ANDY MORRISON bemoaned a crucial refereeing decision as Connah’s Quay Nomads were beaten 1-0 by Partizan Belgrade.

With half-time approaching, Nomads captain George Horan and Partizan goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic clashed as they competed for Danny Holmes’ centre.

Stojkovic, capped 84 times by Serbia, lost his cool and appeared to shove Horan in the face with a clenched fist.

Referee Michal Ocenas opted against sending Stojkovic, instead booking both the Partizan stopper and Horan, who looked shocked to have been shown a yellow card.

Nomads boss Andy Morrison, who saw his side beaten by Aleksandar Scekic’s 62nd minute volley, questioned the decision not to punish Stojkovic more severely.

“It can change the complex of the game,” said Morrison. “I never ever want my players, who reflect me, going to ground, cheating or feigning injury.

“But George, whether it was a punch or a slap, it’s a strike to the face, which is a complete lack of discipline from him, and it should be a red card.

“If George goes down holding his face...but George Horan has been a warrior for 37 years, he’s not going to fall to the floor because that would tarnish his legacy.

“At the end lads are saying it’s part of the game now and you’ve got to go down - no, you don’t go down, we are proper men, we don’t cheat or feign injury and that will hold us in good stead going forward.”

While Horan earned praise for his honesty at one end, he was saluted for another flawless defensive performance in the heart of the back four.

The former Chester centre-half repelled everything Umar Sadiq, and then Ognjen Ozegovic, had to throw his way.

“It reflects me, my team and what we are about the way George Horan played,” said Morrison. “He’s 37 and climbing above people in the box and winning headers.

“I’m so proud of him, I really am, because he embodies everything that I’m about and what I want my team to look like.

"I’m so lucky to have inherited him and that I’ve been able to get the very best out of him - he’s a leader.”

Horan led by example as Nomads kept a high-class Partizan side, featuring former Manchester United winger, Zoran Tosic, at arms length.

“I’m incredibly proud of them again,” said Morrison. “I was devastated after the Kilmarnock game because we were so close.

“This is a good outfit, this is a very, very good team.

“The winger Tosic has had £14million in transfers, so this is a top team and we’ve gone toe-to-toe with them."