Carlisle manager Keith Curle and Cobblers boss Chris Wilder were at loggerheads over the decision to allow Northampton’s first goal to stand in their 3-2 victory against United on Tuesday evening.
With Cobblers trailing 1-0 and on the back foot, it was the pivotal moment in the game as Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed in Nicky Adams’ corner to bring the hosts level right on the half-time whistle.
Crumbrians goalkeeper Mark Gillespie fell to ground as the corner came in but no foul was awarded, sparking strong protests from the visiting players and manager as the teams left the field for half-time.
But while Wilder shrugged off any suggestion of a foul, an upset Curle was adamant the goal should have been disallowed.
He said: “We had more than enough chances in the first half to give ourselves a cushion and we should have come into half-time at 1-0, but we’re disappointed with their first goal.
“We told the referee’s assistant to get himself into a good position because we’ve watched some of their set-pieces and we know they try to block the goalkeeper to make sure he can’t come out.
“They did that and the referee said he saw it but in his opinion it wasn’t a foul and if that’s not a foul on the goalkeeper then I don’t know what is.
“The frustrating thing is that he said he saw the infringement so if he sees it and thinks it’s not an infringement, then forget about it.
“They’ve got very good delivery and good movement in the box and they do and try infringe the goalkeeper, hoping that some of their movements and obstructions are not seen by lower league referees, and I think that was the case today.”
Aside from that incident, Curle felt his side had more than enough chances to put the game to bed before Calvert-Lewin’s equaliser.
”We told the referee’s assistant to get himself into a good position because we’ve watched some of their set-pieces and we know they try to block the goalkeeper to make sure he can’t come out.”Keith Curle
He added: “We take the positives. We gave them the runaround in the first half and put balls into the box and we were absolutely running them ragged.
“We had four or five great opportunities and if you score one then the game could have been out of sight.
“It could have been 3-0 at half-time and they couldn’t have had any complaints. Every time they looked up they couldn’t break us down and had nothing to get through us and we dealt with everything very comfortably.
“Then we don’t get a decision that should have been, then they get a lucky deflection and it gives them the impetus.
“We showed fantastic character. We knew we had goals in us and had we scored the second goal earlier we felt we would have gone on and got something out of the game.
“I think the pleasing thing is that we came with a game plan which was to get good possession and then find Derek (Asamoah) with quality balls forward in and around their centre-backs who in our opinion would not be able to deal with that.
“And I think it was evident that the game plan worked a treat. The final bit of the jigsaw was putting the ball into the back of the net, but I don’t criticise players for missing chances.
“As a team we’re creating chances and we came away from home and gave them a good run for their money.”