David Artell was disappointed that Crewe Alexandra exited the FA Cup at the second round stage following our 2-1 defeat to Cheltenham after extra-time. Chris Porter had drawn us level with his first goal of the season in the second half but a diving header from George Lloyd knocked the Alex out in extra-time.
The Alex boss was left frustrated by our overall performance and inability to turn our possession into chances, but he also felt let down by the officiating at the Jonny Rocks Stadium.
Artell felt the officials missed the two key decisions that could well have swung the cup tie in our favour. The referee showed a yellow card rather than a red for a professional foul on Chris Porter in the first half and then he missed a blatant pull back on Owen Dale in the second half when he should have awarded Crewe a penalty.
Following our extra-time defeat to the Robins, Artell told us: “We wanted to start fast and impose ourselves on the game but we found ourselves 1-0 down after three minutes. Following the goal, it took us a bit of time to get going and the referee didn’t help with that.
“It was a professional foul on Chris (Porter), his next touch would have been a shot at goal, so the defender is the last man. I couldn’t understand the decision and it was the wrong one.
“Me and Michael (Duff) have played over 1,000 professional games combined and we both said that he was the worst referee we had seen in the game. He got a lot wrong, I would say about 80% of the decisions, and that was for both sides.
“I am more annoyed because the two real key decisions went against us. It should have been a red card and that changes the entire game, if they are reduced to ten men with an hour left. We should then have had a penalty when Owen was pulled down. Everyone saw it and it was like a rugby tackle. Again, I couldn’t understand it because it was so blatant.
“I will have to watch what I say because I don’t want to get a fine from the FA, but it marred the game for both sides and it didn’t help with his control of the game and the incident at the end. I didn't see it myself and will investigate it. If one of our players has acted foolishly at the end in that scuffle, then I will deal with him, internally. Rest assured I will look at that.
“The referee has got the two key decisions wrong and I am not stood here after losing and expressing sour grapes. I know Cheltenham agree with me and his inconsistent decisions ruined the game in my opinion.
He added: “Those decisions went against us but we cannot use that as an excuse. We have had a dip in form and three or four were below par today. We have to be better and we had a constructive chat in the dressing room. The players were just reminded of the standard they have created over the past two years.
“We cannot keep losing by the odd goal, and think it is acceptable. We went over a few things, as a team, like we do, and I said what needed to be said.”