Atherton Collieries boss Steve Pilling angry with referee after FA Cup exit
ATHERTON Collieries manager Steve Pilling was left fuming with the referee’s performance in their 2-1 FA Cup preliminary round replay defeat at Radcliffe Borough.
The boss of the North West Counties Division One side claims the official failed to give two clear handballs – one that denied Colls a third-minute goal and the other in Boro’s equaliser – and waved away shouts for a “stonewall” penalty.
Pilling, whose first game in charge of the club was a 1-0 cup defeat to Evo-Stik Division One North side Boro four years ago, said: “I don’t know how he missed the handballs and penalty as everyone in the ground saw them. They were that clear.
“People will say it is just sour grapes, but it’s not that at all.
“We were not expected to win and I’m not complaining that we lost – it is just the manner in which it happened.”
Pilling claims a Boro player stopped the ball from going over the line with his hand after a Mark Truffas cross-shot hit the bar, bounced down and was about to go in before its path was diverted.
He also believes Gareth Peet was clearly fouled in the box in the fifth minute. And while Paul Atherton did finally put the Colls in front on 32 minutes, their lead only lasted four minutes before Boro captain James Mullineux bundled the ball in from a corner, although Pilling claims he handled it.
“We should have been two goals up in five minutes, but even if we had gone in one goal to the good I think it would have been different.
“Fair play to Boro, their guy scored a worldie in the second half, but the referee’s performance has left a sour taste.”
Chris Thompson won the tie for Boro with a 57th-minute screamer – his first goal of the season – and they will now go on to face Burscough in the first qualifying round on September 14.
But the Stainton Park outfit also had another hero on the day – striker Dennis Sherriff – who stood in for suspended goalkeeper Sam Andrew between the sticks.