St Neots Town boss blasts ‘inexcusable’ refereeing before turning his attention to FA Cup battle

St Neots player Ryan Hawkins is bundled over in their 1-1 draw at Chippenham - one of two incidents

St Neots player Ryan Hawkins is bundled over in their 1-1 draw at Chippenham - one of two incidents boss David Batch felt should have led to penalties. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

St Neots Town boss David Batch was left cursing two major penalty decisions which went against his side last Saturday.

Batch’s side battled out a 1-1 draw at Southern League Premier Division table-toppers Chippenham despite referee James Hollier twice refusing to point to the spot.

A shot appeared to be handled on the goal-line by a home defender in the second minute before Ryan Hawkins was bundled over in the box during the second half.

Saints had to claw their way level courtesy of Nathan Frater. He headed his first goal of the season with seven minutes to go.

Batch said: “There is absolutely no doubt we should have had a penalty and Chippenham should have had a player sent off in just the second minute.

“We could easily have been a goal up and facing 10 men for the next 88 minutes, but we didn’t get the decision and that was inexcusable from the referee.

“I started to fear it wouldn’t be our day when we had another strong case for a penalty turned down in the second half, but Nathan got his goal in the end.

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“We would happily have taken a point away to the league leaders before kick-off, but we were disappointed with that outcome in the end.

“Statistically we should have won the game, but you can’t legislate for human error.”

St Neots hit the FA Cup trail this Saturday. They enter the famous competition at the first qualifying round stage when travelling to Tilbury.

And Batch was quick to insist they can ill afford to take their lower-level Ryman North Division hosts lightly.

He added: “By all accounts Tilbury are a difficult team to play against and their pitch is awful.

“It certainly won’t be an easy tie by any means, but if we play well, we will win football matches.

“Saturday is no different and it is a case of approaching the game with the right attitude and getting through to the next round.”

Batch could involve youngsters Luis Vieira and Ebey Marango following their return from loan spells at St Ives Town.

Lee Clarke is sidelined with appendicitis while last season’s top-scorer Drew Roberts has suffered a slight setback in his recovery from summer knee surgery.