Key decisions went against us - Gallagher
Lowestoft Town joint manager Ady Gallagher believes the reaction of the opposition got Carl Poppy sent off at Hillheads. The Trawlerboys will have a 2-1 deficit to make up at Crown Meadow on Saturday, after their FA Vase semi-final first leg defeat at Whitley Bay on Saturday.
Lowestoft Town joint manager Ady Gallagher believes the reaction of the opposition got Carl Poppy sent off at Hillheads.
The Trawlerboys will have a 2-1 deficit to make up at Crown Meadow on Saturday, after their FA Vase semi-final first leg defeat at Whitley Bay on Saturday. But while Gallagher admitted he could see why referee Karl Evans awarded Whitley's second half penalty, following Jack Marsden's challenge on Paul Chow, his opinion took a harder line on Poppy's dismissal - the right-back being handed his marching orders after challenging for a loose ball with Bay substitute Adam Johnston.
"It just didn't happen for us today and crucial decisions really cruelly went against us," said Gallagher. "If I'm really honest, I would've been screaming for a penalty in that situation if it had been us. But the sending-off I felt was wrong.
"I've had a chat with the referee, nicely at the end in his room, and just said that I felt he'd made the wrong decision and that he was influenced by players and the crowd and their bench, who took great pleasure in jumping on to the pitch and making lots of noise.
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"I looked directly at the referee immediately after the tackle. I felt both players made contact with the ball and it broke for us, and their reaction has influenced the ref.
"I am convinced - and I told him that I'm convinced - that honestly he didn't even see it and he just went off the reaction of the players around him.
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"We've said that we'll look at the footage because the game was televised and I'll be honest, if I'm wrong I'll stand here and apologise.
"But I'm convinced that he made contact with the ball, it was a 50-50 challenge that he made perfect contact, and it's really disappointing for us."
Poppy is set to miss the crucial second leg on Saturday, one which is well within Lowestoft's capabilities of turning in their favour after Jamie Godbold's late volley.
Twelve months after the former Stoke midfielder hit Town's fourth goal against Whitley in injury time at Crown Meadow - a goal that proved one too many for the northerners to overturn in last year's semi-final - Godbold struck a sublime effort six minutes from time at Hillheads, with the Blues down to 10 men.
"I've already said that he scored a crucial late goal last time that proved to be important to us, and I think today's one hopefully could be the same," said Gallagher.
"It's really kept us in the tie, I thought we rallied with 10 men and were excellent. I was really, really pleased and on another day we'd have won this game."
As for Godbold, he did not get to see his late goal hit the back of the net.
"I'm really, really pleased," said the midfielder. "I didn't even see it go it. I struck it and then fell to the floor and by the time I've got up I was hounded.
"But I'm really pleased with the goal."