Mystified Curle at odds with counterpart Wellens over Cobblers’ phantom penalty

Keith Curle
Keith Curle

Cobblers boss Keith Curle was mystified by the decision to overturn the awarding of a late penalty for his side during their 1-1 draw with Swindon Town on Boxing Day, although Robins boss Richie Wellens shared a very different viewpoint.

With only a few minutes to go, referee Antony Coggins appeared to point to the spot after a collision involving Cobblers midfielder Matt Crooks and Swindon’s Kaiyne Woolery in the penalty box.

The referee gave a penalty and then changed his mind. He gave it for handball and then gave a free-kick to Swindon for dangerous play after it.

But, after consulting with his assistants, Coggins changed his mind and instead awarded the visitors a free-kick for Crooks’ high boot, which seemed to catch Woolery in the face.

Curle struggled to understand how he reached that decision though, saying: “The referee gave a penalty and then changed his mind. He gave it for handball and then gave a free-kick to Swindon for dangerous play after it.

“Well, if you give the penalty, stick to it because the lad has raised his hands and made contact with the ball. After that our player, when attempting to kick the ball, hits him in the face but handball is handball.

“The analyst shouted down to the coach for handball and a penalty as the referee pointed to the spot but then he changed his mind.

“I spoke to the fourth official and asked for his view but he didn’t see it because he was talking to their bench. If I go and speak to them, I end up paying a £500 donation to the FA.

“I’ve not once been able to change a referee’s mind during or after a game. You’ve got to give them half-an-hour to get their stories right.

“I thought the referee did OK and the linesmen did OK. They’re just doing their jobs to make decisions and they make them honestly but, like players and managers, they will make mistakes.”

Swindon boss Wellens, meanwhile, was flabbergasted by the initial awarding of a spot-kick. “You head it in your own six-yard box, someone kicks your head and you give away a penalty?,” he said. “I actually thought he gave the penalty but he got the decision right in the end.”