Despite 'shooting themselves in the foot' with Ollie Banks' costly 36th minute red card, Tranmere Rovers boss Micky Mellon was impressed by his 10 men's battling qualities in today's 3-0 defeat at Mansfield Town.
Stags were already 1-0 up when Banks went for a second poor tackle in four minutes for a second yellow.
But Mellon was unhappy with his side seeing five yellow cards from referee Ben Toner and none going Mansfield's way.
“It goes without saying that we are gutted with the result,” he said.
“We obviously made it very difficult for ourselves with the sending off. We shot ourselves in the foot.
“It was always going to be a tough afternoon for us here against a team that's riding high like Mansfield.
“But in terms of work rate and the way the boys kept fighting you really couldn't fault them. They had a right good go at it.”
He continued: “It's been a tough afternoon with a lot of things decided by a referee who decided the way the game was going to be played which made it difficult for us.
“Apart from the Banks one was there a bad tackle? You look at the stats and you think Tranmere came here and it's been a kicking fest.
“It beggars belief. You ask was there that many tackles that merited yellow cards and why did we get them all if it was that type of game or were we just kicking Mansfield all over the place? No.”
But Mellon had no qualms over the red card decision.
“To be fair I think he should go for that challenge,” he said.
“If you are going to go for a challenge you've got to get the ball. If you are already on a yellow you don't go for another tackle like that.
“The sending-off completely changed the game.”
On the goals, he added “We gave away a foul in a dangerous area for the first goal.
“We were very disappointed with the second goal as it came off the keeper and none of us followed it in.
“The same with the third - you have got to follow that in to keep yourself in the game. They were two cheap goals.”