SWABEY GAFFE ANGERS EVANS
FURIOUS Steve Evans pointed the finger of blame directly at “atrocious” referee Lee Swabey after Mansfield Town’s playoff dream effectively ended following this home defeat to Portsmouth.
Evans was fuming after the official showed only a yellow card to Matt Clarke, despite him hacking down Danny Rose when he was last man.
Pompey poured further salt into the wounds when Carl Baker scored his ninth of the season to wrap up the points.
Evans said: “I have to be careful what I say but that was an atrocious refereeing performance. You always look at reactions, and I look at their centre-half throwing his hands on his head – he thought he was on his way and so did their bench.
“Paul Cook said to me at the end that was the worst decision he'd seen in his career, and I think I join him. But they will give him another game next week.
“This is a referee I was concerned about as he gave an atrocious decision with a penalty at Exeter last week. It’s laughable.
“It's hard to take. But I am proud of the players and the supporters.”
It was a pivotal decision, which Pompey boss Paul Cook admitted Swabey had got wrong.
“Matt Clarke had to go, the referee got the big decision wrong and it’s a tough one to get wrong for people in this stadium,” he said.
“You feel sick if it goes against you and if it goes for you then you feel that the game is going to go your way.
“There was an edge to the game and we are delighted to win. It’s was fantastic to get a 12th away win and I’m pleased for the players.
“We will still keep believing we can win the league. We are in with a chance.
“This is an intimidating place to come and the players have handled the pressure well.”
Alex MacDonald curled an early free-kick over as Mansfield enjoyed the better of the opening 15 minutes.
Gareth Evans dragged an effort wide before Jake Kean beat away a powerful effort from Kal Naismith on 37 minutes.
The game turned in the Hampshire side’s favour when Clarke escaped a red card just after the restart.
Rhys Bennett had a goal chalked off for offside, before Rose headed over during a good spell of pressure by Stags.
And Baker made them pay when he curled an effort past Kean on 57 minutes against the run of play.
MacDonald went close with a header, before he was denied by a good low save by David Forde.
Matt Green blew a glorious chance to level for the Stags when he chipped the ball over Forde and the crossbar on 80 minutes.
Mansfield now sit 11th with only a trip to Crawley to come.
ALL SMILES: Portsmouth midfielder Carl Baker celebrates the opening goal STAR MAN CHRISTIAN BURGESS Portsmouth