Hemel Hempstead Town’s FA Cup dreams were shattered by a refereeing decision to deny a ‘stonewall penalty’ according to Tudors manager Dean Brennan.
Hemel went down 2-1 to Sutton United at Gander Green Lane in Monday night’s third qualifying round replay, but Brennan had every right to feel hard done by as the Tudors were denied what looked to be a clear penalty when Jamal Lowe was brought down with the scores locked at 0-0.
Instead, Lowe was booked for diving, and Sutton went on to win the game with goals from Ross Stearn and Dan Wishart, before Ben Herd bagged a late consolation for Hemel.
“The first goal was always going to be massive and for me it’s a stonewall penalty – anyone in the ground can see that, except for the referee,” said Brennan, who was sent to the stands for his protestations about the decision.
“I’ve been sent off after the incident despite not using foul and abusive language – I didn’t use that towards them (the officials) at all. I left my technical area, that’s correct, but you can lose your job over decisions like these.
“For me, it’s a terrible decision from the referee, and I’ll be proved right on the video replays, I know I will. It would have been a red card as well because he was the last man; it was a blatant push, and it was a penalty.”
For me, it’s a terrible decision from the referee, and I’ll be proved right on the video replays, I know I will.Hemel Town FC manager Dean Brennan
Ultimately, Hemel were unable to find a way back into the game once they went behind, and Brennan felt Sutton simply had more ammunition than his side.
“I’m afraid to say it was Sutton’s day, but it was always going to be a tough game,” he said. “Just look at the players they are able to bring off the bench – they are top quality players, not just in the National League South, but in the league above. That’s the quality you need at this level.
“I can’t knock our lads, they worked their socks off and the supporters were fantastic again, but we just came up a tiny bit short.”
He continued: “I thought we were the better team in the first half, and then the goal has changed the game because they scored in the 46th minute which gives you a whammy.
“The FA Cup’s not about performance, it’s about the result and unfortunately we are out – that’s just the way it goes.
“We’d love a bit of the ammunition that Sutton have got, but we just aren’t in that ballpark. So we will go with what we have got, and go again at Dartford on Saturday – hopefully we will get a reaction. It’s a fantastic game for us.”