BANTAMS boss Mark Hughes insisted Matty Platt's second-half dismissal at Mansfield was "hard to understand", and was relieved it did not cost his side the three points he felt they deserved.

City beat the Stags 2-1 last night to maintain their spot in the League Two play-offs, bringing a four-game winless run in all competitions to an end.

In a game of three parts, a turgid opening 25 minutes was followed by a dominant display from City in the 40 minutes either side of half-time, which put them 2-0 in front.

But Platt's dismissal after 65 minutes, a soft second yellow card for a little tug on George Lapslie on the halfway line, followed by the Bantams centre-half kicking the ball away in frustration, threatened to change the game.

Mansfield halved the deficit almost immediately afterwards, and City had to put their bodies on the line, and time their tackles and headers at the back perfectly, to ensure they came away with victory.

Hughes told the T&A after the match: "The referee (Simon Mather) played a hand in that.

"I'm not sure anybody understood why he deemed it fit to give Matty Platt two yellow cards.

"It completely changed the game because we were in total control.

"It just put us on the back foot, because we didn't see it coming and didn't understand why it had happened.

"We conceded almost immediately after the red card, I think because we were still a bit in shock from the referee's decision.

"But from that point onwards, we understood what was needed to protect the result that we certainly deserved.

"We dug in and everyone played a part, the lads who were subbed off late on did a shift, and the ones who came on understood they needed to get up to speed quickly to make sure we kept the opposition out.

"Even though we were down to 10 men they didn't create a great deal, because we got our shape and desire right, and we were a threat going the other way at times.

"Credit to the players, I was really proud of them, and I was proud of the response from the fans too.

"They were magnificent, and came in huge numbers once again (1,416 Bantams supporters made the trip).

"They got us over the line towards the end."

Mansfield were level on points with the Bantams going into the game, and would have replaced them in the play-off spots if the result had gone the other way.

Asked if this felt like a statement win, Hughes said: "It was important to bounce back from the weekend too, as it was a flat performance (in the FA Cup against Harrogate) on Saturday.

"We tried to get to the bottom of that ahead of this game, talking about things we didn't do, and how we'd need to do different things and things in a better fashion to get a result here.

"I saw that straight from the off tonight, so they clearly took on board what was needed to get a better level of performance, and we were able to get a really deserved victory."

City completely controlled that middle part of the game, with exciting attacking talent like Tyreik Wright, Scott Banks and Harry Chapman coming to the fore.

Hughes said: "You have to give the opposition a bit of credit, and understood that as a home side, in that opening period, they should give you an indication of how they'll go about their business.

"Sometimes you have to allow that understanding to permeate through your team, and once you realise which areas to attack and get positive moments from, you can try and do that.

"We got into wide areas really well, we kept the ball, switched the play, and I felt it was a really good performance."

Asked about the importance of ensuring this performance kickstarts a winning run, following three consecutive league draws, Hughes said: "The games against Crawley and Swindon in that run could very easily have been six points on the board.

"Our performance levels have been okay, Saturday's FA Cup game excepted.

"We knew we were at a decent level, and we knew that as long as we competed and were on the front foot tonight like we have been in other games recently, which we certainly were, we'd have a good chance of beating Mansfield."