Alexander slams officials over penalty snub

Town's late penalty claim
Town's late penalty claim

Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander blasted referee Geoff Eltringham over a last-ditch penalty appeal – claiming his side were robbed of two points.

Alan Goodall’s injury time header was handled inside the Newport area, Alexander saying the midfielder had been denied a goal and insisting his side should have had a ‘stonewall penalty.’

It was just one of a number of frustrating moments as Town played out their second consecutive 0-0 draw.

Alexander believes his side should have had a victory which would have pushed them back within touching distance of the top three.

He said: “I thought it was two points taken away from us because I thought our team was fantastic.

“They defended ever so well against a lot of pressure.

“But we’ve attacked as well and should have taken the lead in the first half.

“But we’ve had a stonewall penalty turned down in the last minute. The officials have said it’s hit his hand, it’s above his head but it’s not deliberate.

“Work that out... why is his hand above his head?

“If his hand isn’t there Alan Goodall’s header goes in.

“It’s a hard pill to swallow for us and it would have been a great three points.”

Mr Eltringham’s late decision caused fury within the Fleetwood camp, Town’s players desperate to end their four-game goal drought.

Alexander was left to try and undertand the referee’s decision

“Everyone saw it, even the officials saw it,” he said.

“They are telling me it’s not deliberate, but that’s not a rule.

“If the hand is above the head it’s handball.

“Of course my players are angry because they’ve put so much in.

“They are bitterly disappointed.”

It was the latest moment in a month plagued by bad luck.

But Alexander won’t let his players feel sorry for themselves.

He insists that it is up to them to kick start another push for promotion with 12 games of the League Two campaign remaining.

Next up comes a trip to rock-bottom Torquay, the perfect chance to begin turning the season around.

“It feels a little bit like things aren’t going our way,” admitted Alexander

“But I’ve said to the lads nobody’s going to give us anything, nobody’s going to feel sorry for us.

“We’ve just got to keep working for ourselves, like we did tonight.

“If we keep working hard it will turn for us, we will get that break in front of goal.

“But we’ve kept the clean sheet, we’ve defended really well and worked so hard for each other.

“It’s another small step forward and we have to go again on Saturday.”

Fleetwood’s performance against Newport was another improvement over the displays of recent weeks, with Alexander’s side showing a lot more steel and determination in last night’s encounter.