O'Flynn left bemused as ref turns down penalty appeal
EXETER City players were left feeling aggrieved to have drawn their match with Fleetwood Town on Saturday after referee Fred Graham refused to award what looked like a cast-iron second half penalty.
City had done well to fightback to level the scores having trailed 2-1 at the break, but when John O'Flynn went racing into the box on 58 minutes he was upended by a the outstretched arms of Fleetwood keeper Scott Davies.
The decision come just two minutes after Graham had awarded City a spot-kick when Jamie Cureton had been tripped in the box by Youl Mawene.
Goalkeeper Davies was also booked for unsporting behaviour just before O'Flynn successfully dispatched the penalty and the Irish-born striker admits that may have played a part in the referee's refusal to give them another penalty.
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"I thought it was a stonewaller," said O'Flynn. "The referee has said nobody has touched me, but I thought we should have definitely got another penalty.
"I have got sandwiched between two players, but I think (it was a difficult decision) for the referee because it was two minutes after the other penalty and he would have had to send their man (the goalkeeper) off. Second half we brought the game to them and I think we could have got all three points, if the referee had given me that penalty."
City named an unchanged side for the match as Tisdale rewarded the players who had picked up their first win in seven games at home to Wimbledon the previous Tuesday.
However those players started the game slowly giving the visitors too much time and space on the ball.
As a result The Cod Army took a deserved lead when the stocky Steve McNulty headed Dean Howell's free-kick past Artur Krysiak with 13 minutes gone.
City came more into the match as the half went on, but it was still slightly against the run of play when Alan Gow flicked a pass with the outside of his boot into Cureton on 24 minutes. City's top scorer provided an equally precise finish, curling a 20-yard shot over Davies and into the top left corner of the net. The goal lifted City, but they were dealt a blow just before half-time as Barry Ferguson found Barry Nicholson in the box and he drilled a low shot past Krysiak.
Second half it was City who took control and they deservedly levelled as O'Flynn dispatched the penalty won by Cureton.
It was minutes later that the talking point of the game came though as O'Flynn was sent tumbling in the box by Davies' clumsy challenge.
At first it appeared that referee Graham had pointed to the spot, but to the disbelief of Paul Tisdale and his City players the official signalled for a goal kick.
City kept pushing forward in search of a winner. Chances fell to Gow, Cureton and Liam Sercombe, but it was perhaps captain Danny Coles who came closest to grabbing a winner as his header, from a Sercombe corner, was tipped over the crossbar by Davies.
It left manager Tisdale disappointed with the outcome, but pleased with the second half display.
"I am happy with the way my team played, in taking the game to them in the second half," he said. "We gave it a go. They (Fleetwood) could have easily got something as well because we left ourselves open, but we have got to play like that at home. We will win more than we lose playing that way."