Fighting Pilgrims backed by Sheridan
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