off for ill-discipline is disappointing.
“With Rhys Day back from suspension next week that’s made my job easier. But Fozzie should know better.
“If he has reacted then he has let everyone down and we will see. I need to see the video of that and a few other things. Fozzie said he hadn’t touched him.”
He added: “Right now, straight after the game until I’ve seen some of the match again, you wait and reserve your judgements on some things.
“But there have been a few home truths told and certainly a few of the players have to look at themselves in the mirror over the weekend.
“They have to ask themselves why they didn’t start very well.
“We have prepared right and done everything right and they have to look at themselves, the players. Ultimately from my point of view when they cross that line there is nothing more we can do.
“There are some very talented players at this football club but you have to have that experience and mechanism to go out and perform.
“The game is played by physical people but some with weak minds – that’s all over England and the world I would imagine.
“We wanted to be positive and we came here expecting to do a lot better than we did in the first half.
“I can’t grumble about the endeavour at the end because we were certainly looking like we might get a point. After the first half we wanted to see improvement but we didn’t see it until Fozzie went off.”
Holdsworth decided not to risk starting with top scorer Paul Connor, on his way back from injury, but it was his introduction alongside new signing Danny Mitchley who really sparked a fightback when they came on as substitutes.
“Paul has not been fit and I have had to manage that situation. In the last four or five weeks I have had one fit striker,” he said.
“The last thing you are going to do is throw someone in at the weekend. Danny Mitchley is a young boy and we haven’t got the experience up top to manage that.
“Paul was the one that we were looking at for the change.
“After that I felt we created two or three very good chances. I was delighted with the goal and delighted with Danny.
“We could have been 3-0 down at half-time and it wasn’t good enough first half. Ultimately it’s a mistake that cost us the first goal.
“We addressed a few things at half-time, I wanted a response. But the response of someone showing ill-discipline is not what you need.
“I was really pleased with the two boys who went on.
“But I felt our two wingers didn’t get the ball down and play.
“We worked hard yesterday on shape and getting the ball down, but I don’t think we did get the ball down and I thought the front two boys were not good enough today in the first half with the ball coming back far too quickly.
“Some of our play was not good enough and we could have shown more fight.
“It has undone a lot of the good work we did on Tuesday. We felt we could come here and be positive and that’s why we played with wingers.”
Keeper Kevin Pilkington conceded an early penalty to gift Rovers their opener but thought the referee got it wrong.
“I am experienced enough to know I should have just cleared the ball,” he said.
“But I was waiting for it to bounce back into the box so I could keep the ball it in play. It just seemed to hold up and their lad has just nicked it away from me and then ran straight into me. I didn’t try to bring him down.