Hartlepool United anger over ‘penalty’ in Luton Town loss

Charlie Wyke is brought down inside the penalty area during the first half against Luton Town. Picture by FRANK REID
Charlie Wyke is brought down inside the penalty area during the first half against Luton Town. Picture by FRANK REID

ANGRY Sam Collins was left fuming with referee Paul Tierney for denying Hartlepool United a “stonewall” first-half penalty.

Collins believes if Pools had been awarded the 30th minute spot-kick they would have gone on to win the Sky Bet League Two match at Victoria Park.

Instead Luton Town took the lead five minutes before the break through Mark Cullen before sub Jim Stevenson sealed the win late on.

Pools - who were later awarded a penalty in the 92nd minute - were denied the first one after half an hour.

Winger Ryan Brobbel played in Charlie Wyke and he outpaced Luke Wilkinson only for the Hatters defender to bring the on-loan Boro striker down with a sliding challenge.

The strong appeals were waved away.

Collins said: “It was a massive call for the referee not to give it.

“I could see that it was a stonewall penalty and a terrible decision.

“If they are supposed to give the advantage to the attacking team then they certainly didn’t then.

“It was a penalty all day long.”

He added: “The referee first said he was too far away and then he said in his opinion he judged it that their lad touched the ball before Charlie.

“I was right there and no way in a million years did he.

“The linesman was right there as well, it was a really poor decision.”

Overall, the caretaker boss didn’t feel there was much to separate the two sides.

He admitted his side hadn’t played as well as they had against Exeter the week before but he thought they could have got something from the game.

Collins was, though, left to rue costly defensive errors from his side which ultimately proved the difference.

“The goals we conceded were poor from our point of view,” said Collins.

“Our organisation from a throw in, in our own half was poor and the winger has come inside, turned and got us facing towards our back four which is poor from our point of view.

“We have enough experienced players to deal with that.

“The second one, when their lad shoots and Scott saves it, our lads following it in are the wrong side of the lad that scored.

“We have to do the basics well.”

The win for John Still’s side saw them stay 4th in League Two, just four points off the top, while Pools dropped to third bottom.

Collins added: “Luton were very well organised and we knew when they didn’t have the ball they would drop into a 4-5-1 and make sure they were hard to beat.

“They then counter attack and are a dangerous team.

“Their two centre halves are tough boys - real leaders - and they will be alright in this league.

“We are not a million miles away, we just have to cut out these basic errors.”

- RICHARD MENNEAR