Jones blasts ‘extremely soft’ spot-kick decision

Town boss Nathan Jones questions referee Michael Salisbury's decisions to the fourth official
Town boss Nathan Jones questions referee Michael Salisbury's decisions to the fourth official
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Hatters boss Nathan Jones brandished the decision to award hosts Notts County a late penalty during yesterday’s League Two clash at Meadow Lane as ‘extremely soft’.

Luton captain Scott Cuthbert was the player penalised by referee Michael Salisbury for holding in the area from a corner with six minutes to go, with Christian Walton coming to the skipper’s rescue with a wonderful stop from Vadaine Oliver’s spot-kick.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu was denied a clear run on goal

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu was denied a clear run on goal

A clearly annoyed Jones said: “The less said about the arbitration of this game the better.

“It’s an extremely soft penalty, I don’t really want to comment, it’s a soft penalty, but we can’t give people opportunities to do that, especially away.

“I could say a million things about the referee, I really could, but I’ll end up in front of the FA.

“Their manager (John Sheridan) was as frustrated as me, so it’s not like he was in any way a certain way towards us or towards them.

I could say a million things about the referee, I really could, but I’ll end up in front of the FA.

Nathan Jones

“I think he was equally as whatever he was for both sides, so it’s a disappointing one.”

When asked for his thoughts, centre half Johnny Mullins, who was in the thick of the action for the spot-kick, said: “It was holding, but if there’s a penalty for that then I guess there should have been a penalty for every other decision on the pitch in the box.”

Official Salisbury, in his first year in the Football League, then made an equally controversial decision in the closing moments, denying Luton a clear break on goal.

With sub Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu racing clear, the referee opted to bring play back and book Rob Milsom, awarding Luton a free kick, rather than giving the visitors an advantage, which further exasperated Jones.

He added: “They’re too eager to blow the whistle and slow the game down.

“They’re not there to officiate, they’re there to make sure that the game is played at the right manner, the right tempo and so on.

“When someone’s in and you can give them an advantage, you can delay for a second or two and you’ll see, the picture will become.

“He’s just too eager at times to blow the whistle. No-one had really come to see him, they’d come to see a good football match and I felt at times he probably killed the flow of the game.”