Several refereeing decisions bore the brunt of Michael Appleton’s frustration on Boxing Day as the Oxford United manager claimed Northampton were ‘very, very fortunate’ to beat his side in Monday’s feisty affair at the Kassam Stadium.
Marc Richards netted the game’s only goal with a smart finish deep into added time after a fractious affair that had seen Oxford dominate possession but Northampton create the clearer chances.
Afterwards, much of Appleton’s anger was focussed on the decision not to send off John-Joe O’Toole, who committed several risky fouls when on a booking, as well as the winning goal, which he felt shouldn’t have stood due to a foul on U’s goalkeeper Simon Eastwood.
“Arguably we should have been playing against nine or 10 men,” bemoaned Appleton.
“You would like to think the referee would take action. I got in trouble the last time I was here against Oldham for questioning the opposition about the way they were trying to dictate the game.
“But you expect it. I think Northampton had one player who should have been sent off at least twice for general fouls and bookable offences.
“It wasn’t to be. Maybe they would have literally parked the bus for 20 or 30 minutes when down to 10 men which wouldn’t have been conducive to a game of football anyway.
“They’ve had their day today but there’s still 23 games to go.”
On Northampton’s winner, he added: “It was definitely a foul (on the goalkeeper). I don’t think they meant it but he definitely got taken out by that guy (O’Toole) so they were very, very fortunate.
“They’ll probably say they’ve done a job on us and fair play to them but it’s about 46 games, not one game, so we’ll see where we’re at after 46 games.”