FERGUSON FUMES AT ‘HEADBUTT’
HIS team may have fought back to salvage a point but Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Ferguson chose to focus his attention on Matt Green, insisting the Mansfield goalscorer should not have been on the pitch following a headbutt.
The striker deflected in Mal Benning’s long-range 59th-minute strike to give the Stags a deserved derby lead.
Liam Mandeville converted a 77th minute penalty – three weeks after missing against Plymouth – as Rovers finished the stronger with Tommy Rowe heading against the post two minutes from time.
But Ferguson, who saw his team relinquish top spot, claimed Green should have been dismissed for an off-the-ball clash with Rovers captain Andy Butler earlier in the second half.
“Green shouldn’t be on the pitch. He has headbutted Butler. It is an absolute disgrace,” said Ferguson.
“The linesman has seen it and still not sent him (Green) off. They have to look at that, there was no call for it – and he has scored their goal.
“The players know more than one or two didn’t get to the standards they have recently, but we dug in and managed to get a point.
“The way the game went I suppose a point was not a bad result. We have had two tough away games in a week, local derbies, so four points is not a bad return.”
Mansfield, who have not netted at home in the first half this season, were the better side for an hour.
CJ Hamilton’s low drive was beaten away by Marko Marosi and Rhys Bennett headed over Green’s cross before the striker flicked in Benning’s 25-yard shot, adding his deft touch inside the area for Mansfield’s first goal for 343 minutes.
John Marquis blazed into the side netting and Mandeville curled wide as Rovers chased an equaliser before the latter levelled from the spot, sending Scott Shearer the wrong way to fire into the bottom left corner.
Shearer had brought down Rowe to concede the spot kick following a fine initial block to deny Mandeville and Mansfield manager Steve Evans admitted: “I think it was a penalty at first sight, although Tommy Rowe has got the actor of the season (award) for playing for it.
“We don't fear any team in this league, and when we get better performances we will be a match for anyone. “For 78 minutes we were the better side by a long way and probably should have put it to bed. You have to punish the better teams as they are always going to be resolute and come back at you. “To be fair to Doncaster, when your manager is Darren Ferguson you are always going to be resolute and have a go. We go into the New Year with character and discipline in the team’s performances and we need to add some quality to it.”
NO GO: Liam Mandeville is kept at bay by Mansfield's Rhys Bennet
SPOT ON: Liam Mandeville scores his penalty
STAR MAN DANNY ROSE Mansfield