Mansfield Town’s Steve Evans today described some of match referee Ben Toner’s performance on Saturday as the worst he’s ever experienced as a manager.
Exeter City won the game 2-1 via a controversial penalty in the seventh added minute which Stags felt was a dive, but Evans said there were even worse decisions earlier on.
He said: “If Ollie Watkins or Reuben Reid bends one in the top bag in the 97th minute, or even a scramble-inner, you go – well they’ve come and done a job on us. Then you can respect it.
The penalty row goes on – click HERE to read
“I look at the match referee and I am really disappointed with his performance. That’s not changed today.
“Often I come in on a Monday and I’ve got a different view on the referee when I’ve thought they were poor on a Saturday – and these referees know because I speak to them.
“I can’t speak to this referee – I am still so disappointed.”
Evans stressed that, as angry as he was about the late penalty, even worse had gone before that.
“That’s not the decision in the 97th minute – that’s just a poor decision. He has got sucked in,” he said.
“But the first 25 minutes on Saturday was the worst refereeing performance I have ever seen against any of my teams.
“That’s hard to say when you’ve got 800-900 games under your belt as a manager.
“But it was the worst I have seen against my team and I felt for players.
“The fourth official had the most empathy with me that any fourth official has ever had.”
Danny Rose suffered more than most, including an arm across his face from Troy Brown that went unpunished to the anger of the home fans as decision after decision seemed to go Exeter’s way.
“Let’s be honest, he’s got smashed by a forearm right in his face and it’s a straight red card,” said Evans.
“We’ve looked at it from four or five different angles and the referee didn’t even give a free kick. He said he didn’t see anything.
“If that’s the level we are in a sad place. We are in an awful place in League Two if that’s the case.
“I spoke to the head of referees on Saturday evening – he is a good man David Allison. He said he would look at the clips and when he called me on Sunday he said he’d got some sympathy.
“He doesn’t tell every manager he’s got some sympathy as he’s got some really good officials.
“I think Danny was left checking if his nose was still in the same place as it was most likely it might have been moved.
“Thankfully he got up from that. I’ve seen players not get up from that. I have seen people get their jaws wired up and their noses broken. It was an horrendous challenge. But the referee doesn’t see it – I am surprised none of the other officials saw it either.
“It looked a straight arm to us. But you go with the referee during the game. When we came in after the game, we’ve got our analyst upstairs with videos from a high vantage point and cameras from all angles and we just feel terrible about it.”