Simon Grayson criticises referee's decision to award penalty in Blackpool's defeat to Shrewsbury Town

Simon Grayson criticised the referee's decision to award a penalty which led to the pivotal winning goal in Blackpool's 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury Town today.

Saturday, 21st December 2019, 6:03 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st December 2019, 6:05 pm
Simon Grayson felt referee Seb Stockbridge wrongly awarded a penalty against his side
Simon Grayson felt referee Seb Stockbridge wrongly awarded a penalty against his side

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The Gazette's match report from Blackpool's 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury Town

The Pool boss went to speak to Seb Stockbridge after the game to question why he pointed to the spot during the second half.

Shrewsbury striker Fejiri Okenabirhie took full advantage of the referee's disputed decision, finding the back of the net despite keeper Jak Alnwick getting a leg to his effort.

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It proved to be the winning goal in what was a tight affair at Bloomfield Road, where Armand Gnanduillet came close to breaking the deadlock on two occasions before the penalty.

The Seasiders were unable to muster a response following Okenabirhie's spot kick as the away side managed the game well from this point onwards.

The defeat sees Pool drop out of the play-offs ahead of their Boxing Day clash against Accrington Stanley.

“We knew the game could turn out to be a frustrating one because of how well they defend and how few goals they’ve conceded this season," Grayson said afterwards.

“They’ve beaten Sunderland, Peterborough and Coventry and drew with Oxford.

“I thought we played well first half and the system we used and the movement we had caused them some problems.

“You have to try and capitalise when you’re on top, so we just had to up it five or 10 per cent to try and get that first goal. But it didn’t pan out as we wanted it to.

“It came a real frustrating afternoon from that point onwards.”

The game swung on a pivotal couple of second-half minutes, when Shrewsbury were awarded a debated spot kick just minutes after the Seasiders were denied a penalty of their own.

Nathan Delfouneso was adamant a Shrewsbury defender handled the ball as he attempted to control it in the box, but the referee waved away the appeals.

Just two minutes later he pointed to the spot at the other end of the pitch after Armand Gnanduillet was adjudged to have handled a long free kick punted high into the Blackpool box.

“I wanted to see him about the penalty decision," Grayson said.

“He said Armand has punched the ball. My answer to that would be: ‘why would somebody deliberately punch the ball in his own 18-yard box?’

“Armand is adamant he was pushed from behind but the referee says he didn’t see that.

“I also asked him why we didn’t get a penalty just before they got theirs but he said it was more ball to hand than hand to ball.

“In this day and age I wouldn’t have a clue when it comes to penalties and handball situations.

“After that it only got more frustrating because we didn’t do enough to get back into it.”