Chelmsford City manager Rod Stringer was left frustrated after a highly contentious penalty cost his side vital Vanarama National League South points against in-form Wealdstone at Grosvenor Vale on Saturday.
Ricky Wellard’s deflected strike was adjudged to have been handled by Josh Hill, leaving the Clarets chief fuming at the match referee’s decision.
Stringer said: “It was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen. On the day I feel that the referee has earned them a point and cost us two. I’m angry, but that’s where we are at the moment.
“It was never a penalty. You’ve only got to have a look back at it. For me, it was never a penalty in a million years. Unfortunately for us, the game has all boiled down to that decision. That’s even more frustrating for me because although they gave their man of the match to a striker, it was clearly their keeper who should have been picking it up.”
Stringer was equally frustrated that his side had passed up a number of chances to put the contest beyond doubt prior to the penalty incident, adding: “I’m not a little bit disappointed, I’m very disappointed. For an away performance we played well enough. If you looked at the stats we created the bulk of the clear cut opportunities, which unfortunately we haven’t taken. I don’t think we have played particularly badly, but we certainly weren’t brilliant. But it was a hardworking performance and with a little bit better finishing we win the match.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start, taking the lead in the first few minutes through a very well taken goal by Louie Theophanous. After that, Wealdstone’s goalkeeper has pulled off a string of great saves to keep his side in it.
“I said to the lads at half-time that we should have been three or four goals to the good. It was an issue with me that we hadn’t taken the chances we had created. It’s ended up costing us because they’ve come out and had a decent spell, in which they’ve been presented an opportunity to score from what I believe was a totally outrageous decision.”
The Clarets boss was happy to see new front man, Louie Theophanous, score for the second successive match, saying: “Louie has done well. I felt for him a little bit because he kept getting pulled off-side, a lot of which I thought was very questionable. Whenever he used his strength to hold up the ball he was penalised. He was clearly getting frustrated.
“But he’s had a great start for us and has given us an extra threat. He’s got a goal at home and away in his first two games, and play well too, it’s been a good start. I think he’s disappointed that he hasn’t come away with the match ball. He feels that he has cost us because he should have done better. I like that attitude in a player.”
However, there was no hiding the manager’s frustrations: “As much as I want to be positive in my interviews, I’ve seen a penalty against Maidenhead United kill us and now another one here has cost us too.
“The only penalty decision against us recently I’d agree with was Hemel Hempstead Town. That was a penalty, but the others have been very questionable. They are big decisions in tight games that have cost us”.