The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Sam Tobin

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.”

PIC­TURES: Stu­art Butcher/Pro Sport


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

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