Saints left fuming by late penalty
THE New Saints’ manager Mike Davies was frustrated and angry with the match officials after watching his side denied victory by a late penalty award at The Airfield.
Trailing 2-1, Airbus UK were handed a lifeline on 88 minutes when referee Kevin Parry waved play on after a Barry Hogan challenge on Carl Owen, but then pointed to the spot on the intervention of a linesman.
Skipper Mark Allen stepped-up to despatch the spot kick – the Wingmakers’ eighth of the season – and snatch a share of the spoils they barely deserved to remain neck-and-neck with their opponents in joint second place.
“The referee’s killed us, it was a shocking performance, I’m very disappointed and it’s cost us the game,” bemoaned Davies.
“I just don’t think it was a penalty and not just that, but a whole host of decisions right through the game.
“The league’s getting a lot better but the refs need to take some responsibility as well.”
The Saints had dominated much of the possession and were rewarded on 40 minutes when home keeper Kris Rogers spilled a 25-yarder from Danny Holmes and Matty Williams pounced from close range.
But Airbus were level almost immediately when Holmes’ attempted clearance ricocheted off fellow defender Steve Evans and flew into the visitors’ net past a stranded Paul Harrison.
Four minutes after the break, TNS restored their lead with a fine individual goal from Richie Partridge, who cut inside his marker before despatching a curling shot into the far corner in front of brother-in-law and Manchester United star Michael Owen.
The Saints looked certain to hold on to their advantage and were rarely troubled at the back, while coming close to extending their lead through Chris Sharp and Scott Ruscoe.
Stunned by the late equaliser, they poured forward in search of a winner but, when Chris Seargeant was felled in the home box in stoppage time, referee Parry was unimpressed.
Home boss Craig Harrison admitted he did not see the penalty incident: “I’m sure we’ll have a few this season that I won’t agree with and I’m sure Mike will get a few lucky ones as well.
“TNS are a fantastic team – we had a plan and let it slip a bit. Did we deserve a goal? Maybe we did for effort.”