A FRUSTRATED Colin Cooper was left cursing referee Andrew Madley for getting the “big two decisions wrong” in Hartlepool United’s 2-1 defeat at Wycombe Wanderers.
Second-half goals from Dean Morgan and Matt McClure secured all three points for strugglers Wycombe in the Sky Bet League Two match at a sun-kissed Adams Park.
But Cooper was adamant Pools should have had a clear penalty in the third minute for a push on Luke James and felt Wycombe’s second should have been ruled out for a foul on Scott Flinders in the build-up to McClure’s free header.
It was a gut-wrenching defeat for Cooper’s side, who went in at the break leading 1-0 courtesy of a fine strike from on-loan Manchester United forward Jack Barmby.
But two sloppy goals in the second-half secured Gareth Ainsworth’s side victory, pushing them seven points clear of the drop zone while Pools drop to 10th but remain five points off the top seven.
It was a frustrating afternoon all round, with most of that angst being aimed at Mr Madley in the middle.
“I believe the referee got the two big decisions wrong,” said Cooper who insists it was a game Pools shouldn’t have lost.
“Referees are judged on key match incidents. It is okay reffing the game between the two 18-yard boxes but the key incidents are what make and break games.
“I thought Scott [Flinders] was fouled but I will have a look at it.
“If it looks as though he
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has been fouled and he has stopped and the referee has not given it, then maybe that is something Scott has to look at himself.
“But I think as soon as he is blocked off the referee can blow his whistle, stop the game and nobody is none the wiser.
“What has made it worse is that Matt McClure gets a free header from about six yards – that shouldn’t happen at any point.”
The other big talking point was the Pools penalty appeal.
James was pushed by Anthony Stewart when clean through but Cooper was left reeling with the decision not to award the spot kick – and the reason why.
“I believe they should have had a penalty against them and a man sent off but the referee won’t entertain it,” said Cooper.
“The referee said there was contact but it was a coming together – not contact as in he is bringing him down in the box.
“Luke knows what happened – he was bundled from behind and lost his footing.
“The defender is trying to get back, can’t get goalside of Luke, is putting him under pressure from behind to try and avoid Luke getting a shot off and has bundled him over.
“It is a penalty and a red card but we can’t do anything about that because he hasn’t given it.”
Cooper said afterwards he will be asking for feedback from the West Yorkshire referee.
“Referees have not got an easy job, I understand that,” reflected Cooper.
“But I believe he has got two big match decisions wrong in that Wycombe have managed to keep 11 on the field and not had a penalty against them and the way they scored the second goal, which turned out to be the winner.
“If they are not key match incident’s then I don’t know what is.
“I think he got it wrong, he does not, I will ask for feedback and I know the answer I will get.
“There is no point crying over spilt milk.”
There was one positive though and that was a third goal in Pools colours for Barmby, who lofted a volley into the top right-hand corner of the net from 14-yards after a chest down from Marlon Harewood.
“Jack’s goal was excellent,” added Cooper.
“The finish itself, which came from a Darren Holden throw and Marlon knock-down, shows the quality that the young boy has.
“What we are trying to do is to teach him about his responsibilities out of possession.
“In possession we know he is pretty good but that is a learning curve for a young boy.”