'Laughable': Portsmouth boss blasts controversial decision not to punish Wycombe defender's 'game-changing' challenge on Leicester loanee George Hirst

Danny Cowley has branded the controversial decision not to punish Wycombe’s Ryan Tafazolli as ‘laughable’.

Saturday, 19th March 2022, 6:08 pm

Pompey played out an uninspiring goalless draw with the Chairboys at Fratton Park this afternoon to make it three games without a win.

However, on 62 minutes, a key incident occurred.

Central defender Tafazolli appeared to pull back George Hirst as he chased down Connor Ogilvie’s punt forward, with just the keeper to beat,

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George Hirst is held up by Wycombe defender Ryan Tafazolli during the controversial second-half moment. Picture: Joe Pepler

Regardless, referee Benjamin Speedie elected to take no action, much to the disbelief of the Fratton faithful.

Cowley and his assistant Nicky were booked in the aftermath, while the match official was subsequently booed off at full-time.

And Pompey’s head coach was still seething over the decision as he addressed the media post-match.

Cowley told The News: ‘I don’t want to keep talking about referees, it was the second big game this week where two game-changing decisions have gone against us.

‘I thought it was a foul. I spoke to the referee and he told me George wasn’t going to get onto the ball. Well he did. Even though he was fouled, he still got onto the ball.

‘It's laughable, but what can I do? I would rather focus on what we can control. We know where the standard of refereeing is, we have to accept it.

‘I don’t know what to say, everybody knew it was a clear foul and a sending off.

‘He would have given the foul, but didn’t want to because he knew he would have had to give a sending off.

‘You don’t want to see players sent off, but being clear on goal and denying a goal-scoring opportunity, the laws are the laws.

‘I don’t know why we (both Cowleys) were booked. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t say anything to the fourth official.’

It represented a third consecutive match without a goal, yet the Blues remain in 10th place, still eight points short of the play-offs.

And Cowley admitted his team didn’t deserve to claim victory over the promotion-chasing Chairboys.

He added: ‘I thought we were disappointing, it was a flat performance, we lacked the energy and intensity that we wanted to play with.

‘It looked a tired performance, we lacked that courage to get on the ball against a good Wycombe team.

‘We know they’ve got pace, power and play with a real directness. You have to earn the right and you must have the courage to get the control – and we didn’t do that.

‘We lacked that spark and didn’t do enough to win the game.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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