CHEAT ROW AS EVANS RAPS REID
ANGRY Mansfield manager Steve Evans labelled Exeter’s matchwinner Reuben Reid a cheat, as the substitute’s penalty completed the Grecians’ second dramatic late fightback in a week.
Reid burst into the penalty area and went down under a Rhys Bennett challenge seven minutes into injury-time.
The striker got up to convert the spot-kick and snatch victory seven days after the Grecians struck three late goals to grab a point at Yeovil.
The win strengthened Exeter’s position in the play-offs following two successive draws, but put a huge dent in Mansfield’s own promotion hopes after the Stags had led until six minutes from time.
Evans said: “We deserved to win. Their keeper made a fantastic save to stop us winning it and then the referee gives a penalty.
“We have looked back at it and it’s not a penalty.
“The FA can do what they like, but the player has cheated. There is no place for it in the game.
“We dominated for long spells and they have come up the tunnel and celebrated as if they have got promotion.
“They are a good team, but they have had a little bit of help.
“It was played like a cup tie and unfortunately we got a referee who was shocking from start to finish.
“The circumstances are cruel, but we have to dust ourselves down and go again. We will keep fighting.
“If we play like that we will win a lot of games.”
Mansfield took a deserved 38thminute lead when Joel Byrom’s pass over Pierce Sweeney picked out Mansfield full-back Mal Benning, who cut inside and drilled a low finish into the bottom corner.
Six minutes from time Ryan Harley burst into the area on to substitute Reid’s return pass and poked a low finish past keeper Jake Kean to reward the visitors for a second-half fightback.
In injury-time City keeper Christy Pym dived low to keep out what looked like a Mansfield winner from Ben Whiteman before Reid’s last-gasp penalty.
City boss Paul Tisdale refused to get carried away by the win, saying: “If it had finished a draw we would both have been satisfied, but let’s not be too pleased with ourselves. There are six games to go and a long way to go yet. “We will have terrible times. We will have exciting times. This was an exciting time, but it is not worth getting carried away. “It was a magnificent save by Christy in injury-time. I thought it had saved us a point, but it actually won us three. That was a big moment. “We have gone from what looked like a defeat to a win. That’s football for you and there will be more of those to come.”
MATCH-WINNER: Reuben Reid is hugged after sealing Exeter’s fightback from the spot
OLLIE’S AWAY: Ollie Watkins on the charge
STAR MAN KRYSTIAN PEARCE Mansfield Town