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Graham Coughlan’s fury at referee in Newport loss to Stockport

09 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Newport County manager Graham Coughlan Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Graham Coughlan vented his fury at the officials after Newport conceded a last-gasp goal to lose 1-0 at Stockport in Sky Bet League Two.

Paddy Madden put his earlier penalty miss behind him with a dramatic stoppage-time winner, finally finding a way past goalkeeper Nick Townsend – who did brilliantly to palm his 73rd-minute spot-kick away.

But while Stockport had been utterly dominant, it was the performance of Tom Reeves in the middle that enraged the Exiles boss, particularly the awarding of a free-kick award that led to Madden’s late strike.

“Stockport were obviously the better team, we expected that because they’re up at that end of the table for a reason,” boss Coughlan said.

“The pressure was relentless but our lads stood tall. We didn’t have a particularly good game with the ball but defensively we were organised and structured.

“Nick Townsend was outstanding but the good teams get decisions and the breaks of the ball.

“On the whole Stockport probably deserved to win the game, let’s have that right, but under the circumstances we deserved to come away with a clean sheet, given the defensive structure, the organisation and the commitment that the lads showed.

“I can’t get away from the standard of the officiating though, it’s week in, week out. It’s absolute nonsense and it’s very hard to accept.

“I have to laugh, to be quite honest, because I’m all for battling and for fighting but, please, if you’re going to go and manage the game like that throughout don’t give them a foul like that right at the end when the rules have gone out of the window.

“We don’t get treated fairly and that’s the hard part. We need someone to look at the decisions and make a call. It’s not just today, it’s gone on all season and it’s become a bit of a pantomime.”

Stockport boss Dave Challinor admitted he felt victory was slipping away before Madden’s instinctive strike gave the Hatters their first win in five games, keeping them second.

“You never write it off because you know what football’s like, it changes in a moment,” he said.

“You always have that little bit of hope but the longer it goes on the smaller that hope gets.

“It can be one deflection, something dropping for you in the box to get an opportunity, so to win is great.

“Would I like to have won in a better manner? Absolutely, but the most important thing is three points and we’ve got that.

“The keeper was saving everything. I would have liked to have worked him more with what we had, we were sloppy in possession and gave the ball away far too much for a team of our ability.

“Playing on a bowling green of a pitch, we turned the ball over far too often, especially in the first half and that didn’t allow us to maintain or sustain attacks.

“Did we do enough with the possession we had? No, I think we need to do more, that always helps if you score early.

“We had chances but the keeper made some decent saves, you’ll always question if it’ll be one of those days when you miss a penalty but thankfully today that wasn’t the case.”


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