Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft was furious with the display of match referee Graham Salisbury in today’s 1-0 defeat at Newport County.
On a dreadful heavy surface in South Wales, it was a result that saw Stags miss out on going top of League Two and an afternoon in which they also lost striker Danny Rose with a serious head injury.
“I have just experienced 100 minutes of horrible football from both teams. It was probably one of the worst football experiences that I have had, watching a game,” said Flitcroft.
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“We needed to be more courageous. We needed to be braver on the ball.
“But Newport take you out of your rhythm and the referee helped them with that. I don’t think he broke into a run all game to keep up with play.
“You have to have a top referee on a pitch like this. You have to be right near everything.
“He got brought in today out of the cold. He shouldn’t have been refereeing – he didn’t have a game this weekend.
“It was foul after foul and we couldn’t get into any rhythm or fluidity whatsoever.
“For me he has missed a red card. We had a broken leg two weeks ago with Hayden White and today they snapped down Tyler Walker. You want to see the mark on him just under knee.
“It was missed and he didn’t even give a free kick.
“Also I could hear the challenge on CJ Hamilton. It was one million per cent a penalty and he’s missed that. He has missed two massive decisions.”
But Flitcroft said his thoughts tonight were with the injured Rose.
“That has all been compounded by Danny and all my thoughts are with him. We will make sure we get the right care for him,” he said.
“I am not sure what happened but some of the players were horrified when they came over. He might have lost some teeth and it could be a broken jaw.
“It was a fair challenge, nothing sinister with it, he just got caught in between two players. He was a bit limp at the time and took both impacts.
“It has been a horrible afternoon and one we have got to quickly put behind us.
“We won’t have to play on another pitch like that this season.
“Good luck to Newport in the FA Cup and credit to them. We knew their lads were playing for a place against Manchester City today.”
Flitcroft said his players now needed to impress him in training to win a place for next weekend’s big local derby at Notts County.
“In this dressing room they don’t like getting beaten,” he said.
“They care. It wasn’t a lack of care today.
“Anytime they’ve been asked big questions this season they have come up with the answers.
“We will see who is up for the fight this week to go into a massive game next week.”