REF KETTLE HAS THEM BOILING
JOHN Coleman was trying to find the funny side after being convinced referee Trevor Kettle cost his side what could have been a crucial victory over fellow promotion hopefuls AFC Wimbledon.
Coleman felt they should have had all three points as Billy Kee fired home in first-half stoppage time only for referee Kettle to blow for half-time before the ball hit the back of the net.
Then Accrington had goalkeeper Ross Etheridge sent off with three minutes remaining as he handled outside his area when Lyle Taylor attempted to lob him.
“There is not a lot I can say,” said Coleman of the no-goal. “It was comical. I have never seen that in my 46 years of competitive football as a player and a manager.
“I thought the ref had blown his whistle as the ball was going into the net.The ref said he had blown it beforehand. I hope I will be proved wrong on the replays but I think everyone in the ground was flabbergasted.
“Referees do make mistakes, they are only human, and that’s what makes football so special – there are talking points and arguments.”
Referee Kettle took centre stage with a hapless display throughout, allowing Accrington almost five minutes to bring on a substitute ‘keeper after Etheridge was sent off for denying Taylor three minutes from time.
But Coleman gave credit to his players for their performance, which sees his side remain fourth, and believes promotion is still a real prospect.
“It was a great performance by us,” Coleman added. “We stuck to our principles and we showed determination, ability, appetite and passion in our performance and if we show the same in every game, we will be promoted.”
The best chance of a poor first half fell to Taylor as he raced on to a hopeful punt forward but shot at Etheridge.
The Dons conceded free-kicks regularly and were almost made to pay for it when Jon Meades conceded a foul on the edge of the box on 26 minutes. Billy Kee smashed a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal, but the ball whistled just past the post.
Then the moment of controversy as Kettle denied Kee an injury-time goal with the halftime whistle, despite Accrington having possession inside the Dons’ penalty area.
Connor Smith crashed a firsttime volley against the post with Etheridge well beaten with ten minutes to play, before the Stanley stopper saw red late on.
“I think it’s a good point.,” Dons boss Neal Ardley said.
“I thought we were excellent against Oxford last week and I thought we were outstanding against Northampton midweek.
“Here we were good in a different way. All the games I watched of Accrington, they’ve dominated possession, they get you on the back foot and they dictate the play.
“So we did a lot of work just to make sure our shape without the ball was good, because they can pick you off.”
STAR MAN LYLE TAYLOR AFC Wimbl
edon CLOSE CONTEST: Lyle Taylor of AFC Wimbledon stretches for the ball. Inset: referee Trevor Kettle is surrounded as he blows the whistle for half-time