Opposition view: Stags boss Clough felt key decisions went against Mansfield in Sixfields defeat

Northampton Town 1 Mansfield Town 0 – Sixfields, Sky Bet League Two
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Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough felt the big refereeing decisions went against his side during Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to promotion rivals Northampton at Sixfields.

Sam Hoskins scored the only goal of the game with a 28th-minute penalty after Louis Appéré attempted to go round Christy Pym but was tripped by the Stags goalkeeper in doing so.

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Ollie Clarke and Danny Johnson missed chances to level in the first-half before Mansfield's hopes were effectively ended by Stephen Quinn's inexplicable sending off midway through the second period.

Nigel CloughNigel Clough
Nigel Clough

Whilst Clough did not deny that Quinn’s reckless challenge deserved a red card, he insisted his side should have been awarded a foul on the same man moments earlier. He also felt they were denied a clear penalty in the first-half when Lee Burge challenged Clarke as the Stags skipper charged through on goal.

"It was a frustrating night," admitted Clough. "We didn't play particularly well but I didn't think we were too bad and there were four, five, six situations where we could easily have got a goal, even with 10 men.

"It's a red card but he's also blatantly fouled two seconds earlier. The lad has caught him and the fourth official is only 10 yards away but it's not given and then the tackle after that, he should know better. He let us down.

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"I've got no problem with the red card but there's a foul before it and there were one or two other decisions as well. We definitely should have had a penalty on Ollie Clarke in the first-half.

"The ref told me at half-time that it was 'normal contact' but whether he's shooting or trying to go around the goalkeeper, there's no such thing as normal contact. I asked him to explain the phrase ‘normal contact’ because I've never heard it before. I also thought Kieron Wallace was very unlucky to get booked after three minutes – he played the ball.

"It was a pretty poor night for us but we had enough situations to go and get a goal."