Cobblers striker Richards backs referee Collins over last-gasp penalty award

MAN UNDER FIRE - referee Lee Collins was the centre of attention at Mansfield on Saturday (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
MAN UNDER FIRE - referee Lee Collins was the centre of attention at Mansfield on Saturday (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

Marc Richards felt the decision to award the Cobblers a penalty in stoppage time at Mansfield was a brave call by the referee - but the only one he got right in the game.

Town were given a spot-kick when Junior Brown brought down substitute Ivan Toney in the third minute of added time and Richards duly dispatched it to secure a 1-1 draw.

Referee Lee Collins had a busy afternoon, booking nine players and sending off John-Joe O’Toole, but came in for post-match criticism from representatives from both clubs.

Richards, though, did have a word of praise for the official for holding his nerve and making the decision at such a tense time of the game.

“I have to say congratulations for Ivan for getting the penalty - he worked tremendously hard and he’s got that in his locker where he can just put the ball through a player’s legs and the lad just took him out,” said Richards.

“I was trying to get the referee to speed things up because Mansfield tried to slow it down just like they’d slowed everything down all afternoon after they scored.

“It wasn’t a pretty game to watch and it wasn’t a pretty game to be involved in either.

“Without a doubt, it’s a brave decision, especially with them being 1-0 up and it being in front of their own fans.

“It was probably the one decision he got right and thankfully it earned us a point but we’ve played better than that and lost this season.”

There were some suggestions from the Mansfield camp that Toney dived to win the penalty and that he was not in control of the ball but the teenage striker denies both of those accusations.

“If he (Brown) wasn’t in the way I would have got on the end of it,” said Toney. “He body-checked me and I would have had a clear shot if he hadn’t done that.

“He’s body-checked me and it was a penalty because if it wasn’t, the ref wouldn’t have given it.

“If it’s a foul, it’s a foul and he obviously thought that it was a foul.”