Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans admitted his side did not deserve to go through after gifting in-form Wycombe Wanderers two goals in tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final heartbreaker at One Call Stadium.
Stags looked on their way to the semis as they led through a Matt Green penalty, but a mistake by loanee keeper Jake Kean and some poor defending soon after saw Wycombe subs Scott Kashket and Ade Akinfenwa see the Chairboys home 2-1 with two goals in nine minutes.
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“It was a disappointing performance,” said Evans “We were a goal in front but we can’t defend the way we’ve defended for both goals.
“There were mistakes switching off from a set play, then Jake spills one and they score. Then the second one was as bad.
“We allowed a thrower an easy throw to a boy in the midfield area. He puts it in and Akinfenwa holds the best players off.
“Over the game we didn’t deserve to go through.”
He added: “There’d not been a chance until we gave them the first one. Then they’ve got their tails up a little bit.
“There was a big decision on 52 minutes when Matt Green was taken out in the box – it’s a penalty. It wasn’t guaranteed to be 2-0 but it possibly could have been 2-0 and cup tie over in our favour.
“The referee was shocking tonight, but we’re not blaming him. Individually we’ve been found wanting a bit.”
To be so close to a Wembley final, Evans admitted it hurt to see it disappear as quickly as it did.
“We were a game and half from Wembley at half-time when we were one up,” he said. “But you can’t give good teams chances, they are a good team, that’s why they are now 16 games unbeaten. “They’ve got good players and they don’t need your help. They are good enough on their own.
“We should see that game through tonight, but you need the right personnel to see games through.
“It was a competition we wanted to do well in, but we can’t be too down.
“The real world is the League Two race and that recommences Saturday. We need to be focused and ready for that now.”
Leyton Orient visit on Saturday when fans who buy tickets will get a free ticket also for the next home game in a special deal.