Paul Cook refused to criticise referee Seb Stockbridge after Pompey were forced to come from behind in controversial circumstances to beat 10-man Cambridge United 3-1 at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday.
The Blues were the victims of an incorrect call from the match official, who wrongly overruled his linesman’s flag to award U’s attacker Robbie Simpson a fourth-minute opener after he had run clean through on goal.
Whether good or bad, the referees make these decisions, and I will never criticise a referee.Pompey boss Paul Cook
The visitors were dismayed by the decision as Luke Berry’s pass was collected by Simpson from an offside position – a fact later proved by television replays – only for Stockbridge to rule in favour of the hosts after speaking to his assistant.
Cook, though, was philosophical in his appraisal of both the incident and referees in general.
He said: ‘It was offside – the referee has got that completely wrong and tried to justify it by saying our lad (Christian Burgess) passed the ball when he didn’t.
‘It was Berry who passed the ball.
‘Whether good or bad, the referees make these decisions, and I will never criticise a referee.
‘If we had got beaten 1-0 and couldn’t score I would say the same thing.
‘In the end, football is about making mistakes.
‘I make mistakes as a manager and the officials will always make mistakes in the game.
‘Over a period of time it levels out – it went against us first half but second half I felt we controlled the game really well.’
Pompey recovered well from their early setback to score three unanswered goals im the second half, with Matt Tubbs netting a double after Leon Legge had put through his own goal.
The game, though, hinged on the sending off of U’s skipper Mark Roberts, having been involved in a heated altercation with Blues assistant boss Leam Richardson – also sent to the stands – while leaving the field of play at half-time.
While Cook was unable to offer an informed opinion having not seen the incident at close quarters, he did admit his regret that Gareth Evans also saw red late on.
The Blues boss is now weighing up whether or not to appeal the latter decision.
He said: ‘From what I am led to believe Mark Roberts raised his hands and Leam Richardson then grabbed Mark so the referee sent them both off.
‘Gareth shouldn’t make an attempt to challenge – the game was done, over.
‘But I would never send Gareth off for that legitimate attempt to play the ball.
‘He will learn from that – whether we decide to appeal it remains to be seen.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN