IRIKED Forest Green boss Mark Cooper vented his frustration at the referee as his side suffered a 3-0 defeat at Stevenage on Tuesday night.
A first-half Danny Newton brace and a second-half Elliot List strike gave Stevenage the points in a game in which Cooper’s side had two creditable penalty shouts discounted by official Benjamin Speedie.
Cooper insisted his side had “two blatant penalties” in a what he felt was a a “horrendous” performance from the referee.
“We had good control of the game, we started really well,” Cooper told BBC Radio Gloucestershire.
“We had a couple of great chances that we have smashed over the bar again, a one on one, where have to score, then we had two clear penalties which we didn’t get for some reason. If that’s the case, you have to stay in the game and not just concede rubbish goals.”
Cooper made two changes to the side which beat Colchester 3-0 on Saturday with loanee Jayden Richardson and Elliott Whitehouse replacing the injured Nicky Cadden and Ebou Adams – on the bench after winning his appeal against the red card he was shown at the weekend.
Cooper felt Rovers’ injury crisis was a mitagating factor in the defeat.
He added: “When you have a lot of injuries you have to put people in areas where they are not comfortable at times as you have got no other choice.
“The player who played there has played a lot of games as a wing-back and on the left and he has to defend better than that and get tighter than that – it was too easy.
“I am not going to sugarcoat the result but I was quite pleased with the performance in the first half as we had good control and we should have been in front but you can’t defend like that,” said Cooper.
“There was a blatant penalty on Aaron Collins and a blatant penalty on Elliott Whitehouse when he goes to sidefoot the ball in from six yards and is nearly snapped in half.
“It was the worst refereeing performance I have seen for both teams this season, I thought he was horrendous.
“All credit to Stevenage, they were dogged, resilient and we wouldn’t have scored if we had been there all night.
“We had lots of strikers on the pitch but no quality. They took their chances and we didn’t take ours, simple as that.
“On Saturday we were very sharp against Colchester and in the first 25 minutes we started really well with some really good chances – and you have to score.
“I keep saying the same thing – we keep smashing the ball over the bar when we get into these positions rather than caressing the ball into the bottom corner.
“When you get those chances you have to take them. It’s not a training ground thing, it’s more of a pressure thing.
“It’s totally different when you are playing in a game to training, where there is no pressure. It’s the pressure of a game which makes the technique go in my opinion and it comes down to quality.”
Stevenage: Cumming, Wildin, Cuthbert, Vancooten, Martin, Osborne (Hutton 70), Pett, Lines, Coker (Vincelot 75), Newton (Hector-Ingram 84), List.
Subs Not Used: Prosser, Johnson, Read, Aitchison.
Forest Green: Thomas, Godwin-Malife, Bernard, Cargill (Hallett 83), Wilson, Whitehouse (Young 46), Wagstaff (Hutchinson 83), Richardson (Adams 46), Bailey, Matt (Davison 83), Collins.
Subs Not Used: McGee, Bunker.