VIDEO: Lapses at the back so costly for Stags

We all knew that anything earned at Carlisle United on Saturday would have to be secured the hard way.

Monday, 28th November 2016, 12:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:27 pm
Mansfield Town's Pat Hoban opens the scoring - Pic by Chris Holloway

But no one saw it coming that a usually mean Stags defence would allow the Cumbrians so much freedom in the box to amass a comfortable 5-2 win.

Click HERE to see video highlights of the game

It was a first defeat for new boss Steve Evans and he has now seen the best and worst of his new charges inside his first week after maximum points from his first two games.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The victory sent Carlisle – and former Stags manager Keith Curle - top of the League Two table with an eighth successive win at Brunton Park and, as Evans said afterwards, when you are up there you do somehow seem to get the rub of the green.

Although the defending was poor on the day, the overall performance did not merit the scoreline and, had Krystian Pearce netted a chance two minutes into added time at the end, which would have made it 4-3, we might have had a grandstand finish on our hands with a further four minutes to play out.

Evans was particularly upset over some of the decisions by referee Seb Stockbridge, who he said he has had past experience of being on the wrong end of his whistling.

He was also upset by Carlisle’s continuing use of pitchside towels to clean the ball for throw-ins, even after being told to stop by the officials, and he even hinted the morning on-off drama and pitch inspection might have been Carlisle mind games as the pitch was certainly frost-free and perfectly playable in the end.

But there is no denying his side should defend their box better as, after going ahead through an excellent Pat Hoban header, they allowed Carlisle three easy headers from three crosses into the box to take a stranglehold on a game that was so even in the first half and locked at 1-1 at the break.

There was also no hint of a Mansfield handball in the box for the killer fourth from the penalty spot which was agonising as Charlie Wyke completed his hat-trick.

Sub Danny Rose once again banged on the first team door for a start as he notched his second poacher’s goal in as many games to make it 4-2, though the Matt Green/Pat Hoban partnership still looks good.

Then, after Pearce had seen his late effort saved, ex-Stag Reggie Lambe’s deflected late strike rubbed salt in the wounds and left the scoreline looking worse than the performance for the visitors.

With no game this coming weekend following the first round FA Cup exit, the Stags now have plenty of time to work with their new management team on the training ground ahead of an immediate return to Carlisle next Tuesday for the Checkatrade Trophy tie when Evans will at least be expecting his defence to tighten up.