Pike: We only have ourselves to blame

Mike Carter was sent off for the second game in succession. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150020-5)
Mike Carter was sent off for the second game in succession. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150020-5)
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Alex Pike refused to blame the referee as nine-man Gosport Borough crashed out of the FA Trophy at the hands of Braintree Town on Saturday.

The Privett Park boss was left frustrated by a string of decisions from the official in the 2-0 home defeat.

The Iron won two penalties in the first-half – the second leading to the dismissal of Dan Wooden – while Matt Paterson had his own appeals turned down.

Kenny Davis converted the second spot-kick after Nathan Ashmore had saved the first.

But by the time Mike Carter was sent off for the second appearance on the bounce, Jordan Cox had already profited from an Ashmore mistake to effectively seal the tie.

Pike was gutted to see the chance of returning to Wembley slip through his grasp.

But the boss insisted the refereeing decisions were not the blame.

Pike said: ‘I’m not blaming the referee for our defeat – that was down to our individual errors.

‘We have to eradicate them and quickly if we want to progress.

‘When you play teams like Braintree you want them to have an off day and you need to be at your best.

‘I felt they didn’t perform to their best but we let ourselves down because we could have won.’

Braintree won their first spot-kick when Lee Molyneaux was adjudged to have handled a cross from point-blank range.

But Ashmore produced a great save low to his right.

Wooden conceded the second penalty and saw red just before half-time – a decision Pike admitted was correct.

‘The penalty against Lee was incredibly harsh,’ he said.

‘He’s gone to block the cross with his foot and as you lean back your arms naturally go up.

‘The ball has been struck at him from two yards away and the ref has obviously seen that as deliberate.

‘I have no argument about the second one, though, that was a definite penalty.’

Moments later Paterson was felled in the box – an incident which the Borough boss feels the referee missed.

‘To everyone’s view, Matt has had his shirt pulled in the box prior to the actual tackle,’ said Pike.

‘The referee has missed it and that would have changed the game.’

‘If we score it’s 1-1 and they’re down to 10 men, too.’

Carter’s dismissal – his second in consecutive appearances – was also a mistake by the referee, according to Pike.

‘I didn’t see the Carter incident from where I was but players’ reaction didn’t suggest it was a red,’ he said.

‘There were not any Braintree players crowding the ref saying it was a horrendous tackle.

‘I think it was a schoolboy error because the referee didn’t allow himself thinking time.’