Curle frustrated by Dons’ ‘gamesmanship’ during derby draw

Andy Williams goes for goal during Saturday's draw. Picture: Sharon Lucey
Andy Williams goes for goal during Saturday's draw. Picture: Sharon Lucey

Cobblers boss Keith Curle criticised referee Graham Scott’s inability to deal with MK Dons’ ‘gamesmanship’ during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at the PTS.

Curle appeared frustrated by Scott’s general performance throughout Saturday’s game, particularly his decision to award Dons a first-half penalty after Ash Taylor had grabbed Chuks Aneke’s shirt in the box.

I think MK Dons were sometimes going down with a twisted sock and you’re thinking ‘surely the referee can see that?’

Aneke missed the subsequent spot-kick but Alex Gilbey tucked home the rebound before the visitors began deploying time-wasting tactics with players regularly going down for treatment in the second-half.

Aneke doubled their lead on 68 minutes but Town fought back as Andy Williams’ header halved the deficit to one and then Junior Morias grabbed a dramatic injury-time equaliser.

Curle was reluctant to go into detail when asked about Scott’s call to award a penalty, but he clearly disagreed with the decision, saying: “Without wanting to get into trouble... the referee gives a penalty and then asks to speak to me at half-time, which I did.

“A member of my staff was saying something to him and I told him not to and then he (the ref) said he wanted to speak to because I had said something to him.

“Well, I didn’t. I spoke to my member of staff and asked him not to talk to. He said the way I said it was intimating something...”

“I like things to be done right. I manage and I want referees to referee. I don’t want them to gamble or guess. Give what they see.”

Curle confessed Dons’ ‘gamesmanship’ is ‘part of the game’ but he was nonetheless frustrated to see them get away with it, adding: “Someone with a slightly better understanding of the game would understand about the time-wasting and some of the collapses the players went down with.

“I think MK Dons were sometimes going down with a twisted sock and you’re thinking ‘surely the referee can see that?’

“It’s gamesmanship and fair play to them because they’re away from home and 2-0 up so take every opportunity to kill the game. I’ve done it once or twice so I understand it.”