What the Bristol Rovers boss said on Portsmouth being awarded a penalty and the Gas earning a point

Gareth Evans opened the scoring from the penalty spot for Pompey at Bristol Rovers. Picture: Graham Hunt
Gareth Evans opened the scoring from the penalty spot for Pompey at Bristol Rovers. Picture: Graham Hunt
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Graham Coughlan reckons Pompey shouldn’t have been awarded a penalty at Bristol Rovers.

The Gas boss feels there’s an ‘epidemic’ in the game and called for more consistency as three or four similar incidents went unpunished at the other end of the pitch.

The Blues were awarded a spot-kick when John Marquis was adjudged to have been pushed in the back by Luke Leahy. Gareth Evans rifled home the penalty on nine minutes.

Ronan Curtis doubled the visitors’ advantage in the 70th minute, but Rovers hit back with a strike from Alex Rodman before a bizarre Craig MacGillivray 93rd-minute own goal earned the hosts a point.

Coughlan reckons no-one inside the Memorial Stadium could see why referee Darren Handley awarded Pompey a spot-kick.

He told Bristol Live: ‘I don't think anyone in the ground could see it, I don't even think the Portsmouth players and fans knew what it was for.

‘The ironic thing was they were going the other way, they thought it was an offside decision.

‘It's an epidemic, it's in the game and it is what it is. As I said to the referee and the linesman, if they're going to give penalties for that then I've no problem with that.

‘It hurts the game and destroys the game we all love, but if they're going to give penalties for that, let us lay claim to three or four penalties down to the other end.

‘I don't like jumping off the bench and asking for soft penalties, I don't like asking for things like that, it has to be a proper penalty in my eyes, but if he's going to give a decision like that down one end, we want the same treatment at the other end.

‘There was three or four occasions where Abs Ogogo was pushed over and we could have claimed a penalty.

‘Let me be honest, neither Abs Ogogo or that one was a penalty, but if he's going to give it one end, I want it the other end.

‘I just want consistency.’

After Rovers equalised, Coughlan thought his side might have nicked a winner if there was more time on the clock.

He added: ‘I don't think this group struggles for character, to be honest, that's one of our strong points and strengths.

‘Obviously I was disappointed we were 2-0 down but, barring a 10-minute spell in the first half where they could have actually scored, Anssi Jaakola pulled off a great save, but other than that, they were playing counter-attacking football.

‘I thought we were very good and well worthy of a point.

‘If there'd been another few minutes on that clock, you just never know because we were in the ascendancy.’