Close: Pompey denied blatant penalty

Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Ben Close insisted Pompey should have been awarded a penalty in their defeat to Shrewsbury and protested: I don’t know how the referee hasn’t seen the handball.

The Blues suffered a 1-0 loss to Paul Hurst’s high-flyers on Saturday, with James Bolton netting the only goal of the game on 21 minutes.

Nevertheless, Pompey were adamant they should have been given a spot-kick 11 minutes later.

Oli Hawkins’ header from Jamal Lowe’s cross appeared to strike the outstretched arm of Shaun Whalley but referee David Coote waved away the appeals.

A number of Blues players swarmed the official in protest, while assistant manager Joe Gallen also expressed his frustration on the sideline.

Close feels his side should have been given a chance to equalise from 12 yards, although he believes it’s something Pompey must not dwell on.

The midfielder said: ‘I think it was a penalty – initially I thought it was.

‘It’s one of those things that can happen and you’d like to think they will even out over the course of the season.

‘The refs have a tough job. You’d like to think his assistants will help him out but how he hasn’t seen it I don’t quite know.

‘You could see the looks on their players’ faces. They were worried about it.

‘I wouldn’t like to think we are a team who try to bully the referee but everyone thought it was that blatant.

‘At the time, it was such an obvious decision and sometimes people get carried away and the fans can get carried away.

‘However, it’s just one of those things. We can’t dwell on it. We have to look past it and try to bounce back next weekend.’