Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates has described Carl Magnay’s handball which cost his side an FA Cup victory as a “moment of madness”.
With added time at the end of the 90 already up against Gillingham, Magnay stretched up to handle in the area.
The resulting penalty sent the game to extra time, with Pools eventually losing 4-3 after the extra 30 minutes.
Bates refused to blame his experienced defender, instead preferring to focus on his pride at his squad pushing a League One side all the way.
“I’m gutted, gutted for the lads who gave us everything,” said Bates.
“The game plan was working and they gave me all I can ask for.
“Last kick of the game for the penalty, I’ve looked at it and it’s longer than the added time put on.
“I would be worried if I wasn’t getting the performances, but I am. We let them have the ball and we knew that would be the case and we got them on the counter attack.”
On Magnay’s handball, he added: “Carl was magnificent on the night - he really was.
“He won’t know himself what has gone through his head, it was a sickener at the death for us and for him. It was a moment of madness. But he has held his hands up in the dressing room and we move on.
“He will go through his career and make more mistakes, that’s just football.
“There’s plenty of positives to take from this performance and I still believed it could be done in extra time.”
Another player picked out for praise on the night was Paddy McLaughlin, who scored his first goal in blue and white since a summer move from Gateshead.
“Paddy deserved his goal from his performances, he has been brilliant,” said Bates.
“He has been a top professional wide left or in the middle.”