DISAPPOINTED Tommy Miller believes Hartlepool United were denied a “blatant” penalty in the final minute of their 1-0 defeat to Stevenage at the weekend, writes RICHARD MENNEAR.
On Saturday, the 35-year-old central midfielder was making his second debut for the club, 13 years after he was sold to Ipswich in 2001 for a club record fee of £750,000.
A Chris Whelpdale strike on the hour mark secured the three points for Graham Westley’s side on the opening day of Sky Bet League Two.
But Pools should have had a penalty in the 95th minute.
Loanee winger Ryan Brobbel was bundled over in the box but the strong calls for a spot kick from the travelling fans and players fell on deaf ears.
Experienced Miller, who went on to play for Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Swindon Town and Bury, said the Pools camp had been full of confidence going into the match at the Lamex Stadium and said there were disappointed to come away with nothing.
Miller said: “Towards the end we pushed forward and I think we could have had a penalty.
“It was blatant and the linesman was in a good position to give it.
“Before they scored though they were threatening and our keeper has made some fantastic saves and that is probably why he is the best goalkeeper in the league, without a doubt.
“It is disappointing but we move onto the next game,” added the Shotton Colliery-born veteran.
Miller believes his side got “sucked in” to the way that the physical Stevenage side approached the game but felt Colin Cooper’s side should have done better when they did have the ball.
He added: “We could have passed the ball a lot better and maybe we got sucked into how they play.
“They like to go long, are a bit physical and are good at what they do.
“I’m sure they they’ll be up the top end of the table by the end of the season.
“Possibly Scott [Flinders] and the defence had to do too much but coming away first game of the season was always going to be tough and to a side relegated last season who will want to bounce back quickly.
“But we came here and expected to get the points having trained well. I don’t think we played to our maximum, certainly not passing.
“We can definitely pass the ball better yet we could have maybe nicked a point towards the end.”
Miller had been on trial at Pools for the past few weeks, featuring in several pre-season matches, and he was pleased to have secured a permanent deal.
The central midfielder, who has more than 500 league appearances in his career, has been handed the Number 10 shirt at The Vic.
Miller told SportMail: “I am delighted to be back here.
“Obviously I have been training with the squad for a couple of weeks now and I was just pleased it all got sorted in the end.
“There are some good young players here and I want to help push them along.
“It was an easy decision to come back.
“I did have an opportunity to go abroad, a friend of mine manages a team in Finland and there season is on now having started a couple of months ago.
“But I was wanting to wait and the Hartlepool thing came up and I was delighted.”