Hessenthaler 'proud' of Dover performance - but hits out at officials after FA Cup loss to Peterborough United
Andy Hessenthaler was beaming with his pride at his Dover Athletic players' performance in their 3-0 FA Cup second round defeat at Peterborough United on Sunday - but also hit out at referee Brett Huxtable and his assistants for missing two key incidents.
The National League side gave a good account of themselves in the clash at the Weston Homes Stadium, and only trailed 1-0 until the 79th minute when Frankie Kent prodded home Posh's second goal.
Moments before that strike, Dover had hit the post through midfielder Jack Munns, while Hessenthaler felt that his side should have had an earlier penalty when Ricky Modeste went down in the area.
Posh then wrapped the match up with a third through Mo Eisa on 84 minutes, with Hessenthaler claiming Serhat Tasdemir had been 'two yards offside' in the build up, a moment he called 'embarrassing' for the linesman.
"I am proud of the players, I think we more than matched them, and I think 3-0 is a bit harsh on us," said Hessenthaler.
"We just needed a little bit more quality in the final third, because up until the second goal I thought we were well in it, and we perhaps the better side.
"We hit the outside of the post, and they went up the other end and scored from a corner, which is disappointing."
And he added: "I felt we should have had a penalty, and I think the referee got that wrong.
"I have seen the gash on Ricky's knee and that was 100 per cent a penalty, and we could have had a penalty before that as well because it was handball.
"But he missed that, and then for the third goal, I saw it on the big screen and he (Tasdemir) is two yards offside.
"I don't think an official can get that wrong at this level, it's a bit embarrassing, so I am disappointed with the performance of the officials, but I am proud of the performance of my players, I thought they were excellent.
"Things went against us today, but we pushed a league one side all the way and credit to the players."
Dover had suffered a real setback just seven minutes into the game when Ivan Toney fired Posh in front with a glorious volley from fully 30 yards out, puncing on a weak defensive header from Will De-Havilland to thrashed the ball past stranded goalkeeper Lee Worgan.
Hessenthaler called the goal a 'wonder strike', but felt it was totally avoidable on his side's part.
"We are disappointed because Will has read it wrong, and he should have just the let the ball go through to the goalkeeper," said the Dover boss.
"He has ended up falling backwards and is struggling to head the ball and has sent it straight to the lad Toney.
"It is a wonder strike, but it was avoidable on our part.
"Will has only just come back, that was his first game today, and if he lets the ball go through to the keeper then there is no problem and no goal.
"But we all make mistakes and Ivan Toney punished him for it. It was a fantastic strike."