MATCH REACTION: '˜Horrendous' referee bottled it says angry Peterborough United boss Steve Evans
A furious Steve Evans described 'horrendous' referee Craig Hicks as a 'bottler' after Peterborough United's controversial last-minute defeat at play-off rivals Plymouth Argyle.
The Posh manager had no complaints with the stoppage time penalty which saw Graham Carey deliver Argyle a 2-1 win to leapfrog Posh into the top six, but he was enraged by the sending off of Liam Shephard on 75 minutes for what appeared to be an innocuous coming together with Carey.
Further decisions by the referee not to send off Argyle’s Jamie Ness for a foul on George Cooper, or Ryan Taylor for catching Jack Baldwin in the area, were also criticised by Evans.
It was Baldwin’s aerial challenge which saw Plymouth seal the win, more than 80 minutes after Jack Marriott’s 32nd goal of the season had given Posh the lead.
Taylor then equalised for Argyle, while Posh ended the match with nine men as Steven Taylor was sent off for delaying the taking of Carey’s penalty.
Posh now sit in eighth place but are just one point outside the play-offs.
Speaking about the referee’s performance, Evans said: “It’s a penalty, there’s no disputing that. He sends my right-back off and says it’s an elbow, but from the video evidence I’ve just watched we will appeal - it’s a shambolic decision.
“The tackle on the boy Ness on George Cooper - he’s already on a yellow. Perhaps it’s a straight red. If you give him the benefit it’s a second yellow.
“He’s a buckler for me. I’m not questioning his integrity and his honesty but he’s produced a diabolical performance in such a big game for both clubs.
“We didn’t get beat by Plymouth, we got beaten by a horrendous referee. But if you look at the game we started really well and went in front.
“We played great football and should have scored a second one but George Cooper put it over the bar. They get a goal for me against the run of play. Plymouth then have a little spell.
“Second-half they have more of the ball than us, but let’s look at the decisions. Let’s look at why Ness is on the park and Ryan Taylor, who elbows a player.
“Players are honest. I’ve spoken to two or three Plymouth boys as I’m walking off and they don’t know why Ness is on the pitch or Ryan Taylor.
“There’s defining moments. Liam Shephard’s is never a red card. If Steven Taylor has said something inappropriate the referee has the right to take whatever action he takes.
“But these are not fine line decisions. He’s cost us a good point.
“He should not be in League One. He’s had seven or eight games in League One and when you check his stats - and all managers check them - probably none in an atmosphere like today, probably not with the value of the game there is today, and he buckled it.”
Evans was once again full of praise for Marriott, describing him as “gold dust,” and was pleased with Cooper who replaced Marcus Maddison after the forward turned his ankle in training on Friday.
Attention now turns to next weekend’s match at home to Rochdale which is followed by trips to first and third in the table - Blackburn Rovers and Shrewsbury Town.