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Matthew Bates angry at Maidstone penalty call in Hartlepool's opening day draw

Liam Noble.
Liam Noble.

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates thinks his side were robbed of victory by a dive on the National League opening day.

Niko Muir was penalised by referee Alan Dale for a high foot as Maidstone United midfielder Ollie Muldoon went in with his head.

That penalty was tucked home by Blair Turgott from 12 yards before Liam Noble squared things up soon after.

Bates was disappointed with both the referee and player as his side had to settle for a point at the Gallagher Stadium.

"Their goal is a dive," said Bates.

"The player has expected the contact. I don't know why the referee has given it. I think he was desperate to give something.

"Would we have bitten right back after falling behind last season? I am not sure we would have so for me we've shown good character.

"On the balance of the game we had much better chances."

Despite the obvious anger at the call, Bates was delighted with his players' performances in Kent.

"It was an encouraging display," said Bates.

"We looked comfortable away from home. There were a lot of positives for me to take from it.

"We have held our own and probably shaded the game."