Frustrated Plymouth boss Ian Foster was critical of referee James Linnington and the ‘animated’ Norwich City bench in a 2-1 Championship defeat at Carrow Road.

Argyle went into the Good Friday game two points above the relegation zone, and with one win in nine, but led until the 66th minute following Morgan Whittaker’s early header.

Foster felt the game tilted decisively towards the Canaries on two key second half incidents. The Plymouth boss was adamant his side should have had a penalty when Alfie Devine touched the ball past Angus Gunn, as he veered out of the home area, before tumbling. Referee Linnington booked the Plymouth player for simulation.

Then in the build up to City’s winner, Foster felt the referee signalled for Argyle’s physio to enter the field of play without first checking on defender Lewis Gibson, who collided with his own team mate in conceding a corner.

Gibson was forced to leave the field, under the laws of the game, and with Argyle down to 10 players Sam McCallum’s near post flick was deflected into his own net by Ashley Phillips.

"I'm bitterly disappointed with the referee's performance,” said Foster. “I got a sense in the first half he would have a say in it. Unfortunately I was proved right.

"He has got loads of decisions wrong in the game. I'm sure he will be so disappointed in his performance if he looks back on it. There were two key incidents.

"One, to not give a penalty when the keeper wipes Alfie Devine out is beyond baffling. Alfie has got there first, he has had the touch, the keeper has slid out and made contact, got nowhere near the ball.

"The referee is in a really good position and I genuinely cannot understand for the life of me why he has decided to give Alfie a yellow card.

"And then for their second goal, we have an incident where two of our players clash. Without assessing our player (Gibson), the referee calls the physio on.

"So he makes no assessment of the player, he doesn't ask how he is or whether he requires treatment. Lewis doesn't require treatment, he has just had a bang and he's fine, and then he has asked him to go off to compound his mistake.

"What made it worse is after the game he said (Argyle keeper) that Michael Cooper called the physio on. Michael Cooper is not the referee, he doesn't call people on.

“Just two huge key incidents among many others that he got wrong. When you look at the Sheffield Wednesday decision not to give Lewis Gibson a penalty, the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) said, 'Yes, we got that one wrong'.

"Ryan Hardie didn't get a penalty against Preston North End and they say 'Yes, we got that one wrong'. We will get one in another couple of days but when does it stop?

"When do they just make the right decision on the day? That's all we are asking them to do, just make the right decision. Stop sending us letters saying 'We got that one wrong'. Just make the right call on the day."

Foster himself was booked in first half stoppage time after complaining to the fourth official about the award of a Norwich corner.

“I'm not allowed to contest the decision apparently,” he said. “Their bench were the most animated bench I think I have seen in terms of asking for yellow cards for our players. The referee gave a corner deep into first half stoppage time. It was a goal kick. I watch it from my own eyes. I can see it is a goal kick from where I am stood.

"Then I contest it and I get a yellow card. I didn't use foul or abusive language. I am not sure why I am not allowed to contest a decision.

"Hugely disappointed. We have to take responsibility for the defeat. We conceded from two corners. Even with 10 men on the pitch we have to defend that corner better for the second goal. We have said that to the players. 

"I thought for 90 minutes, maybe a 100 minutes, we were outstanding. There had to be an acceptance that these (Norwich) are an excellent team. So we are not going to come and dominate the ball. The money they have spent on their squad.

"We can dominate the ball against certain teams. But we have to accept that when we can't, we can still play like we did in this game."