Sheehan brands decision to award Stevenage a late penalty as ‘soft’

Luton keeper Jonathan Mitchell is beaten from the spot by Michael Tonge
Luton keeper Jonathan Mitchell is beaten from the spot by Michael Tonge

Hatters defender Alan Sheehan felt it was a desperately soft decision by referee Darren Handley to award Stevenage a match-winning penalty during yesterday’s League Two clash at Kenilworth Road.

The visitors’ claimed all three points when with five minutes to go, Ben Kennedy appeared to throw himself over the challenge of Olly Lee in the area, with Handley immediately pointing to the spot.

Olly Lee and Alan Sheehan trudge back to the centre circle

Olly Lee and Alan Sheehan trudge back to the centre circle

Experienced midfielder Michael Tonge stepped up to beat Jonathan Mitchell as Sheehan said: “I thought it was very soft, he’s got across him, he’s got his body in and a very, very soft penalty to win game like that in a derby.

“There were a lot of soft things that went against us. It’s just one of them, as we couldn’t really get going and we’ll have to put it right.”

Hatters were denied a penalty of their own in the opening two minutes of the match when former defender Luke Wilkinson’s high boot on Jack Marriott went unpunished.

Manager Nathan Jones felt that was far more of a spotkick than Stevenage’s one, but conceded had Luton escaped with a point, it would have disguised a woeful display from his side.

“He’s got his body in and a very, very soft penalty to win game like that in a derby.”

Alan Sheehan

He said: “It’s more of a penalty than theirs, clearly, there’s way, way, way more contact than theirs, but that would mask a very poor performance.

“I can’t stand here and have a go at decisions, because that was as poor as we played.

“I would be a coward if I was going to blame the referee or have a go at the referee for that.

“It’s very, very, very soft, but I think a point would have just masked the fact we were poor

“You can play poor and your quality might not be there, but if you don’t have desire and you don’t press and you don’t work hard or outwork people that’s what happens. That was a performance that made me feel sick as we had no desire, they had way more desire than us.

“They pressed us with more intensity and that’s been our pride and joy.”

Sub Josh McQuoid who had replaced Joe Pigott earlier in the half admitted he didn’t have the best of views of the decision, but confirmed his team-mates closer to the actio nwere disappointed with the penalty award.

He added: “I think a lot of the team felt it was soft, I didn’t really see it as well as the other players, but sometimes they go for you and sometimes they don’t.

“I’ll have to see it back on the video, but Olly’s been fantastic this season, he’s a good player, so I don’t think anyone can blame him really.

“We all make mistakes, so we can’t dwell on that, we just need to kick on.”