STAGS boss Paul Cox was furious with the performance of referee Sebastian Stocksbridge as he sent off Richie Sutton for two debatable yellow card offences in today’s 3-1 defeats at Southport.
Mansfield were the better side and even took the lead. But the 10 men let in two goals in stoppage time at the end as a fine point slipped away.
“The referee tried his hardest to mess this game up today,” said Cox.
“Whether or not it should have been a second yellow, all you ask for is some consistency from referees which we didn’t get. There was a scissor tackle right in front of the dug-out for which he didn’t give a free kick let alone a booking.
“I didn’t think it was a yellow but when I went to speak to him he was one of those referees who thinks he is bigger than the game.
“I told him exactly what I thought of him at the end so I will probably now get a letter saying they are going to fine me or ban me.
“But I thought he was awful. Some of his decisions killed the boys at the end of the day.”
But Cox was delighted with his side’s showing and added: “I had a go at them last week and it was a fair assessment. But today I thought we were magnificent and looked like the only team who would go on and win it, even with 10 men.
“I feel gutted for the lads as they worked tremendously hard today. Our shape was better and we created some great chances.
“It’s a long way up here and I think the supporters who made the journey know we looked back to the old Mansfield Town when we were on our unbeaten run.
“But Lady Luck doesn’t always shine on you. Even so, if we keep playing like that we will win more then we lose. There were a lot of positives today.”
Goalscorer John Dempster added: “I was pleased to score but it doesn’t really count for anything.
“We are disappointed to have lost it. But you can’t fault our effort and desire and we mustn’t be too hard on ourselves. I thought the front two worked their socks off.
“We didn’t have the run of the game today with the sending-off. That changed the momentum of the whole game.
“I think Sutts (Sutton) has been really unlucky, The first one he went up for a header and I think it was a free kick but there was no need to book him.
“The second was a bit of a tangle and there was really no need to get for a card.”