Hatters striker left gobsmacked after late penalty appeals are turned down

Isaac Vassell wasn't awarded a penalty despite being hauled to the ground by Robins defender Jack Barthram

Isaac Vassell wasn't awarded a penalty despite being hauled to the ground by Robins defender Jack Barthram

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Striker Isaac Vassell was left absolutely gobsmacked after he wasn’t awarded a late penalty during Town’s 3-2 home defeat to Cheltenham last night.

In the final moments, Vassell was first to Scott Cuthbert’s knock down and just eight yards from goal, looked an absolute certainty to score, only to be wrestled to the ground by Robins defender Jack Barthram.

I’m in on goal and I’ve been impeded, I can’t shoot, I can’t do anything because he’s on my back, basically.

Isaac Vassell

With the 6,708 crowd inside Kenilworth Road all expecting to see referee John Busby point to the spot, the official somehow deemed it a fair challenge, waving away the appeals.

A bewildered Vassell said afterwards: “It’s a pen. In my eyes it’s a pen. If he doesn’t foul me there I score, I go on and just score, just tap it in.

“I don’t know where the referee was positioned, I don’t know what the lino was looking at either, but I went to shoot and I’ve just been bundled over from behind, so there’s nothing I can do in that situation.

“They’ve looked at it again and told me it was a pen. I’m not one to go down in that situation, right there, when I’ve got basically an open goal.

“I’m not going to go down there, I’m just going to finish it. I don’t know what the ref was thinking.”

When asked if he had been given a reason behind the penalty not being awarded, Vassell continued: “He sort of ran off after that and the game was still building up but I think someone said to him after the game about it and he just said, ‘it seemed to be that, as soon as he felt the contact, he went down’, but that confuses me because I’m just going to score there, I’m in on goal and I’ve been impeded, I can’t shoot, I can’t do anything because he’s on my back, basically.

“I don’t know what he’s seen and I don’t know what he’s thought either.”

Meanwhile, boss Nathan Jones added: “The best we could have asked for after conceding three goals is a draw, and we should have got a draw as there was a stonewall penalty right at the end.

“But to have to score three to draw a game, it’s not us, it’s not what we do, so I’m just disappointed really.”