Mansfield manager Adam Murray described the decision to award the Cobblers a penalty against his side as ‘embarrassing’ and said it felt like he had been ‘stabbed in the heart’.
The Stags player-boss said it deprived his team of what should have been a deserved win against Town, who played for an hour with 10 men following John-Joe O’Toole’s sending-off.
Referee Lee Collins awarded the spot-kick after Ivan Toney had nutmegged and been fouled by Junior Brown in the third minute of time added on.
Marc Richards confidently stroked home the penalty for his 17th goal of the season to ensure the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
But Murray, who brought himself on as an 86th-minute substitute in a bid to help seal a much-needed victory for the league two strugglers, did not think the spot-kick should have been given.
“We have been cheated – simple as that,” said Murray. “He’s given the penalty against someone who didn’t even go in for the challenge.
“Their lad shoved the ball through Junior’s legs and Junior’s never moved.
“The scariest thing is that I was joking with the fourth official that because he’s sent one of their players off he would be giving every little thing their way. It is embarrassing and I am gutted for the lads.
“You can’t even speak to them (the officials) afterwards. They have half an hour to get their story right between them.
“These lads work their socks off seven days a week, so to take that away from them at the end and to have attitude with it as well is embarrassing.”
Murray also confirmed he had players in the dressing room ‘virtually in tears’ after the game and that the Cobblers’ late penalty left him feeling as though he had been ‘stabbed in the heart’.
“We were up against a top side and, once we’d settled down after the first 15 minutes, we played some great stuff,” he said. “But this is the period we are going through.
“I think we showed in the second half after the goal that we are a team that are near the bottom of the table. We got anxious and I think everyone in the ground got anxious.
“It can be harder playing against 10 men than against 11. but our game plan worked for 92 minutes and we have been robbed.
“We have players in there virtually in tears, it means that much to them. It feels like we have been stabbed in the heart.
“I can’t work these boys any harder or prepare them any better. We just have to keep doing what we are doing. In life you can either lay down and die and feel sorry for yourself or come back biting.
“I have never given in to a fight or battle in my life and I am not starting now.
“It feels like a loss tonight though in the position where we are it is a very, very good point for us, but we deserved a win. It feels like it’s been taken away from us.”