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Fleet boss blasts ref over late penalty decision
STEVE Brown blasted the referee’s refusal to award his side a penalty after Ebbsfleet United’s uneventful 0-0 draw at home to Boreham Wood on Saturday.
With the game in the final minute, Fleet winger Anthony Cook seemed to be tripped inside the box, but the referee, who replaced original injured official Lloyd Wood at half-time, was unmoved.
The decision left Fleet boss Brown bemused and he confronted the man in black at the end of the game.
“It’s an absolutely stonewall penalty in the final minute”, he said.
“Anthony Cook cut inside of the full-back, and although I try not to be critical of referees as they have a tough job, I just don’t understand how he can’t see it was a penalty.
“I walked on the pitch and threw my pad down, as I couldn’t understand it.
“It was one of those where everyone thought it was a penalty bar the one person you need to give it.
“All the players stopped and the fans were celebrating, yet he waved play on.
“You scratch your head, but it will make no difference in the way we approach the week ahead in terms of training.
“People say these decisions even themselves out across the season but they need to start doing that soon, as we’re not getting the rub of the green.”
Brown added: “It was a replacement ref and I think his performance was of one who came to be a linesman, it was very inadequate.
“I thought the ref had been hoodwinked a few times, as their number six was pulling Andy Pugh’s shirts at corners but was getting free-kicks given to him.
“If you are a referee who has played the game, you know they’re not free-kicks.
“Shane Huke got booked for something I didn’t even think was a free-kick.”
It was the Fleet’s sixth draw of the season and they have only won one of their nine matches so far, yet Brown maintains his side can turn their indifferent form around.
He said: “If you look at the statistics, it was very similar to what Bath came here to do.
“Boreham Wood came to frustrate by playing a 4-5-1 formation and I thought we dealt with their striker very well.
“It’s a symptom of our game teams come here trying not to lose.
“The strikers have found it difficult to hit the back of the net, which has been the story of our season if I’m honest.
“All we can do is keep training and getting them comfortable with finishing.”
Brown added: “With the best will in the world, they’re human beings and confidence can become affected.
“Strikers, by their sheer nature, are a little fragile like that.
“When the ball’s going in they’re confident, but if it’s not their confidence may desert them.
“I can only speak highly of them, though, as they’re performing well.
“We haven’t got the goals or the points we deserve but we can only keep working on the training ground to try and turn the draws into wins.”
The Fleet now take a break from the league and host Folkestone Invicta in the FA Cup on Saturday.
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