DEAN KEATES believes delaying the flag for an offside incident should be scrapped and says goalkeeper Rob Lainton would have avoided a nasty head injury if the "bad ruling" was not in place.

Keates was speaking after seeing Lainton stretchered off and taken to hospital when he was knocked unconscious in the first half following an innocuous challenge with Bromley striker James Alabi in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Hayes Lane.

Lainton dived at the feet of Alabi who was put through on goal and only flagged for offside after the collision.

Rules state: "When an immediate goalscoring opportunity is likely to occur, the assistant referee will keep their flag down if they think there is an offside until the passage of play is completed."

But Keates responded: "Rob was out cold. It is a hard one. The kid is offside and you feel for the linesman, it is a bad ruling.

"There is no malice in the challenge, two kids coming together.

"If the flag goes up straight away like how it used to be able to, and if he is offside, the referee blows his whistle and the collision doesn't happen.

"Because he is waiting till he becomes active, Rob has ended up in a hospital bed. Their player has gone for it, a collision, and he is knocked out."

Keates is adamant the rule should be changed in the National League in the interests of players' safety.

"Rob is massive for the team," said Keates. "A great lad, a great character, and you feared the worst.

"It is an innocent collision, there is no malice from their player.

"You could see the linesman ready to flag and this silly rule comes at you.

"At this level you can't strip it back for VAR and all that, we have to do something different. We have to flag him for offside.

"If he flags him offside, that doesn't happen.

"It needs addressing. Somebody has got knocked out, luckily enough he has only been knocked out because it could be a lot, lot worse purely on the back end of a silly rule in my opinion."

A lengthy stoppage ensured, with both sets of players taken off the pitch while Lainton received treatment.

Paramedics were called to Hayes Lane and after he came round, Lainton was taken to hospital before play resumed, with a minimum of 26 minutes stoppage time awarded.

Lainton, responsive and in good spirits when he went off, was discharged and travelled home on the team coach, with Keates praising Bromley for the way they handled a worrying situation.

"Bromley were absolutely spot on how they conducted themselves," said Keates.

"When Rob eventually came round, he was laughing and joking on the floor as Rob does. He is a great character.

"He was saying: 'Can I carry on?'

"We can laugh about it now but at the time you are scared and you fear the worst."

Bromley settled quicker following the stoppage and took the lead before the break.

Christian Dibble, who replaced Rob Lainton, made a string of fine saves in the second half and Wrexham salvaged a point thanks to Adi Yussuf's fourth goal of the season.

"It is the mindset of both sets of players," said Keates. "You can't let yourself switch off completely.

"We can keep the body warm but it is also keeping the mind.

"We didn't really give a great account of ourselves like what we have been the last few games but that is taking nothing away from Bromley.

"They put us under massive pressure and it was a difficult situation when Christian came on but he was outstanding.

"The last 25 minutes we showed what we are about, we were on the front foot, we got a grip of the game and started making passes, and finished strongly.

"We could possibly have nicked it towards the end."