Carlisle had rub of the green says Stags boss Evans after first defeat

Stags' manager Steve Evans.

Stags' manager Steve Evans.

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Steve Evans said he felt the 5-2 scoreline didn’t do his side justice today as he suffered his first defeat as Mansfield Town boss as home side Carlisle United went top.

Evans admitted his side’s defending was poor, but said the home side had enjoyed the rub of the green including a penalty kick when it was a Carlisle player who had handled.

And he added that he was happy with six points out of nine in his first three games in the hot seat.

“We were poor today in the two thirds of the pitch that matter,” he admitted.

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“ Defensively we were poor. You have got to deal with balls that come into your box.

“Carlisle play a lot of good football but they also put balls in the box from 60 and 70 yards and when you can’t win the first header it’s a problem.

“In the attacking third, so to speak, we were not as efficient as we should have been.

“I said prior to the game we had to be in it at 75 minutes and we’d have been in it at 85 minutes if big Krystian Pearce makes it 4-3 with the miss of the season so far.

“They got a penalty when their man handled it and that makes it hard work. Then we should go 4-3 when Krystian misses an easy, easy chance with four or five to go and it would have been a very different game.

“Then they break and get a deflected goal on top of the penalty which makes it harder on the players.

“But we didn’t get kidded against Crawley or against Blackpool in midweek. There is a lot of work to be done and the ones that can over a four or six week period sustain the type of performances we need to be taking the club forward, then they will be here and the others simply won’t.”

He added: “You learn the benchmark is high if you want to be at the top end of the league if you look at what Carlisle have done today. But I don’t think there was three goals difference.

“If you watched this game as a neutral, you’d certainly think the team that’s probably been done a little bit is Mansfield Town. “That’s what happens when you’re at the top of the league. You tend get these breaks and these decisions and I have been fortunate to be on the receiving end of some of them.”

Evans was upset by the performance of referee Seb Stockbridge and said it wasn’t the first time he’d felt let down by the Tyne & Wear whistler.

“I thought their fans were terrific. I think they influenced a lot of decisions in their favour today.” said Evans.

“I think they got a penalty when Michael Raynes, who played for me at Rotherham, was laughing as he almost caught it and shoved it up his jumper.

“That’s why you saw the reaction of three or four of them running to the referee. He said I just saw a yellow shirt handle the ball. I said which number, he said I don’t know.

“We looked at the DVD, I am not going on the basis of my eyes. “Everyone in the ground, including the Carlisle United supporters were gobsmacked. The Carlisle players actually run back as the referee had blown his whistle and they think he (Raynes) has handled it.

“To everyone’s amazement he pointed to the spot. But I have had him before and my personal opinion is he is not very good.

“I am entitled to have that opinion. I don’t see him have any good days, never mind many. When you see the appointment you shake your head.”

Stags have no game next weekend but return to action a week on Tuesday with a return haul up to Carlisle for a Checkatrade Trophy tie.

“We will be back on the training ground and working hard and we’ll be ready to come back here in 10 days time,” he said.

“I don’t go this far on my holidays, but we will get on the coach, come up, and they will probably tell us there is another inspection.

“The pitch was perfect. The mind games started with the inspection and it might be off!

“We take this firm and square on the pegs. We don’t get too down like we didn’t get too high last week and we get back on the training ground and work with the players.

“You won’t get a reaction saying some of the players are not good enough as there are a lot of very good players in that dressing room.”

Evans said he had to be pleased with the points gained from his first three games in charge.

“When the chairman appointed me if someone had said you’d get six points out if nine you’d have taken it,” he said.

“We probably felt we could have made it nine such was the confidence in the camp.

“We got the early goal and settled down and then we committed a bit of suicide. We gave a cheap ball away in the middle of the park.

“It’s a long trip home now for us but more importantly for our supporters who I thought were great, turned up in good numbers today on a freezing cold morning, probably travelling not knowing if the game was on or off.”