Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley was unhappy with the performance of referee Michael Salisbury during his side’s 1-1 draw with the Cobblers on Saturday, pointing to two key decisions in particular.
The Imps boss seem to take issue with Harry Anderson’s first-half red card, sent off for a strong challenge on David Buchanan, and he also felt his side should have had an injury-time penalty for handball against John-Joe O’Toole.
I think sometimes refs go into the game with this preconception that they’ve got to be strong and they can’t be influenced by the crowd.
Cowley said: “A lot went against us in the first-half, didn’t it? We started the game without Michael Bostwick, who’s a key player for us, and then we lost our captain 25 minutes in from a collision that happened on the edge of their area a few minutes in when he got hit on the hip, but we didn’t get the foul.
“Then obviously Harry gets sent off and we concede just before half-time and all of those things went against us which makes it really tough.
“You come in at half-time and you have a choice – you’re a victim or a fighter and lucky for us we have a group of fighters and they responded brilliantly in the second-half.”
Cowley’s touchline antics didn’t go unnoticed by Keith Curle or Cobblers supporters on Saturday, with his relentless protesting at the fourth official becoming a regular feature throughout the afternoon.
“It’s an intimidating place to referee and I think sometimes refs go into the game with this preconception that they’ve got to be strong and they can’t be influenced by the crowd,” he added.
“But the real strong referees give what they see and I didn’t think we got much all day. The sending off I need to see again.
“There’s certainly no intent. Harry loses the ball and catches him but there’s no intent and I think sometimes referees have to understand and be clever in those moments, but I respect it’s a tough job.
“The rule for handball is if the arm in an unnatural position, and they were right above his head, but I never like it when I hear managers moaning about officials. I try not to do it so I won’t say anymore on that.”
Lincoln had been given the lead by Bruno Andrade’s fine finish on 27 minutes, but Anderson’s red card was followed by Aaron Pierre making it 1-1, and that’s how it finished.
“I’m proud of the way that we battled against adversity,” continued Cowley. “When our backs are against the wall, we’re pretty good, aren’t we?
“I don’t think you’d have known it was 10 against 11 in the second-half and the fact they were settling for a draw with 15 minutes to go show how well we played.
“We scored a really good goal. It was a great ball by Neal Eardley, great link-up play by John Akinde and then it was a super finish because he had a lot to do.
“I was delighted with the goal but we were disappointed with ourselves in the first half-an-hour because we didn’t get the tempo or intensity in our play that we wanted.
“We were flat but the goal put us in a good place in the game and then it’s unfortunate with the sending off.”