Chester FC: Jon McCarthy frustrated after 3-2 defeat against Tranmere Rovers


Charlie Croasdale

JON MCCARTHY felt visitors Tranmere were given more than their fair share of decisions by the officials when tempers flared at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.

Referee Anthony Coggins was at the centre of a controversial penalty award to Chester after just three minutes of their 3-2 defeat at the hands of Tranmere on Friday night, when the foul on Evan Horwood clearly took place outside the area.

Tranmere’s dugout were fuming with the decision, but Blues’ boss McCarthy argued that if the free-kick had been awarded instead then it would have almost-certainly led to a red card for Michael Ihiekwe, but the award of the penalty ruled that out.

Rovers’ midfielder Jay Harris was also extremely fortunate to get away with a stray elbow on Kane Richards during the first-half.

“It’s outside of the box, it’s not a penalty,” he said. “At the pace it happened I’ve not seen it, that’s not a Wenger-type comment, I just had no idea.

“Michael Jackson is hammering the fourth official and saying it was wrong, but if it was outside the box then it’s a red card isn’t it? So maybe that’s actually gone against us, maybe we’d then dominate this game.

“Even when the big boys think the decision has gone against them, it’s probably gone for them. But I don’t have too many complaints.

“When the bigger teams come here, they are on the officials all the time. I’m happy to stand my corner but at half-time there was a lot of intimidatory behaviour towards a young referee, and we know why it is done.

“There’s no blame there on officials, but maybe there should be some sort of assessor who can just say no to that.”

Chester were more than a matchfor title-chasing Tranmere but McCarthy accepted their added quality and strength in depth had edged this derby clash their way.

“We’re quite honest and the recent run of results, with some performances that weren’t great, I understand that and it’s a learning experience for me,” added McCarthy.

“The media reflects that, some of the comments we get from fans via tweets and emails, it’s an immediate reaction and it becomes critical analysis in the media when they reflect on what we’ve done.

“That’s the nature of it and that’s me over the season, and the players need to produce a level of consistency so we can reflect back on the season and see that what we’re doing here is really good. But I’m not going to settle for that.

“They’ve got one of the meanest defences in the league and we’ve scored four times past them (this season) so to concede three, it does hurt us. 

“But when I add everything up then it does come down to the quality they have, we will get there but there’s work to do.

“We tried to prey on some of their weaknesses but there are some teams in this division who have very few weaknesses. As we get stronger and stronger that will be less of an advantage for teams.”

McCarthy introduced both Danny O’Brien and Lucas Dawson in the second-half, Dawson having only signed for the club 24 hours earlier following a successful trial.

“Evan, Elliott coming off, there’s no criticism there, they did everything asked of them,” he said.

“We had everyone at a high level and they’ve ran themselves into the ground. Kane (Richards) was unbelievable from the off, from a defensive and attacking point of view.

“I was delighted with Danny and Lucas. They’ve provided legs and energy and we brought them on as part of the game plan. Even  Mahon, the prognosis is we might have to leave it for the rest of the season, but we got that final 10 minutes out of him and he’s a big blow.

“Losing (James) Akintunde and Mahon for so long, it’s been a blow. (Ryan) Astles has played every game but we’ve had five or six big players missing this season.

“The strength and experience they get, we’ll get better and stronger within our resources. We know where our identity is and who we are and we’ve done that in front of a wider television audience and to our fans once again.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t turn it into a famous victory we wanted so much but people will now see that. Everyone contributed and that will be pleasing once I’ve reflected on things.”

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