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Brian Dutton Reacts as 'Disgraceful Decision' Sees Crawley Hold Walsall to a Draw

Head Coach Brian Dutton spoke to the press following the Saddlers' League Two clash with Crawley Town.
Following a controversial injury-time penalty which saw his side miss out on a just a second win in fifteen outings, Walsall Head Coach Brian Dutton criticised the match officials, going as far to call their decision ‘disgraceful'.

With his side enjoying a narrow lead during the latter stages of second-half injury time, goalkeeper Liam Roberts rushed off his line in an attempt to punch away a cross but ultimately collided with Crawley defender Jordan Tunnicliffe.

Despite 'keepers usually enjoying a level of protection by match officials, Tuesday's referee Tim Robinson subsequently pointed to the spot with Town striker Tom Nichols happily putting the ball into the back of the net.

The Saddlers went into the lead ten minutes into the second-half as Emmanuel Osadebe netted his first goal in a Walsall shirt after Tunnicliffe had felled Josh Gordon inside the Red Devils' area, gifting their visitors a penalty.

Speaking to the assembled media, after full-time, Dutton hit out at the level of refereeing his side had endured over recent weeks, before revealing this week's referee insisted that Liam had taken the player before clearing the ball, despite the replay showing the reverse.

Brian said; "There’s an old saying in football, it’s better to be a lucky manager than a good manager.

"I’ve never believed that but I am starting to believe it. We’re on the back of a subjective red card at Stevenage when we’re 1-0 up ready to win the game.

"Newport scored and won 1-0 and that’s offside. We have a stonewall penalty on Josh Gordon in the Bradford game, we don’t get that.

"We have a stonewall penalty on Max Melbourne against Cambridge, two yards in the box, and we don’t get that. Tonight, Josh Gordon has gone through and we’ve won a penalty.

"Someone will have to explain the rules to me but I thought if he’s not trying to play the ball it’s a red card, if he’s trying to play the ball it’s a yellow card.

"He stays on the pitch. Then, in the last kick of the game we get stiffed again with a terrible, terrible, disgraceful decision. It’s heart-breaking for the lads, I feel for them.

"To give me so much out there, put everything on the line and be let down by sub-par referees at best. It’s heart-breaking.

"If the rule has been updated and keeper’s have to win the ball one-hundred per cent cleanly without any contact then I shall get on the phone with the referee and apologise.

"For me a goalkeeper is well within his rights to come claim or punch the ball. If people get in his way while he’s doing so, that’s never been a free-kick as long as he wins the ball first.

"The first thing the referee said to me when I asked him the question on why he gave it, he said because he took the man first. I’ve watched the video and he’s clearly taken the ball first."
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