Hatters boss Nathan Jones admitted that Mansfield’s cynical time-wasting tactics employed during their 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road yesterday afternoon ‘frustrated the hell’ out of him.
The Stags took an early lead through Matt Green yesterday afternoon, but then blatantly slowed the tempo of the game down at every single opportunity, with keeper Scott Shearer one of the worst culprits.
Although referee Graham Salisbury booked Mitchell Rose for leaving the field at a snail’s pace when substituted, the official failed to seriously do enough to clamp down on the tactics, as Jones said: “It’s difficult as every side has done it. I think Doncaster are the only side who haven’t done it and when we come here, every side slows the play down.
“They don’t want to play and referees allow them to do it. I find it baffling as I spoke to the referee and he said ‘we tried everything we could’ - and I don’t understand it.
“The linesman said so too but I can’t get involved in that as they frustrate the hell out of me.
“Credit to Mansfield, they came, set up to stifle us, stifled us for long periods, got the goal from a set-play and that’s really disappointing.”
I think Doncaster are the only side who haven’t done it and when we come here, every side slows the play down.Nathan Jones
When asked about his side’s display, Stags chief Adam Murray, who spent a brief time at Luton as a player during his career, said: “That was the gameplan, they’re a possession-based side, you can’t dictate the game with the ball all the time.
“With all due respect to our football club, this is a huge football club, they’ve got four times the resources of us, so we can’t expect to go toe-to-toe with them as much as we’d like to.
“We knew they’d have a lot of the ball, but I thought we controlled the game without the ball at times, very, very well.
“We knew we’d have to counter well and I think if we had done that a little bit better, we probably didn’t exploit that as we could, then we might have got a little bit more out of the game
Meanwhile, midfielder Cameron McGeehan felt that Mansfield’s spoiling tactics was nothing new and his team should take it as a complement, adding: “It’s a sign of respect for the club, for the players, for the fans, because it’s a tough place to come.
“You moan about it to the ref, want them to hurry up, but it’s been happening for years. Since I’ve been here, it’s always been the case, so I’m used to it.
“When they score it makes it even worse, it’s not a massive deal though, you’ve just got to keep the tempo high and keep on them.
“When they’re playing like that you’re smelling a goal as you know they’re just happy to sit in and when we got that first one you think we’re going to go again. So it was a bit unlucky in the end, it is a little bit frustrating, but we are used to it.”