Oldham Athletic manager Frankie Bunn and Northampton counterpart Keith Curle had differing views on the decision to award Northampton a first-half penalty during Saturday’s game between their two sides, as both were left frustrated by the substandard officiating on display.
Referee Charles Breakspear has earned himself a reputation for being card-happy, sending off eight players in just 16 games already this season and dishing out five reds on his last three visits to Northampton, and he once again left both sets of supporters bemused with a series of hotly-disputed decisions during Saturday’s clash.
He said he gave it for handball but we’ve looked back at the footage and we’ve asked all the lads and we just can’t see anything so I think he’s guessed.
The two major incidents both came in the closing minutes of the first-half when, moments after John-Joe O’Toole’s opener, Breakspear dismissed Sam Foley for a foul on Christopher Missilou before he then awarded Town a controversial penalty, converted by Kevin van Veen.
It was the second incident that upset Bunn as the two managers expressed contrasting views at full-time. While Curle felt the Oldham player should have received a red card for deliberate handball, the Latics boss was bemused by the decision to even award a spot-kick.
“I thought the lads gave everything they got but we had a dubious penalty decision go against us and we should have had one ourselves,” said Bunn, who was appointed Oldham manager in the summer.
“That’s how it is at the minute - we just need that little bit of luck. I’ve spoken to the referee but there was no comment from him, so I told him you’ll be horrified when you see it back.
“It’s been happening too many times and I’m very disappointed with the officiating again. He said he gave it for handball but we’ve looked back at the footage and we’ve asked all the lads and we just can’t see anything so I think he’s guessed.”
Oldham, with a man advantage, utterly dominated the second-half and pulled one goal back through Robert Hunt with 19 minutes to go, but their 10-game unbeaten away run came to an end.
“We started really brightly,” added Bunn. “We said we need to get on top of them early and we did that and we got good possession in the opposition half but we conceded from two set-pieces.
“It’s one ball down the side and we give a free-kick away. We’ve worked on set-pieces during the week - that was the only way they were going to score and they got two.
“We never dealt with the second ball on the first one and the second one I don’t think is a penalty. They then banked in and it became difficult but we conceded the first goal again and then a second and that makes life difficult.
“They defended well second-half and had a couple of breakaways but we just couldn’t find an opening. I thought we were positive, we loaded the front areas, we got the full-backs playing like wingers and we tried to move the ball quickly but we just couldn’t find the gaps. We got one back but we just ran out of time.”
Bunn was asked about his view on Foley’s red, replying: “Sometimes they’re given, sometimes they’re not and that’s all I’m saying.”