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Club News

MANAGER: It might be a really important point

More from Paul Simpson on the Walsall draw

11 April 2023

Club News

MANAGER: It might be a really important point

More from Paul Simpson on the Walsall draw

11 April 2023

The Cumbrians earned clean sheet number 18 for the season at Walsall on Bank Holiday Monday but it was an afternoon that wasn’t without controversy, with the away team denied what appeared to be a clear penalty just before the break.

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Speaking after full time, manager Paul Simpson said: “We’ve had some really good opportunities, particularly in the second half, and there were a few little half chances along the way.

“We haven’t worked the keeper enough, that’s the problem, because when you get good opportunities you have to work the keeper better than we did today.

“I thought it was a strong battling performance where we kept going right to the end. Who knows, it might be a really important point for us when we get to the end of the season.”

“I thought we showed a real desire to get the winner but I think Walsall played the game for the whole game,” he added. “I was really disappointed with the number of times they were diving and unfortunately, look, you know me, I don’t like having a go at referees, but I think that’s one of the poorest performances from a pair of officials I’ve seen for a while.

“The referee and the assistant on the near side, I thought they were absolutely shocking over the whole of the game. Listen, that’s not the reason we haven’t got the full three points, but saying that, I think it’s a penalty in the first half for a pull on Jack Armer.

“I’ve seen it back, the referee says there’s no contact, I think there was. Who knows, we might have got something more out of it if that had been given, but too many things were allowed to happen.

“There was too much timewasting, too much delaying of the game, slowing down restarts, and it just became a really bitty game because of that against a team that are really struggling to get results at the moment.

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“I thought we showed real character and determination to try to win it and, like I say, we might be looking at it as a really important point.”

Having mentioned the penalty claim, with a general consensus that it was indeed a foul, we quizzed him on his thoughts on why it hadn’t been given.

“I don’t understand it, I really don’t,” he commented. “I don’t know what the ref is seeing. We can talk about so many poor decisions he’s made, but what I find really frustrating is that they talk about this Respect campaign, and he’s shown no respect to our players at all, or to their players for that matter as well.

“I don’t like criticising referees, because I think they have a really tough job to do, but that standard from him was very poor. I’m told that when the players tried to talk to him he just laughed at them. I don’t think that’s acceptable.

“In the first half, I asked the fourth official something and he told me I needed to calm down otherwise I’m going to get myself into trouble. Their bench were effing and blinding at him, and he just accepted it.

“At no point did I swear at him, wag my finger at him or anything like that. I tried to treat him with respect, and he chucked it straight back at me, so that’s really disappointing.

“Those things are something I need to take up with the referees group the PGMOL, and it isn’t the reason we didn’t get three points, but it certainly has an effect on making a game of football flow better.”

With United knocking on the door, it was a frustrating wait for a chance to come along that would make a difference.

“We had set play deliveries going in, we had Mox putting balls in and we had Jordan Gibson’s free kick which hit the wall,” he said. “There was the ball that was flashed across and the keeper got his foot to it.

“That one bounced back to Alfie and it just hit him and the keeper made an instinctive save off that. We had Ben Barclay with the last kick of the game where Monthe gets a tiny little touch and that affects Ben’s judgement on the ball.

“That goes wide, then we had Mells round the far post from a set play, and we really caused them some problems when you consider that they have some big units in their team. We did have moments, just not enough to get the goal that wins it for us.”

“We have to remember that this is a tough place to come to,” he continued. “Walsall wanted to make it chaos today, they had a referee who allowed it to be chaos, with some just strange decisions. You need a strong official when it’s going to be like that.

“I don’t know how many times their players dived and got away with it, they were going down under really minimal contact. There were some really strange but simple decisions that they couldn’t get right.

“The thing that pleased me was the desire we showed, the energy we showed to want to go and win the game, try and get the three points. Unfortunately little things just didn’t quite go our way.

“We’ve had some half decent opportunities that we just weren’t able to finish off. The thing I said to the players is, that could be a really important point.

“If we can go and do it properly against Northampton and Stockport, which were always going to be huge games, they’re now even bigger, and absolutely brilliant games to look forward to.”

On the red card that saw opposition player Hayden White sent off with 30 minutes left to play, he said: “To be honest, I thought it was a strong challenge, everybody was saying to me he went over the top of the ball.

“I haven’t seen it back again, I thought the referee was really quick to give it, whether he was right or wrong I couldn’t really say at the moment. Thankfully Jack’s not too badly hurt, he’s just got marked on his shin where he got caught.”


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