Notts County 2 Pompey 1: Cook certain it was ‘stonewall’ penalty

Referee Andy Haines ignored Pompey penalty claims at Notts County after Kyle Bennett was felled in the area    Picture: Joe Pepler
Referee Andy Haines ignored Pompey penalty claims at Notts County after Kyle Bennett was felled in the area Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Cook is adamant Pompey were denied a match-changing penalty against Notts County.

And the Blues boss feels his side have now had a string of decisions go against them in their bid for promotion.

But Cook was keen not to attribute blame to match officials – despite spot-kicks not being given to his side against the Magpies.

Kyle Bennett was clearly brought down by Notts County’s Stanley Aborah in the second half of Saturday’s 2-1 loss.

And there was a shout for a penalty as sub Ben Tollitt went to ground late on.

Cook was certain the first appeal was a good one, as referee Andy Haines waved the claims away.

The Scouser underlined he’s not looking for excuses for a first league away loss of the season, though.

Cook said: ‘We have so many penalty appeals regularly turned down.

‘I’m going to end up sounding like Jose Mourinho! I haven’t got his money to pay the fines, though, so I won’t get involved in it.

‘We didn’t get the decision so we have to move on.

‘Kyle’s looked a stonewall penalty.

‘The referee didn’t want to give any decisions like that.

‘There’s either contact and it’s a penalty or no contact and it’s a dive and a yellow card.

‘The referee didn’t give Kyle a yellow card.

‘It’s a difficult job for refs, though, and we don’t look for excuses.

‘It didn’t happen, and that’s the way it is.’

Gareth Evans made his return to the starting XI after a three-match ban for his red card against Cambridge.

He saw a fine first-half chance go begging after being put clear by Adam McGurk.

Cook feels that was typical of the kinds of opportunities which went begging – and need to be taken by his players.

Cook said: ‘We’ve got in good areas to score.

‘Gareth Evans should go around the keeper.

‘He’s on the floor - so go around him.’

Despite the loss, Cook took solace from plenty of other elements of Pompey’s performance.

Adam McGurk impressed after a stint on the sidelines with injury.

Ben Tollitt also looked comfortable after being given his first taste of league action for the Blues.

And Caolan Lavery looked a threat – and was rewarded with his first goal in Pompey colours following his loan arrival from Sheffield Wednesday.

Cook said: ‘I thought Adam McGurk did well in certain aspects and we’re pleased Caolan Lavery got his goal. Ben Tollitt gives us energy and gets in dangerous areas.’