Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans was unhappy with referee Brett Huxstable after being sent to the stand for dissent during tonight’s 3-0 defeat at Cheltenham Town.
But Evans admitted his side had been second best all over the park after wasting chances to go ahead when in charge earlier on.
“We didn’t start well. It took us 20 minutes to get a foothold in the game,” said Evans as his side’s six-game unbeaten run came to a juddering halt.
MATCH REPORT: CHELTENHAM 3 STAGS 0
“When we did we were totally dominant and we had two big chances which we didn’t take.
“They scored from a free kick that wasn’t a free kick. I am not making excuses but there was also a foul leading up to the second goal.
“Everyone stopped. It was a foul and I raised that with the referee.
“He is a poor referee – I’ve seen him a few times. “But we were poor tonight so there’s no way I’m looking at apportioning the blame towards the referee when we were as poor as we were.
“There were three teams out there tonight. Cheltenham were very good and the other two were very poor.”
He added: “We were second best all over the pitch for long spells tonight. If you are second best all over the pitch at any level of football you normally pay the price – and we’ve paid the price tonight.”
It was only Stags’ second League Two defeat of the season and Evans said no one would get too down over the result as they prepared to face table-topping neighbours Notts County on Saturday.
“We keep it on a level keel,” he said. “You didn’t see us getting overly excited when we won at Lincoln.
“It will be a fiercely competitive local derby on Saturday.
“We know we need to be much better – but I said that after the Cambridge win and after we beat Lincoln.
“Promotion, if that is our aspiration, was never gained in a one-off. It’s about consistency.
“We’ve lost tonight so let’s see if we can go another seven or eight without losing again.”