FYLDE coach Mark Nelson bemoaned “a blatant knock on” missed by the referee as a crucial turning point in Fylde’s defeat at Old Albanians.
Trailing by just two points at half-time, Fylde saw the match drift away from them as the St Albans side scored two converted tries in three minutes early in the second half.
The second of those tries, Nelson argued, followed “a blatant knock on which everyone in the ground witnessed except the referee.
“We tried to come back but were thwarted at every attempt, and after the euphoria of the Blackheath game it was a case of back down to earth with a bump.”
Indeed, that outstanding victory in the capital had been earned three weeks earlier and Fylde had not played since, the club having lost both the league game against Wharfedale and a friendly against Sale Jets to the wet weather over the festive season.
Nelson admitted the lack of match practice was another factor in Saturday’s disappointment.
He added: “It was a factor and we lacked match hardness. But still we started well and did not take our chances. We coughed up the ball too much and could not get any go-forward.
“We were unable to retain the ball in contact and had problems crossing the gain line.
“Albanians played more effectively to the referee’s interpretation of the laws than we did.”
Even so, Nelson insisted it was a game which could have panned out differently. He added: “We were still in it at half-time, and it was a game which was always going to go one way or the other in the second half. They got the lucky break from the blatant knock-on. Had we stayed within one score it could have been different but it was frustrating.”
Nelson fears prop Tom Lavelle could be out for two or three weeks after turning an ankle in the first half.