Milton Keynes Dons goalkeeper David Martin has insisted referee Tony Harrington was spot on to give a ‘stonewall free-kick’ against Sam Hoskins, rather than award the Cobblers what would have been the opening goal of Tuesday’s FA Cup third-round replay.
With the score at 0-0 after 52 minutes at stadiummk, the Cobblers players and their 7,000 supporters behind Martin’s goal believed they had scored when the Dons goalkeeper carried Nicky Adams’ inswinging corner into his own net.
Initially it appeared that Harrington and his assistant had awarded the goal, and Martin admitted that he had ‘a panic-up’, before he realised that the referee had in fact awarded a free kick to Milton Keynes for a foul by Hoskins.
It was a decision that infuriated the Cobblers fans, players and manager Chris Wilder, and the moment took on even more importance a minute later when Dons were awarded a penalty and took the lead themselves.
But Martin is in no doubt he was fouled, and said: ”The ball was put right under the crossbar, and I am not sure who it was in front of me.
“I have caught the ball and then the lad (Hoskins) was backing into me, and I had nowhere to go.
“Their fans were going mad, it was a bit controversial, but for me it was a stonewall free-kick.
“I did have a little panic-up when I saw the linesman running up the line, and the referee, who was pointing for a foul, but I thought he was pointing to the centre spot!
“But there was no doubt in my mind that it was a free kick.”
Martin says Milton Keynes deserved their win, feeling that the Cobblers didn’t make the most of the attacking opportunities that came their way.
“It was a derby game, and they brought a hostile crowd and there was a lot of them,” Martin told mkdons.com. “I dread to think what it would have been like if Northampton had actually scored!
“But it is pleasing to get through the game.
“We were sloppy at times, and you notice the difference in the Championship that you will get punished for that.
“Northampton probably didn’t take advantage of that when they had their chances.”