Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft was again furious with the match officials after a 5-0 FA Cup replay defeat at League One Charlton that he described as an unjust scoreline and not in any way representative of the game.
Stags created a wealth of chances but were put to the sword by three goals in the last nine minutes, the first of which left him furious over the officials changing their mind over the direction of a free kick and all but gifting Charlton the killer third goal.
This came after Flitcroft received a letter from the Referees’ Association this week apologising for Charlton’s offside equaliser that forced the replay in the first place.
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“As a manager that is the most unjust scoreline I’ve seen,” he said.
“We didn’t even deserve to go into the break 1-0 down. We were miles better than them.
“I am not deluded. I have watched what I’ve watched.
“I won’t judge today on the last 10 minutes.
“Sometimes things don’t really add up. I am always honest in my appraisal of a game, win, lose or draw, and tonight on the end of a 5-0 defeat I have watched a group of lads give each other everything they’ve got.
“They ran for each other and, at times, the quality of play was outstanding. That’s the galling thing tonight.
“We carved them open on numerous occasions and that was probably the difference between League Two and League One – they were ruthless. They’ve had five chances and scored five goals.”
However, the third goal left the visitors livid.
“Those lads did not deserve what happened to them with the third goal,” said Flitcroft.
“I find it disgusting and amateurish and it just makes it look bad for everyone when a referee gives a decision like that.
“All three of our defenders go up the pitch and get told it’s our free kick.
“So to suddenly change your mind, give it the other way and let them take it when they’ve got a three versus two on a counter-attack is just beyond me.
“He can apologise all he wants, but for all three of them and the fourth official to get it wrong, it knocked the stuffing and resolve from us. We lost our focus with that third goal.
“Congratulations to Charlton. They’ve got a good team and we knew we were playing against real quality.
“Our chance was probably back at home and we’ve got an apology from the FA about that goal too. They have got to start getting it right.
“To the fans who’ve not been down here it looks like we’ve been smashed and that was not the case.”
Lyle Taylor bagged a hat-trick for the Addicks and Flitcroft said: “A million per cent, Lyle Taylor was the difference. He was good when he was at Wimbledon, but the kid has improved and tonight he was outstanding.
“He will go higher than League One – I am sure of that.
“The step up in that quality just hurt us at times tonight. We had an offside goal for CJ (Hamilton) that for me was a just goal.”
He added: “The result won’t shake our confidence. It’s gone now.
“I am beside myself knowing we are not going to continue in the FA Cup but we have a big game at Lincoln on Saturday and I won’t have anyone moping around now.
“We did miss Neal Bishop with illness tonight. At times he is the glue and I don’t think we’d have lost 5-0 if he’s been in the centre tonight pulling people together.”