Milton Keynes Dons manager Paul Tisdale hailed both the performance of his team and referee Graham Scott after Saturday’s enthralling 2-2 draw with local rivals Northampton at the PTS Stadium.
Coming off successive defeats either side of Christmas, Dons were hoping to get their promotion bid back on track with three points at Town’s expense and they looked on course to doing just that with 78 minutes on the clock.
His job is to give what he sees and he did that. Either bench can grumble about certain things but I’m not grumbling about anything today because I think the ref had a really good game.
Goals from Alex Gilbey and Chuks Aneke had them 2-0 up and cruising, but the Cobblers produced a stirring late rally with Andy Williams heading one goal back before Junior Morias rescued a dramatic point in injury-time, leaving Tisdale deflated at full-time.
He said: “It’s really disappointing but I’ll start by saying I thought the team played really well today. For 80 minutes, we had the game under control.
“I’m really pleased with the response to our defeat on Boxing Day. It looked like us so the major positive is that it was a really good performance, although that makes it feel even worse to concede those two goals.
“Well done to the team for how they went about today and for the response after a disappointing week and now we have to move on very quickly to the next game.
“I’ve been doing this long enough to know that one goal can become two because the whole dynamic changes. The key goal was their first goal. Any set-piece goal you concede is always something that you rue. We’ve done that today.”
Referee Scott repeatedly came under fire from home supporters during Saturday’s game, and his performance was also criticised by Northampton boss Keith Curle, who felt especially aggrieved by the awarding of a controversial penalty to Dons on 19 minutes.
Tisdale, whose side are now six points off leaders Lincoln in League Two, had a different view though, saying: “I thought the referee had a really good game.
“He gave what he saw and by and large I agreed with him. There’s nothing in the rules that say the referee should give 50 per cent free-kicks to one team and 50 per cent to the other.
“His job is to give what he sees and he did that. Either bench can grumble about certain things but I’m not grumbling about anything today because I think the ref had a really good game.”
On the penalty, he added: “If he saw someone pull a shirt to stop someone else getting to the ball, isn’t that a foul?”