Defiant Town made light of some awful refereeing as they battled to an impressive 2-1 win at play-off hopefuls Grimsby Town on Tuesday night to go 17 points clear at the top of the Skrill Premier, writes Mark Wood.
Powerful midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu was the most wronged as a number of niggles went unpunished, before he raced clean through on 71 minutes and was clearly taken out by the keeper when certain to score, only for the officials to bizarrely play on.
Mpanzu was glad it didn’t prove to be pivotal, as he said: “The ball bounced to Andre (Gray) and he tried to play it over and their player took a bad touch and I was running on to it and dinked it over the keeper and he brought me down.
“I looked at the referee and he didn’t give me anything. I asked him why it wasn’t a penalty and he said the keeper ran into me, and I was thinking that has to be a penalty anyway.
“He knows that he brought me down, regardless we still got three points.
“We won the game and the referee’s not going to give us everything so I’m glad to get three points and push us 17 points clear of Cambridge.”
Boss John Still was shocked that the incident had been overlooked by the officials, with the linesman seemingly at first indicating a foul before putting his flag down.
“Crazy,” he said. “I was at a reasonable angle and it just looks like he took him out.
“But the crazy thing was he actually said it to the referee when the game was over and Pelly was talking to him.
“He said, ref ask him if it was a foul, and he said I mistimed it and I fouled him.
“It’s a crazy decision, absolutely crazy. But it doesn’t matter now.”
The former West Ham man was part of an incredibly youthful midfield that also featured starlets Cameron McGeehan and Matt Robinson.
Still said: “You have to understand when you look at our three midfield players they’re all babies.
“But they can all run, they can all chase, they can all challenge and I think that overrides a little bit of experience in losing (Luke) Guttridge and Jonathan Smith because of their energy levels.
“I thought we saw Pelly back to his surging best at times today, some of his runs forward...
“We’ve just got to get him a little bit fitter.”
Mpanzu looked back to his best on the night after fully recovering from an ankle knock, as he added: “I need to put in performances. We’re coming to the end of the season and hopefully we can push on and keep pushing ourselves away from Cambridge. Right now I’m fully fit so it’s going all right.”