Appy: No point dwelling on ref justice

Referee Phil Gibbs waves away protests from some angry Pompey players at half-time following the handball incident minutes earlier
Referee Phil Gibbs waves away protests from some angry Pompey players at half-time following the handball incident minutes earlier
Pompey's Jack Whatmough in their 1-1 draw against Walsall. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

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Michael Appleton spoke of his frustration over the penalty that never was against Leeds.

But the Pompey boss warned against his men using hard-luck stories in their quest for Championship survival.

The Blues were denied a clearcut spot-kick in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Fratton Park.

Leeds defender Tom Lees clearly handled in the box from Greg Halford’s throw-in but referee Phil Gibbs waved play on – much to the frustration of the home crowd.

Appleton felt it was a blatant penalty, but insisted there was no point in lingering on the issue.

He said: ‘The boy tried to save it. It was ridiculous.

‘Just before half-time it would have given everyone a lift.

‘That’s what happens when you are down there and going through the type of time we are.

‘You can’t let it fester, though.

‘We have a week now to get back on the training field and prepare properly for Middlesbrough.’

Pompey have been on the wrong end of rough justice over a number of refereeing decisions of late.

And there has been an admission there was a costly mistake in the recent meeting with Ipswich.

Then, another Halford throw was diverted in by Damien Delaney, but referee Darren Deadman ruled the goal out when he stated the ball was not touched by a player.

But Appleton isn’t about to let his players use that hardship – or any other affecting the club – be used an excuse.

He said: ‘We had the report back from the Ipswich one and they admitted they got it wrong.

‘That’s quite refreshing, in a sense.

‘That point could be really crucial come the end of the season, though.

‘But if you start thinking we’ve had a sense of injustice against us we’ll start using it as an excuse.

‘When that happens we’ll start using other things as an excuse, too.

‘We could make excuses and the players would have every right to.

‘But we aren’t going to do that over the last 14 games.’