STAGS head to Wembley with a 15-man squad after the FA refused to rescind Steven Istead’s red card appeal.
The tigerish midfielder was shown an instant red for a foul after only 15 minutes at Bath City last weekend and today Stags were told their appeal had failed and Istead will now be banned for four matches, one added for a failed appeal.
“I have to be careful what I say about referees or I will be in trouble again but I don’t think Saturday’s referee understood and I don’t know if he had ever played football himself,” said boss Duncan Russell.
“It was the softest red card I have ever seen in football. I have never see anything like it. It was a tap.”
After his dismissal, Stags lost 2-0 in a poor display and Russell added: “Before the sending-off we were in charge and I thought we were going to win it quite easily.
“But I think the sending-off worried the rest of the players as Stevie Istead was dismissed for such a weak challenge and they were worried about missing Wembley too. I am sure that’s what happened.”