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Coughlan takes aim at ref after Newport draw with Bradford

11 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Newport manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Simon Galloway PA Images

Newport manager Graham Coughlan bemoaned his side’s luck after Bradford goalkeeper Harry Lewis escaped with a yellow card for handling outside his area in the 1-1 League Two draw at Rodney Parade.

Coughlan felt Lewis should have been sent off before Andy Cook put the promotion-chasing visitors 1-0 up in the 36th minute.

An own goal from Bradford defender Liam Ridehalgh – just after the hour mark – earned the hosts a point.

“How the referee came to that conclusion…I’d rather not spent time talking about crazy decisions,” said Coughlan on Lewis’s caution midway through the first half.

“I do have a degree of sympathy for the goalie, it was an honest error, but if our players made an honest error then they would be punished.

“The law is pretty simple and basic. Why the laws of the game were not applied, I will never know.

“I am sure the ref will come up with some story, but it is a regular thing for us. The referees are trying to do their best but just apply the letter of the law.”


Bantams boss Mark Hughes explained that his goalkeeper was confused by the painted-over 22-yard line for rugby union side the Dragons, who also play at Rodney Parade.

“I think the rain washed away the paint,” said Hughes. “I think the referee displayed common sense there. It wasn’t intentional – he genuinely thought he was in the penalty area.”

The draw sees County remain in 18th place, 10 points clear of the bottom two, while Bradford slipped to sixth – four points below third-placed Stevenage.

Coughlan was the more frustrated manager after the final whistle.

“We were very good, particularly in the second half and I am frustrated we didn’t win,” added the Irishman.

“We deserved to win and there was only one team going to win it at the end.

“There was a lot of talk about how good Bradford were, their players, their goalscorer in Andy Cook and their clean sheets but people obviously underestimate the Newport County resilience, character and players.

“We are a great group and never know when we are beaten – we have massive heart, resilience and character – and today we showed a lot of quality.”

Hughes was more content with the point after snow disrupted his side’s preparations.

“We couldn’t train on Friday, which wasn’t the ideal preparation. So, we have to be grateful for the point, I suppose,” said the former Wales manager.

“I thought we were very much the better team in the first half.

“Second half, they upped their game a little bit, but the goal was a speculative ball into the box, they were hoping for a bit of luck and that’s exactly what they got.”

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