It’s not very often referees are praised by Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans – but Darren Handley was this week given a huge pat on the back for his handling of Saturday’s incident-strewn home clash with Cheltenham Town.
Evans had been furious with the men in the middle in the two previous games as big decisions against Mansfield were proved wrong on replays.
However, in a game in which Cheltenham had two red cards and Mansfield one, and Robins boss Gary Johnson was ordered to the stands, Evans beamed: “The referee got every big decision on the field of play and off the field of play one hundred per cent correct for me.
“I always say as a manager or referee, you go home on Saturday night and pour yourself a glass of wine or as beer.
“I think he must have bought four bottles on the way home because that must have been a really rough match on and off the field to officiate in.
“But he showed his experience, he showed he got the big decisions right and that’s from eyesight and then looking back at the footage of the incidents yesterday.
“Well done the referee! They’ve taken stick off me in recent weeks, but for the right reasons as their decisions have not been right, even on review.
“This referee can be really pleased that he’s had a very efficient afternoon.
“There is no doubt Gary Johnson is a winner. But when he looks back at the footage in the cold light of day, he will be disappointed with his conduct.”
Stags snatched a 3-2 win with a stoppage time winner by CJ Hamilton and Evans added: “100 per cent we deserved to win based on play and possession in and around their box. It’s a great way to go and win a game.
“But if you look at the topsy turvy game, we go 3-2 in front and then Conrad Logan has to make a super save as one or two of the boys at the back thought they were going on their jollies, we’ve won the game. When you think that at any level, you get punished.
“Conrad has made a number of big saves for us over the season and he made another big one in the 98th minute.”