Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans was furious with referee Geoff Eltringham after two huge decisions went against his side in tonight’s 4-1 FA Cup third round home replay with Cardiff City.
Evans believed there was a foul that led to City’s opener and that Junior Hoilett should have been sent off before he scored a brace as Cardiff secured the fourth round home glamour tie on offer with Manchester City with three second half goals.
Hoilett was only shown a yellow for jumping in on Alex MacDonald after 25 minutes.
READ THE MATCH REPORT
Evans said: “At 1-1 we were right in the cup tie. But it shouldn’t have been 1-1.
“We looked back at it and the first goal is a clear foul and how they’ve not had a red card in the first half is beyond me.
“The referee has been shocking tonight – I have to be careful what I say or I’ll be charged tomorrow.
“I am sure there won’t be too many challenges like that in the Manchester City game as the Premier League boys will be putting them away.
“It’s a shocking, shocking decision from the referee. He was very, very poor.
“He’s (Hoilett) straight over the ball isn’t he? I hope they show it on the highlights. They can’t defend it.”
He continued: “We took his (the referee) excuse on the field of play that he got word back from his fourth that it was a slip.
“That wasn’t a slip. It was high, late and over the ball and it’s a red card all day. “That’s a game changer. It’s a cup tie changer.
“It wasn’t to be. We’re out the cup and we have to live by it.”
Stags more than held their own until City netted twice in six second half minutes to take control.
“We were by far the better side in the first half and when you look at their goal it’s a clear push,” said Evans.
“The referee is right on him so I don’t know how he doesn’t give it.
“I think we should have been in front at half-time. We dominated it.
“It was the quick goal, the third goal, that killed the cup tie.
“We will go again. We’re here again on Saturday and we’ll try to produce a performance that will get us three points.
“Once they’d got the two quick goals, that allows the good players to get their foot on the ball.”
Evans added: “Neil Warnock can say what he likes, but that was a proper cup tie at 1-1.
“I think he’s fortunate to be be 1-1 and have 11 men - and they are decisions that you sometimes need in the cup.
“Cardiff have had some real quality on the pitch tonight, my players have been great and the officials have been rubbish.
“My lads know they’ve played well and the scoreline doesn’t demonstrate the game.
“But the media run with the Championship clubs.
“If they report it right they’ll say Cardiff’s first goal was a foul and it’s a red card. So it’s a different game with us 1-0 up and them with 10 men.”
The home fans got behind their side superbly and Evans said: “The supporters were incredible – fantastic.
“Neil said to me at kick-off this is a proper cup tie atmosphere as opposed to at Cardiff where it was like a morgue.
“The public of Mansfield turned out and they deserved better tonight.
“We will get the Darren Ferguson type of letter next week saying we should have given a foul there and that should have been a red card and we’re really sorry.
“But Cardiff go and play Manchester City and we go back to League Two action.
“I am proud of the players. It was a proper cup tie.
“We wish Cardiff well. It’s a fantastic day they are going to have.”