Fight­ing Pil­grims backed by Sheri­dan

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bam­sey To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

BOSS John Sheri­dan de­fended Luke McCormick and Neal Trot­man af­ter the pair were in­volved in an ex­tra­or­di­nary bust-up as Ply­mouth’s play-off hopes suf­fered a set­back.

Keeper McCormick was left fum­ing af­ter ac­cus­ing Trot­man of block­ing him as he came to claim a cross dur­ing the sec­ond half at Home Park.

That led to a shov­ing match be­tween the pair which earned both play­ers a yel­low card and a stern tick­ing off from ref­eree Peter Bankes.

McCormick was sub­sti­tuted fol­low­ing the clash af­ter suf­fer­ing a dis­lo­cated fin­ger and Ply­mouth’s mis­ery deep­ened when Matt Rhead fired the Stags in front.

But Lewis Alessan­dra res­cued a point for the hosts af­ter grab­bing an equaliser in the fifth minute of stop­page time.

Sheri­dan was quick to play down the spat and pre­ferred to fo­cus on the fact his side dropped more home points.

“I didn’t see any­thing wrong with it,” he in­sisted.

“I wished it hap­pened a few more times – at least it shows they have got a bit of fight in them.

“If it makes head­lines so be it, but I don’t see it as a prob­lem. I will have a chat with them but as far as I am con­cerned it is gone now.

“We have only taken two points from the last two home games and that is not good enough.

“I un­der­stand the sup­port­ers’ frus­tra­tions be­cause we want to push on and get in the play­offs.

“But we kept bat­tling and de­served a point.”

Af­ter a dour first half de­void of clear-cut chances, Mans­field spurned a glo­ri­ous op­por­tu­nity at the start of the sec­ond half when Sam Clu­cas raced clear only to lift the ball waste­fully over the bar.

How­ever, the Stags did get their noses in front when Rhead re­acted quick­est at the back post to bun­dle home James Jen­nings’ cross for his third goal of the sea­son.

Reuben Reid was de­nied an equaliser thanks to a smart save from Alan Mar­riott be­fore Alessan­dra struck late on.

Sub­sti­tute Nathan Thomas turned Lee Beev­ers in­side out be­fore pulling it back for Alessan­dra to smash the ball past Mar­riott.

Stags boss Paul Cox groaned: “I feel ab­so­lutely gutted and the boys feel like they have lost the game.

“I thought we were ex­cel­lent, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half.We should have been out of sight be­fore they scored.

“We passed the ball well and cre­ated some good chances.

“But we needed to see out those six min­utes of in­jury time and didn’t.”

STAR MAN LEWIS ALESSA

NDRA Ply­mou

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