Cox praises Boston United's 'incredible resilience' at Alfreton, but questions 'strange' decisions from referee

Ten-man Pilgrims earn point at Impact Arena
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Paul Cox praised Boston United's battling qualities as his 10-men picked up a point at Alfreton Town, but the Pilgrims boss was left questioning a 'strange' performance from referee Kristian Silcock.

The official waived away claims for a 95th-minute Boston penalty when Shane Byrne took a boot to the face in the Reds' box.

A photograph off the incident soon began to circulate around the Impact Arena after full time, while Byrne himself described the incident as a 'clear peno'.

But it was the all-round performance of the man in the middle which infuriated Cox, Jake Wright snr shown a straight red card for a challenge the United manager deemed no worse than some which went unpunished against his side in the 1-1 draw.

"I thought the referee had an interesting game," Cox said.

"We talk about the penalty shout at the end, I've just seen the photo footage and he said he didn't think it was a penalty.

"I didn't see us getting much throughout the game. I thought he had a really poor game."

Paul Cox. Photo: Oliver AtkinPaul Cox. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Paul Cox. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Wright - playing just his second game back following a five-month injury lay-off - had been one of United's stand-out performance and will be a big miss for the side as he sits out contests at York City and Darlington and the visit of Blyth Spartans, especially with fellow central defender Scott Garner out injured.

Reflecting on the dismissal, Cox added: "I don't think it was a straight red, not with some of the challenges that went in. That's what they get paid for (to make these decisions), but I thought it wa strange performance tonight.

"I just thought, when you look at the sending off, there were a few tackles that deserved at least a foul for us. I don't think we got anything tonight.

"It's hard as without the refs you don't have a game, but I think the ref should question some of his decisions tonight."

Penaltry? Shane Byrne and Paul Cox thought so. Photo: Oliver AtkinPenaltry? Shane Byrne and Paul Cox thought so. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Penaltry? Shane Byrne and Paul Cox thought so. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Cox may well be allowed to feel aggrieved at some of the calls which went against his side, but Mr Silcock's erratic performance should rightly raise eyebrows from both dug-outs.

Ntumba Massanka was very lucky to have escaped with a talking to after a stray elbow landed plush in the face of opponent Josh Clackstone in the first half, while skipper Luke Shiels also got away with a handball in his box in the first half, perhaps his close proximity to Danny Preston his saving grace.

But come full time, the 10 men of United secured a point which leaves them two points of the top seven with all to play for.

"I thought we did really well second half," Cox added.

"I thought we didn't move the ball about as well and invited a lot of pressure onto us which eventually told.

"But losing a man as we did, being sent off, we showed incredible resilience.

"I've got to praise the boys as they dug in. This is a hard place to come.

"The way we played first half, we deserved the lead, but the first 15 minutes of the second half, that's where we have to tidy up.

"I know this team can play and sometimes I've questioned that abilty to grind out a result.

"I thought we stood up to some real pressure tonight and I thought we came out with a bit of credit.

"In the circumstances it's a good point. Four unbeaten, two defeats in 10 (league games)."

MORE PILGRIMS: Alfreton 1 Boston 1 - report