Stags boss rues penalty rejection after Braintree draw

NMAC11-2124-32''Paul Cox
NMAC11-2124-32''Paul Cox

STAGS boss Paul Cox bemoaned the referee’s failure to give his side a ‘blatant’ penalty as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Braintree on Saturday, reports Stephen Thirkill.

Louis Briscoe was felled in the box on 80 minutes after he turned his marker with some nifty footwork.

But referee Graham Harwood waved away the appeals to the disbelief of Cox and the Mansfield Town faithful.

Cox was also left angry at Harwood’s failure to spot a stamping on Luke O’Neill in the second half.

“How that penalty was not given I will never know,”said Cox. “If that foul was outside the box it would have been given.

“He booked two of our players for fouls but missed a stamping. I thought his performance was dire and I told him so. The referee messed up today and that is annoying.”

But despite his side’s inability to clinch all three points in Essex, Cox spoke of his delight at the team’s overall performance.

“This was an excellent test of character against a team that hammered Grimsby in midweek. They are an effective outfit and many teams will struggle here later in the season.”said Cox.

“How we did not win that game I don’t know. We should have grinded out a 1-0 win today, but I don’t want to dwell on negatives.

“Anthony Howell was excellent today. He won his headers and tackles and gave us a lot of energy. He characterised what we are all about. The front lads worked hard up front for little reward.

“I asked for a response after the Gateshead game and I got that today. It was a pleasing performance and we need to take that into Tuesday night’s game.

“We have put the building blocks in place with this performance. Braintree is a hard place to come and this performance is a testament to the character of this side.”