Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray is hoping referee Mark Haywood will rescind Krystian Pearce’s red card after today’s 2-1 home defeat by Bristol Rovers, which saw three sendings-off and a late heartbreak winner for Rovers.
Murray was furious with the Pearce red card, though skipper Nicky Hunt followed for a second bookable offence, Rovers having had Jermaine Easter sent off in first half stoppage time.
Murray will now be without Pearce and Hunt for Tuesday’s long trip to Yeovil while Mal Benning and Brian Jensen could also miss out with injury.
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So Murray is hoping Haywood will change his mind after Pearce went for an off-the-ball tussle with Tom Lockyer at a corner.
“I am very angry and frustrated, but not at my team’s performance,” said Murray.
“We did more than enough to win the game and didn’t deserve to lose.
“They had one entry into our box before they scored. Then they scored and it was a poor goal to concede. But we should have been out of sight by then.
“We dominated the game in the first half and gave them nothing.
“Second half I thought we started well and then the incident that saw Pearce sent off was laughable.”
Murray continued: “It was never a corner and when you see the footage, how the linesman can give that from the other side of the pitch I don’t know.
“I said to the lads at half-time the way this ref is going, he wants to equal it up as he didn’t have control of it. He did that.
“The two lads were tussling and I think a word to both of them to calm them down would have been sufficient. But it looked like the stage was too big today and he sent him off for something.
“If you are going to lose, then that’s the way to lose as I couldn’t have asked any more of my team. We’ve gone down to nine men and we couldn’t have done any more.
“I had my two centre forwards playing right back and right midfield, we had Mel Benning who couldn’t walk at the end and he’s in the treatment room now, and Brian Jensen was knocked out.
“But we showed great fight and great spirit and we are still fourth in the league. So I am proud of my lads tonight – the fight and the endeavour they showed.”
After Jensen had got back up after lengthy treatment for a brave save at the flying feet of Ellis Harrison, Murray had already used all three substitutes and had to leave the big Dane on the field.
“If we hadn’t have made our substitutions to try to win the game we would have had to bring Brian off,” said Murray.
“He’s took a bang to the head and a bang to his knee and he was all over the place to be honest. If Brian is okay he probably saves the effort.
“Credit to the players and the fans, they stuck with us all the way through and that epitomised what we are about – everybody in it together. We did our best to win today, but for me we’ve been beaten by an outside source.”
On referee Haywood, he added: “If you are going to come and take care of big games – get it right.
“I will have a chat with the referee – he is a good guy and hopefully he will see a little bit of common sense and we will get it withdraw.
“It’s two lads tussling and it could have gone either way.
“There’s nothing malicious in it. I think a word to stop the pulling from both players would have been sufficient.”
Murray concluded: “We showed so much spirit to get back into it today when everything was against us, they kept going and going, even at the end with nine men we deserved something.
“That’s the fighting spirit that will bring us success ultimately. We forget it, we patch up the wounds, we move on, we have a big game on Tuesday and we’ll be in tomorrow.”