BURTON Albion boss Gary Rowett was disappointed with the amount of protection his side got from the referee at Mansfield.
Darren Drysdale seemed to lose control of the feisty encounter in the second half as the Brewers won 2-1 to top the League Two table.
As the tackles flew in – largely unpunished – Albion's Robbie Weir finally reacted and got sent off for an alleged headbutt which could not be seen on replays.
"You know you're going to come under pressure and all you ask for is, if you're going to come under pressure like that, you ask the referee to make decisions," said Rowett, who stopped short of openly criticising the Lincolnshire official.
"It was a difficult game to referee but by letting one or two things go and not dealing with them, it spiraled into an absolute scrap and a fight, which I think then suits Mansfield and the way they want to play.
"I was disappointed with one or two things that happened on the afternoon, but pleased to come away with three points which I felt we thoroughly deserved."
Rowett was disappointed with Weir's dismissal but is waiting to study replays in depth before forming a final opinion on the influential midfielder's red card.
Weir faces a three-match ban for violent conduct if the Brewers fail in an appeal.
"All the players around have said he's been stamped on and as he's got up the players have both put their heads together, but Robbie's sworn to me he hasn't headbutted anyone, which is what the referee said," Rowett said.
"I'll have to watch it again and it's always difficult to comment on these things straight away, but I felt as though there were several worse tackles in the afternoon which went unpunished.
"I'm not here to criticise officials, but I felt it made the game very difficult to manage afterwards.
"The difficulty with it was we had to deal with what they do and I'm not bemoaning that, because they're very, very good at what they do.
"I've been to watch Mansfield on lots of occasions and they've blown teams away by their strength and size and power.
"I felt as though we needed, not protection, but Matt Rhead's made 10 fouls and the referee's not done anything about it.
"The first fouls our players make, the referee books them."