Stevenage manager Steve Evans slammed his side for being poor in the loss at Mansfield Town but felt the home side weren't any better either.

A deflected goal on 11 minutes, credited to James Gale, handed the Stags a 1-0 success and kept their League Two play-off hopes alive.

It also gave Boro's automatic promotion chances a bit of a gut punch but Evans was more concerned with the performance of his squad.

The Boro boss said: "There's nothing between the sides. It's two good sides who've played very poorly on the day.

"We didn't play well, they didn't play well and it was always going to be either a magic goal that won it or the luckiest goal of the season.

"And they've got the fortune of the luckiest goal.

"But I don't think there's a clear-cut chance for either side. There's half chances, but not a clear-cut one.

"There's lots of good players on the pitch and it's not a lack of quality in general terms or specifically, but it's a lack of quality on the day.

"We threw the sink at them. We've tried to make judgement calls at the right time and from 70 minutes it was a question of whether they could hold or whether we got a goal.

"And it didn't happen for us."

The reason why will be looked at when the vide is replayed and no doubt after conversations on the bus ride home.

Evans says he, Paul Raynor and Alex Revell will be the first ones looking into it.

"We just didn't turn up and play," said the boss. "We'll look at ourselves as the management team to see whether we got the system and the shape and the tactical side deployed right.

"We've got into enough good areas in that last 15 minutes to create a good chance and we didn't.

"There's a lot at stake in this game and I'll be very surprised if Nigel Clough doesn't talk about character winning it for them, and so he should.

"But I'd be very surprised if he thinks his team has played well. I don't think either team has played well.

"But we will bounce back on Tuesday [at Swindon]. The one thing we've got is a fantastic characters in the dressing room and we wouldn't be in this position if we didn't.

"We need to have big characters with three games to go."

Boro weren't helped by results elsewhere with all bar Bradford City in the chasing pack picking up three points.

That leaves Boro with six points still to find to confirm matters.

Evans said: "I've just looked at the results and there are no surprises.

"We were the game that everyone said could go either way and with the performance of both sides, it could have.

"We turned up and we had huge amount of effort and endeavour and there's one team incredibly fit with 10, 15 minutes to go and one team on their knees, hanging on.

"We've just got to keep focusing on one game at a time. Get back to winning ways. That's the objective now."