Robins boss disappointed to be talking about referee decisions

PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 August 2019

Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff (pic: Nick Potts/PA Images).

Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff (pic: Nick Potts/PA Images).

PA Archive/PA Images

Michael Duff was left frustrated with some of the key incidents which took place on Saturday in the League Two opener at Brisbane Road

Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff felt Luke Varney didn't deserve to see red during Saturday's 1-0 League Two defeat at Leyton Orient.

The experienced forward received a second yellow after catching O's Marvin Ekpiteta while challenging for a ball in the air with 70 on the clock.

Referee Michael Salisbury sent off the Robins number 32 after cautioning him in the sixth minute for simulation despite there appearing to be contact between the striker and Orient goalkeeper Dean Brill inside the area.

Duff said: "There are two players jumping for the ball. I've seen it in slow motion, he's definitely not swung an arm and they both jump with their arm up in the air and interpret it as you like.

"They will say it's a foul, I didn't think it was a foul, but I definitely didn't think the two incidents deserved a red card at the end of it."

He continued: "I'm talking about officials and it's disappointing because it's the first game of the season and obviously it was a celebration of Justin Edinburgh's life and Orient coming up and we've not really spoke about the actual football match."

O's interim head coach Ross Embleton shed some light on Rohan Ince's dismissal, which occurred before play could resume after Varney's red.

"From what I'm told there was something thrown towards the official, but I didn't see it and just heard our dugout react off the back of that," he said.

"I'm not sure if it was thrown at him, but that was the message I got about why the guy (Ince) got a red card."

Varney had an eventful day in the capital with the forward causing Orient problems in the first half especially.

He got in behind the hosts' back three with six played, but after going down under the challenge of Brill, Salisbury awarded O's a free kick and booked the forward.

Embleton added: "Everyone told me Varney kicked Deano in the head, which is why he came off with concussion.

"I suppose they will say he has gone down from a touch by Dean whether it is off his head or his hands and we'll claim he kicked Dean in the head and we have lost our goalkeeper.

"Obviously it can be looked at in two different ways and we'll say it wasn't and they will be disappointed they never got it.

"We were concerned about the qualities Varney has, he is a very experienced striker and I don't think he went out to hurt Marv, but he did lead with his arm and if you don't get the header right, you run the risk of getting a yellow card."

Focusing on the football, Duff conceded Orient deserved to take the lead in the 68th minute, but was unhappy with the goal.

Lee Angol headed down a ball into the area, which Conor Wilkinson tried to fire at goal, yet his effort was blocked and Josh Wright reacted quickest to slot home.

It sparked emotional scenes at Brisbane Road with the O's midfielder celebrating in front of Edinburgh's family and holding up an Orient shirt with the name of the late manager on the back.

This proved the difference and ensured Embleton's men started with a win and the visitors returned to Gloucestershire pointless.

Duff concluded: "I thought first half we were the better team and we just went a little bit longer, so we got in behind quite early on transition in the first half and rather than find the extra pass, we kept doing it.

"We told them at half time to find the extra pass. We didn't do it and I thought Orient were on top when they scored their first goal of the game, but it's a disappointing goal.

"It's a free kick, knock down and their midfielder runs past three of our midfielders, so a poor goal to give away and that was the game."

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