Carlisle United manager John Sheridan felt his side ‘did enough’ to beat the Cobblers on Saturday as he bemoaned referee Tom Nield’s ‘ridiculous’ decision not to award the Cumrbians a ‘stonewall penalty’ in stoppage-time.
United had the lead through Jamie Devitt’s superb 30-minute strike but Town turned the game around as Kevin van Veen headed home shortly before half-time and then Matt Crooks swept in a second just past the hour-mark.
How the referee hasn’t seen that handball is beyond me. Everyone else sees it and he doesn’t. It’s a penalty all day long for me. It’s a ridiculous decision when you compare it to what does get given.
But Hallam Hope restored parity within 90 seconds and Carlisle might have taken all three points during a spell of late pressure, especially when David Buchanan flung himself at a goalbound shot and the ball appeared to strike his arm.
“We had a stonewall penalty in my opinion,” said Sheridan. “How the referee hasn’t seen that handball is beyond me. Everyone else sees it and he doesn’t. It’s a penalty all day long for me. It’s a ridiculous decision when you compare it to what does get given.
“I asked him about it after the game, because it was a clear handball, and all he said was that it wasn’t inside the box. If it’s a clear handball and it’s not inside the box, that means it’s a free-kick.
“It wasn’t given, but the lad had his hand up and he’s blocked the ball. The keeper would have had to make a save if it hadn’t hit the hand, so something should have been given.”
Both Carlisle and Northampton enjoyed periods on top during Saturday’s encounter but neither could convert their chances as they picked up their first points of the season.
“I’m very pleased with the performance,” declared Sheridan. “It’s disappointing that all we got was a point from it because I thought we did enough win it.
“I felt we started the game well. We were getting into good areas in midfield and we were overloading them when we had the ball.
“I’ll say it again, we look a really good team when we pass it, and then we got a great goal from Jamie Devitt. We were on top of the game after he put that away and then I feel we do silly little things and our mindset just switches off sometimes.
“That can cost you, as we saw, and their goal came out of nothing, probably against the run of play. However, Northampton are a team that are always a threat because they’ve got players in Van Veen and Williams who were scoring goals at League One level.
“They’re a handful, but we coped with them quite well. Overall it’s a performance I’m really pleased with and a lot of credit goes to the players for the way they’ve gone about things.”