Milton Keynes Dons boss Karl Robinson has admitted neither penalty awarded to his team in their 3-0 FA Cup third round win over the Cobblers on Tuesday night should have been given by referee Tony Harringotn.
Robinson felt his team were deserved winners to set up a fourth-round date with Premier League champions Chelsea, but he accepted that Dons ‘rode their luck’ with the penalty decisions, the first of which came early in the second half with the score still at 0-0.
The Dons manager accepted that the first spot-kick awarded for a foul by Zander Diamond on Dean Bowditch was outside the penalty area, and that the second, awarded for a supposed foul by Adam Smith on Rob Hall ‘was a wonderful save by the keeper’.
But Robinson did feel that Harrington got the decision correct to disallow a Cobblers goal with the score at 0-0 for a foul on goalkeeper David Martin, who carried a Nicky Adams corner into his own goal under pressure from Sam Hoskins.
“I think David Martin got pushed,” said Robinson. “So once he has got the ball in his hand, and there is any contact, the referee is always going to give a free-kick.
“It was a brave one to give, especially in front of the 7,000 Northampton fans, but he gave it and I thought that was the right decision, but we rode our luck with the penalties, I didn’t think either one was.
“The first one was a foul, but it was outside. There is a first contact outside the box, and then there is a second contact which was borderline penalty area, so we have got lucky there.
“The third goal wasn’t a penalty at all, the keeper has made a wonderful save, and that’s not nice for Northampton, but we have got the benefit of the doubt for once.
“It is nice for me to say that rather than me moaning about referees.
“When I come out and moan after games about different elements of our game, and penalty decisions, I have to be equally straight when they go for us and they were wrong, and we rode our luck with those penalty decisions.”
Robinson was pleased with his team’s performance though, and said: “I thought our play was good.
“I thought our ball speed and our retention was good, we didn’t panic, and we didn’t give Northampton any chances either.
“I thought for the first 65 minutes we were excellent, David (Martin) hasn’t really had a save to make, and we showed that we are a really good side.”