Portsmouth midfielder criticises ref decision over Plymouth equaliser

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Pompey were denied Plymouth victory by the referee getting the game’s key incident wrong.

That’s the view of midfielder Ben Close, who felt Graham Carey shouldn’t have been given the chance to fire in his outstanding second-half free-kick in the 1-1 draw.

Plymouth's Graham Carey scores his first goal of the match during the Sky Bet League 1 match between Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth at Home Park, Plymouth, England on 9 February 2019. Photo by Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Plymouth's Graham Carey scores his first goal of the match during the Sky Bet League 1 match between Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth at Home Park, Plymouth, England on 9 February 2019. Photo by Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Nathan Thompson was penalised for a foul on Yann Songo’o, which allowed Carey the chance to weave his set-piece magic.

The defender was adamant he won the ball fairly, however, and that was a sentiment echoed by Close and the rest of the Pompey dressing room.

Close said: ‘I think we’ve been really hard done by on that.

‘Everyone can see so clearly the ball has changed direction.

‘He’s won the ball cleanly and the ball has changed direction.

‘It was a great finish and there’s not much we could have done after the free-kick was awarded.

‘The wall was in a good finish and Craig (MacGillivray) didn’t have a chance the way he’s bent and dipped it.

‘But we are incredibly disappointed in terms of the fact Nathan has put in a very good tackle on the edge of our box.

‘We were potentially starting a counter-attack and we end up conceding a free-kick and they score.

‘It’s massively disappointing.’

Despite being pegged back by Plymouth after taking the lead, Close saw plenty in Pompey’s performance to be pleased about.

The manner in which the visitors showed resolve to resist the Pilgrims’ charge after gaining a leveller gave cause for optimism in the eyes of the academy graduate.

Close added: ‘There are plenty of positives to take from the game,

‘When a team score an equaliser they can pick up all the momentum and energy.

‘They did that but we still held on and created chances ourselves.

‘On another day with a bit more luck and maybe a bit more confidence we would have got that second goal later on.’